Brendan McConkey

Brendan McConkey
Associate Professor, Associate Chair (Undergrad Studies), Undergrad Advisor (Bioinformatics)
Location: B1 165A
Phone: 519-888-4567 x47020


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.

Research Interests

  • Bioinformatics, systematics and protein evolution
  • Protein structure and interaction modeling
  • Protein expression pattern analysis
  • Molecular genetics
  • Drug Discovery, Design and Delivery
  • Biochemistry and Biophysics
  • Bioinformatics, Systematics and Evolution
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Microbiology


  • 2002 Ph.D. Biology, Waterloo, Canada
  • 2000 B.Sc. Applied Physics, Waterloo, Canada


  • 2012 Early Researcher Award, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation
  • 1999 W.B. Pearson Medal for creative thesis research (Biology), University of Waterloo


  • Science Statistics Review Committee, Chair
  • Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science Operations Committee

Affiliations and Volunteer Work

  • Cross-appointed with Chemical Engineering and School of Computer Science
  • UW Bioinformatics Research Group, Member
  • Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research (member)


  • BIOL 130L - Cell Biology Laboratory
    • Taught in 2022
  • BIOL 365 - Methods in Bioinformatics
    • Taught in 2019, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
  • BIOL 465 - Structural Bioinformatics
    • Taught in 2019, 2024
  • BIOL 614 - Applied Bioinformatics and Genomics
    • Taught in 2019
  • BME 285L - Engineering Biology Laboratory
    • Taught in 2022

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • 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.