Brendan McConkey's research focuses on proteomics analysis, that is, identifying and quantifying the proteins active within a biological system. He and his team develop experimental techniques as well as use computational and bioinformatics tools to study protein function and identify changes in protein expression in biological systems, such as yeast, algae, plants and mammalian cells.
Undergraduate Advisor (Bioinformatics)
Office: B1 165A
Phone: 519-888-4567, ext. 37020
- Bioinformatics, systematics and protein evolution
- Protein structure and interaction modeling
- Protein expression pattern analysis
- Molecular genetics
The research in Professor McConkey's lab is focused on two complementary areas – experimental techniques for proteomics analysis, and the use of computational and bioinformatics approaches for investigating protein function.
Professor McConkey and research team use the proteomics techniques of differential in-gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry to identify changes in protein expression in a variety of biological systems. For example, his lab has applied this approach for the quantification of cell cycle proteins in yeast, recombinant protein production in mammalian cell lines, and identification of proteins mediating plant-bacterial interactions.
Computational and bioinformatics approaches are also used in the McConkey lab to investigate protein structure and expression patterns, and to investigate how protein function changes and diversifies within protein families.
Recently they have applied structural pattern recognition algorithms to predict protein functions such as carbohydrate binding and antifreeze activity, and have used publicly available high-throughput data sets to map the evolution of protein function within homologous protein groups.
Professor McConkey teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses. Course offerings have included
- BIOL 365 Resources in Bioinformatics
- CS 399 & CS 499 Readings in Computer Science
- BIOL 455 Ecological Risk Assessment
- BIOL 465 Current Topics in Bioinformatics
- BIOL 499 Senior Honours Project
- CS 499T Computer Science Honours Project
- BIOL 614 Bioinformatics Tools
Recent publications include
- Cheng Z, Li J, Niu Y, Zhang X, Woody O, Xiong Y, Djonović S, Millet Y, Bush J, McConkey BJ, Sheen J, Ausubel F. (2015) Pathogen-Secreted Proteases Activate a Novel Plant Immune Pathway. Nature. 521(7551):213-6.
- Marinier E, Brown DG, McConkey BJ. (2015) Pollux: platform independent error correction of single and mixed genomes. BMC Bioinformatics 16:10.
- Kong Z, Glick BR, Duan J, Ding S, Tian J, McConkey BJ, Wei G (2015). Effects of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) deaminase-overproducing Sinorhizobium meliloti on plant growth and copper tolerance of Medicago lupulina. Plant and Soil 391 (1-2), 383-398.
- SE Ruffell, KM Müller, and BJ McConkey (2015). Comparative assessment of microalgal fatty acids as topical antibiotics. J. Appl. Phycol. 10.1007/s10811-015-0692-4 (in press).
- Rodríguez-Gil JL, Brain R, Baxter L, Ruffell S, McConkey B, Solomon K, Hanson M. (2014) Optimization of culturing conditions for toxicity testing with the alga Oophila sp. (Chlorophyceae), an amphibian endosymbiont. Environ Toxicol Chem. 33(11):2566-75
Please see Brendan McConkey's Google Scholar profile for a current list of his peer-reviewed articles.
- Patent PCT/CA2015/051288, STERILE METHODS AND PRODUCTS. Provisional Patent for Anti-bacterial Algae Fatty Acids. Authors: Hajaniriana E, Ruffell S, McConkey BJ, Muller KM
Awards and Distinctions
- 2012 Early Researcher Award, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation
- 1999 W.B. Pearson Medal for creative thesis research (Biology), University of Waterloo
University of Waterloo Affiliations
1999 PhD Biology, University of Waterloo
1991 BSc Applied Physics, University of Waterloo