We are a diverse lab that engages in many different research directions but the heart of our program is focused on plants and microbes. We are not afraid to take on a new challenge, and have extensive experience in the study of those most difficult of microorganisms, the obligate symbionts that require a living host to survive, and cannot be genetically transformed.
We gratefully acknowledge generous support from:
Dr. Allyson MacLean
I have always been fascinated by the ways in which organisms interact with one another, yet it has never been my life’s goal to become an academic researcher. I discovered my love of microbiology during my undergraduate thesis project in the lab of Dr. Turlough Finan at McMaster University, and I have never really left the lab since. I obtained my PhD in the Finan lab, submitting a thesis that explored the regulatory and metabolic systems of the legume endosymbiont, Sinorhizobium meliloti. As a Marie Curie Fellow, I joined the lab of Saskia Hogenhout at the prestigious John Innes Centre in Norwich, England, where I discovered my love of plant biology, leading an amazing project that focused on a bacterial effector protein - SAP54 - and its role in hijacking floral development in plants infected by the pathogen phytoplasma. With a desire to explore a mutualistic symbiosis, I next joined the lab of Maria Harrison at the Boyce Thompson Institute in Ithaca, New York, where I developed a method to apply RNASeq to analyze the expression of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in diverse symbiotic mutants of Medicago truncatula. In 2017, 15 years after I completed that honours thesis project in the Finan lab, I started my own lab at the University of Ottawa, an opportunity for which I am grateful every day. It is my goal to teach my students the diverse skills I have acquired in my many years as a plant microbiologist, but more importantly to use this platform to promote kindness, inclusion, and a respect for all living things.