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Michele Loewen PhD
 Michele Loewen
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Contact Info
613 998 7015

Faculty Bio

Adjunct Assistant Professor (2015 - ongoing) - Queen's University
Research Officer (2001 - ongoing) - National Research Council of Canada

B.Sc. (Hons.) in Biochemistry (1992) - University of Manitoba
Ph.D. in Biochemistry (1997) - Queen’s University
Postdoctoral Associate (1997-1998) - Department of Microbiology, University of Basel
Postdoctoral Fellow (1997-2001) - Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Current Funding:
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
National Research Council of Canada

 Research Interests:

  • Mechanisms of fungal pathogenicity and biocontrol
  • Structure-function relationships of G-protein coupled receptors
  • 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.

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.

Research Interests & Open Positions

Please visit our lab website for more information about ongoing research and open positions in the Loewen Lab:

Selected Publications


Buhrow LM, Liu Z, Cram D, Sharma T, Foroud NA, Pan Y, Loewen MC. 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. 2021 Nov 6;22(1):798. doi: 10.1186/s12864-021-08069-0. PMID: 34742254.

Diddi N, Lai L, Brookbank BP, Hussain S, Nambara E, Todd C, Nourimand M, Tar'an B, Song D, Holbrook L, Doshi K, Loewen MC, Luna EK, Shipp J, Leach JE, Robinson SJ, Abrams SR. (2021) 3'-(Phenyl alkynyl) analogs of abscisic acid: synthesis and biological activity of potent ABA antagonists. Org Biomol Chem. 19:2978-2985 doi: 10.1039/d1ob00166c.

Demissie ZA, Robinson KA, Loewen MC (2021) Draft genome resources for the plant-beneficial fungi Clonostachys rosea strains ACM941 and 88-710. Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 4:453-456. doi: 10.1094/MPMI-10-20-0294-A.


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.

Rajagopalan N, Lu Y, Burton IW, Monteil-Rivera F, Halasz A, Reimer E, Tweidt R, Brûlé-Babel A, Kutcher HR, You FM, Cloutier S, Cuperlovic-Culf M, Hiebert CW, McCallum BD, Loewen MC (2020) A phenylpropanoid diglyceride associates with the leaf rust resistance Lr34res gene in wheat. Phytochemistry. 178:112456.

Sridhar PS, Trofimova D, Subramaniam R, González-Peña Fundora D, Foroud NA, Allingham JS, Loewen MC (2020) Ste2 receptor-mediated chemotropism of Fusarium graminearum contributes to its pathogenicity against wheat. Sci Rep. 10(1):10770.

Demissie ZA, Witte T, Robinson KA, Sproule A, Foote SJ, Johnston A, Harris LJ, Overy DP, Loewen MC (2020) Transcriptomic and Exometabolomic Profiling Reveals Antagonistic and Defensive Modes of Clonostachys rosea Action Against Fusarium graminearum. Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 33(6):842-858. 


Demissie ZA, Brown WG, Loewen MC (2019) A Universally Primed-Polymerase Chain Reaction (UP-PCR) Marker to Discriminate Clonostachys rosea ACM941 from Related Strains. J Fungi 5:39.

Luu K, Rajagopalan N, Ching JCH, Loewen MC*, Loewen ME. (2019) The malate-activated ALMT12 anion channel in the grass Brachypodium distachyon is co-activated by Ca2+/calmodulin. J Biol Chem. 294:6142-6156. *corresponding author


Loewen PC, Switala J, Wells JP, Huang F, Zara AT, Allingham JS, Loewen MC. (2018) Structure and function of a lignostilbene-α,β-dioxygenase orthologue from Pseudomonas brassicacearum. BMC Biochem. 19:8.

Demissie ZA, Foote S, Tan Y, Loewen MC. (2018) Profiling of the transcriptomic responses of Clonostachys rosea upon treatment with Fusarium graminearum secretome.  Front. Microbiol. 9:1061


Cuperlovic-Culf M, Loewen, M, Rajagopalan N, and Surendra A. (2017) Perspectives on the specific targeting of Fusarium graminearum for the development of alternative Head Blight treatment approaches, Plant Pathology 66: 1391-1403


Gordon C, Rajagopalan N, Riseeuw E, Barber C, Abrams SR, Loewen MC. (2016) Identification of T. aestivum abscisic acid receptors and evidence of their role in Fusarium Head Blight susceptibility. PLoS ONE 11(10): e0164996. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0164996

Cuperlovich-Culf M, Rajagopalan N, Tulpan D, Loewen MC. (2016) Metabolomics and Cheminformatics analysis of Antifungal Function of Plant Metabolites. Metabolites. 6(4). pii: E31.

Rajagopalan N, Nelson KM, Douglas AF, Jheequt V, Alacorn, IQ, McKenna SA, Surpin M, Loewen MC*, Abrams SR. (2016) Abscisic Acid Analogues That Act as Universal or selective Antagonists of Phytohormone Receptors. Biochemistry. 55:5155-5164. *corresponding author

Rajagopalan, N., Halasz, A., Lu, Y., Liu, E., Monteil-Rivera, F., Loewen, M.C. (2016) Probing allocrite preferences of two naturally occurring variants of the wheat LR34 ABC transporter. Biochem and Cell Biol. 94(5):459-470.

Panwar,V.,McCallum,B.,Jordan,M.,Loewen,M.,Fobert,P.,McCartney,C.,Bakkeren,G.(2016) RNA Silencing Approaches for Identifying Pathogenicity and Virulence Elements Towards Engineering Crop Resistance To Plant Pathogenic Fungi. CAB Reviews 11, 027, pp 1-13.

