Principal Investigator

McDonald headshot October 2019

Allison E. McDonald

Contact information:


Twitter: @AEMcDonaldWLU


I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

I attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario as an undergraduate (1994-1998) where I began my research career by doing a fourth year undergraduate thesis with Dr. Bill Plaxton. I stayed at Queen’s to complete a M.Sc. (1998-2000) and studied the effects of phosphite on the phosphate-starvation response of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. I then moved to the University of Toronto Scarborough to do a Ph.D. with Dr. Greg Vanlerberghe (2000-2007) and studied the taxonomic distribution of alternative oxidase (AOX) and plastoquinol oxidase (PTOX) in all domains of life. I was a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Jim Staples and Dr. Norm Hϋner (2008-2010) at Western University in London, Ontario where I studied the AOX of animals and non-flowering plants. I started my position at Laurier in July 2010.

I am broadly interested in how organisms acclimate and adapt to biotic and abiotic stress. My focus is on bioenergetics and how organisms transduce energy in order to survive in challenging conditions. My primary interest is on alternative pathways of electron transport during respiration and photosynthesis in bacteria, protists, fungi, plants, and animals. Research in my lab is conducted at several different biological scales (molecules to organisms) and utilizes a wide variety of bioinformatics, molecular, biochemical, and physiological techniques to answer questions about how organisms survive in challenging environments.

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