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Department of Biological Sciences
Professor, Vice Chair
Phone: ext 3392
This is the "Fungal Pathogenetics" laboratory. Our laboratory focuses on obtaining knowledge on the basic biology and molecular genetics of insect pathogenic fungi so that they might be used more effectively for biocontrol. There are currently three major Research Foci in the lab:
(1) Genetic analysis of fungal pathogenesis
We examine virulence factors primarily in insect pathogenic fungi. We use a variety of molecular (gene knockout) and biochemical approaches to identify genes involved in insect pathogenesis. On another level we are interested in broader questions of fungal pathogenesis of plants, insects and humans. Why are some fungi pathogens while others are saprophytes? What allows some fungi to infect insects but not plants and vice versa?
(2) Population genetics of insect pathogenic fungi
We use allozyme analysis and genetic polymorphism at various loci to examine the population structure and phylogeny of insect pathogenic fungi. We are also looking at comparative population genetics to determine if pathogenic fungi have different genetic structures depending on whether they are obligate, facultative or opportunistic pathogens.
(3) Genetics of conidiation
We are attempting to elucidate the genes involved in conidiation in insect pathogenic fungi. We are also looking at a phenomenon termed "pleiomorphic deterioration". This occurs when fungi that are continuously subcultured lose the ability to produce conidia. This problem has been observed in several other industrially important fungi.
1989 Ph.D. (Applied Microbiology), University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK.
1985 M.Sc. (Biology) University of Regina, Regina, SK
1981 B.Sc. Hon. (Biology) Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario.
Recent Refereed Publications (1997 to present):
Bidochka, M.J, A. M. Kamp. T. M. Lavender, J. DeKoning and J.N.A. De Croos. 2001. Habitat association in two genetic groups of the insect-pathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae: Uncovering cryptic species? Applied and Environmental Microbiology 67: 1335-1342
Bidochka, M.J., A.M. Kamp and J.N.A. De Croos. 2001. Insect pathogenic fungi: From genes to populations. In Fungal Pathology (J.W. Kronstad, ed.) pp. 171-193. Kluwer Academic Press, The Netherlands.
Bidochka, M.J. 2001. Monitoring the Fate of Biocontrol Fungi. In: Fungi as Biocontrol Agents: Progress, Problems and Potential (T. Butt, C.W. Jackson, N. Magan, eds), CABI, pp. 193-218.
Bidochka, M.J. R.J. St. Leger, A. Stuart, and K. Gowanlock. 1999. Nuclear rDNA phylogeny in the fungal genus Verticillium and the relationship to insect and plant virulence, extracellular proteases and carbohydrases. Microbiology 145: 955-963.
Bidochka, M.J., S. Burke and L. Ng. 1999. Extracellular hydrolytic enzymes in the fungal genus Verticillium : adaptations for pathogenesis. Canadian Journal of Microbiology 45: 856-864.
Bidochka, M.J., R.J. St. Leger and D.W. Roberts. 1997. Induction of novel proteins in Manduca sexta and Blaberus giganteus as a response to fungal challenge. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 70: 184-189.
Bidochka, M.J., S.R.A. Walsh, M.E. Ramos, R.J. St. Leger, R.I. Carruthers, J.C. Silver and D.W. Roberts. 1997. Cloned DNA probes distinguish endemic and exotic Entomophaga grylli fungal pathotype infections in grasshopper life stages. Molecular Ecology 6: 303-308.
Recent M.Sc. Graduate student theses:
Kamp, Andrena 2002. Genetic and biochemical analyses of pleiomorphic deterioriation in entomopathogenic fungi.
DeCroos, Amrith. 1999. Genetic analysis of cold-activity in the insect pathogenic fungus, Metarhizium anisopliae.
Current M.Sc. Graduate student theses:
Small, Cherrie. Analysis of expressed sequences during conidiation in the insect pathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae.
Recent B.Sc. (hons) theses:
Small, Cherrie. 2001. Phylogenetic relationships among Metarhizium strains based on amplification and genetic polymorphisms in ITS nuclear rDNA and the neutral trehalase (ntl) gene.
Condotta, Stephanie. 2001. Co-transformation of the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae with green fluorescent protein and benomyl resistance.
Current B.Sc. (hons) thesis:
Cik, Anica. Amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis and Vectorette PCR for identifying genetic loci and mechanisms of genetic change associated with pleiomorphic deterioration in an insect-infecting fungus, Metarhizium anisopliae.