Buhrow L.M., Cram, D., Tulpan, D., Foroud, N.A., Loewen, M.C. (2016) Exogenous abscisic acid and gibberellic acid elicit opposing effects on Fusarium graminearum infection in wheat. Phytopathology.106:986-996.

Buhrow LM, Clark SM, Loewen MC (2016). Identification of an attenuated barley stripe mosaic virus for the virus-induced gene silencing of pathogenesis-related wheat genes. Plant Methods 12:12.

Choudhary P & Loewen MC (2016) Evidence for a role for S. cerevisiae alpha-arrestin Art1 (Ldb19) in mating projection and zygote formations. Cell Biol Int. 40:83-90.

Choudhary P & Loewen MC (2016) Quantification of mutation-derived bias for alternate mating functionalities of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Ste2p pheromone receptor. J Biochem. 159:49-58.


Benson, C.L., Kepka, M., Wunschel., C., Rajagopalan, N., Nelson, K.M., Christmann, A., Abrams, S.R., Griill, E., Loewen, M.C. (2015) Abscisic acid analogs as chemical probes for dissection of abscisic acid responses in Arabidopsis thaliana. Phytochemistry. 113:96-107.

Galka MM, Rajagopalan N, Buhrow LM, Nelson KM, Switala J, Cutler AJ, Palmer DR, Loewen PC, Abrams SR, Loewen MC. (2015) Identification of Interactions between Abscisic Acid and Ribulose-1,5-Bisphosphate Carboxylase/Oxygenase. PLoS One.10:e0133033.

Pydi SP, Jaggupill A., Nelson KM, Abrams SR, Bhullar RP, Loewen MC, Chelikani P (2015) Abscisic acid acits as a blocker of the better taste g-protein coupled receptor T2R4. Biochemistry 54:2622-31.


Pydi, S.P., Sobotkiewca, T., Bilakanti, R., Bhullar, R.P., Loewen, M.C., Chelikani, P., (2014) Amino acid derivatives as bitter taste receptor (T2R) blockers. J. Biol. Chem.289:25054-25066.

Dorosh, L., Rajagopalan, N., Loewen, M.C., Stepanova, M. (2014) Molecular mechanisms in the selective basal activation of pyrabactin receptor 1: comparative analysis of mutants. FEBS Open Bio 4:496-509.


Olesya A. Kharenko; Devin Polichuk; Ken M. Nelson; Suzanne R. Abrams; Michele C. Loewen (2013) Identification and characterization of interactions between abscisic acid and human heat shock protein 70 family members J Biochem 154:383-391.

Olesya A. Kharenko, Pooja Choudhary, Michele C. Loewen (2013) Abscisic acid binds to recombinant Arabidopsis thaliana G-protein coupled receptor-type G-protein 1 in Sacaromycese cerevisiae and in vitro. Plant Physiol Biochem 68:32-6.

Lyudmyla Dorosh, Olesya A. Kharenko, Nandahkishore Rajagopalan, Michele C. Loewen, Maria Stepanova (2013)  Molecular mechanisms in the activation of abscisic acid receptor PYR1. PLoS Comput Biol 9(6):e1003114.

Peter C. Loewen, Allison L. Didychuk, Jacek Switala, Rosa Perez-Luque, Ignatio Fita Michele C. Loewen (2013) Structure of Pisum Sativum RUbisco with bound ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate Acta Crystallographica F 69:10-14.


Suzanne R. Abrams, Michele C. Loewen, Jason Boyd, Adrian John Cutler, Yuanzhu Gai, Kenneth, M. Nelson (2012) Inhibitors of a 9-cis epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase. United States Patent US 8,283,481 Issues Oct 9, 2012.


Olesya A. Kharenko, Jason Boyd, Ken M. Nelson, Suzanne, R. Abrams, Michele C. Loewen (2011) Identification and characterization of interactions between abscisic acid and mitochondrial adenine nucleotide translocators. Biochemical Journal437:117-123.

Olesya A. Kharenko, Irina Zaharia, Mike Giblin, Vera Cekic, David Taylor, Don Palmer, Sue R. Abrams & Michele C. Loewen (2011) Abscisic acid metabolism and lipid accumulation of a cell suspension culture of Lesquerella fendleriPlant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture 105:415-422.


Olesya A. Kharenko & Michele C. Loewen (2010) Characterization of the ATP Translocating Properties of the Predicted Arabidopsis thaliana Mitochondrial Adenine Nucleotide Translocator 2. Botany 88:685-690.


Chunhua Shi, Stephanie Kendall, Eric Grote, Susan Kaminskyj, Michele Loewen (2009) N-Terminal Residues of the Yeast Pheromone Receptor, Ste2p, Mediate Mating Events Independently of G1-Arrest Signalling. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 107:630-638.

Boyd, J., Gai, Y., Melson, K.M., Lukiwski, E., Talbot, J., Loewen, M.K., Owen, S., Zaharia, L.I., Cutler, A.J., Abrams, S.R., Loewen, M.C., (2009) Sesquiterpene-like inhibitors of a 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase regulating abscisic acid biosynthesis in higher plants.  Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry 17:2902-2912.

Chunhua Shi, Matthew F. Paige, Jason Maley, Michele C. Loewen (2009) In vitro characterization of ligand-induced oligomerization of the S. cerevisiae G-protein Coupled Receptor, Ste2p. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. 1790:1-7.

Michele C. Loewen Lab