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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:

  • Roles of ABC Transporters and associated metabolites in fungal disease resistance
  • Roles of G-protein coupled receptors in fungal growth
  • Structure-function relationships of proteins
  • Industrial enzyme engineering

On the one hand our lab is currently investigating mechanistic aspects of fungal disease resistance.  In particular we are elucidating transport specificities and associated mechanisms of action for ABC transporters known to mediate fungal resistance. We use in vitrotransport assays, relying on recombinantly produced and enriched transporters, reconstituted into proteoliposomes, and analytical methods such as mass spetropscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance to detect allocrites.  At the same time, toward understanding mechanisms in fungal growth and its inhibition,  we are investigating the role of G-protein coupled receptors in fungal cell cycle and mating events. 

On the other hand we have more recently 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 natural health products, food colorings and nutrition fields.

Research Interests & Open Positions

Please visit our lab website for details about ongoing research and open position in the Loewen Lab:

Selected Publications


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