Lab Overview

Research

  • Mechanisms of fungal pathogenicity and biocontrol
  • G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) in infection and disease.
  • Industrial enzyme engineering

On the one hand our lab is currently investigating mechanistic aspects of fungal pathogenesis and related fungal biocontrol. This includes a particular focus on Fusarium graminearum, a devastating fungal pathogen of cereal crops that both decreases grain quality and yield as well as deposits mycotoxins. Fusarium has become significantly more prevalent in Canada recently, likely related to climate change. Toward addressing Fusarium, we are also studying the mechanisms underlying the fungal biocontrol agent Clonostachy rosea, shown to have growth inhibition activity toward Fusarium. We use genetic, transcriptomic, metabolomic, biochemical and biophysical methods to probe fungal perception and signal transduction as well as metabolic pathways underlying the pathogenic and biocontrol functionalities of these fungal species. Assays use a variety of different analytical methods such as liquid chromatography, mass spectroscopy, photospectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance for metabolite analyses. We also use protein crystallography and isothermal titration calorimetry to better understand protein-ligand interactions.

On the other hand we have also become engaged in industrial enzyme engineering toward the development of novel bioprocessing technologies to apply to industrial waste streams for the production of value added products in the forestry, textiles and feed/food industries.

Publications, Protein Structures and Patents

Our 3 latest publications include:

Buhrow LM, Liu Z, Cram D, Sharma T, Foroud NA, Pan Y, Loewen MC. (2021)Wheat transcriptome profiling reveals abscisic and gibberellic acid treatments regulate early-stage phytohormone defense signaling, cell wall fortification, and metabolic switches following Fusarium graminearum-challenge.BMC Genomics 22:798. [online]

Demissie ZA, Robinson KA, Loewen MC (2021) Draft genome resources for the plant-beneficial fungi Clonostachys rosea strains ACM941 and 88-710. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, doi: 10.1094/MPMI-10-20-0294-A. [online]

Demissie ZA, Huang F, Song H, Todd AT, Vrinten P, Loewen MC (2020) Barley “uzu” and Wheat “uzu-like” Brassinosteroid Receptor BRI1 Kinase Domain Variations Modify Phosphorylation Activity In Vitro Biochemistry. 59:2986-2997. [online]

Please see our full list of publications in PubMed
Please also enjoy our 3 most recent  protein structures listed in the  RCSB: 5V2D, 4MKV, 4HHH.
Please also see our patent at USPTO 

Current Group Members

Michele C. Loewen
Senior Research Officer
Adjunct Professor – QueensU
Adjunct Professor – uOttawa

Pooja Sridhar (Ph.D. Student; QueensU)
Kelly Robinson (Technical Officer; NRC)
Tanya Sharma (Ph.D. Student; uOttawa)
Joshua Lister (M.Sc. Student; uOttawa)
Peter Adewale (Research Associate; NRC)
Antony St-Jacques (Research Associate; NRC)
Thomas Grant (Project Student; uOttawa)
Deandre Chevannes (M.Sc. Student; uOttawa)
Emma Murphy (Coop Student; uOttawa)
Ben Beavington (Coop Student; uOttawa)
Rebecca Murphy (Project Student: uOttawa)

Please see also our lab Alumni