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Jacquie Bede

Associate Professor

T: 514-398-7860  |  jacqueline [dot] bede [at] mcgill [dot] ca (E-mail)  |  Raymond Building R2-004


BSc Biochemistry (Calgary)
MSc Botany (Toronto)
PhD Zoology (Toronto)

Awards and Recognitions

2009: Décoration Léon-Provancer catégorie Jeune Chercheur, Société d’Entomologie du Québec (Léon-Provancer Young Researcher Award, Entomological Society of Québec)

Research Interests

Each year, billions of agricultural and forestry dollars are lost to insect pests in the form of crop and forest damages and expenses in controlling insects. However, if we had a better understanding of how plants defend themselves, this would allow us to design insect control strategies to enhance the endogenous defense responses of the plant.

Biological Systems

In In my research, I am looking at the defense responses of the legume Medicago truncatula and the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana to herbivory by generalist caterpillars of the beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua. Research in my laboratory also focuses on how these caterpillars modulate the plant’s induced defense responses and detoxify plant-derived compounds.

In collaboration with Don Windsor at the Smithsonian Institute of Tropical Research (McGill Neotropical Environment Option), I also investigate Neotropical plant-insect interactions, particularly those involving beetle and caterpillar herbivory on cycad species.

Molecular characterization

To minimize losses due to insect pests, we must understand how plants co-ordinate their responses to caterpillar herbivory and how insects manage to subvert these induced defenses. Since plants often interact with multiple organisms simultaneously, they need to prioritize their response to act appropriately to different environmental stresses. This is achieved through synergistic or antagonistic interactions between phytohormone signaling pathways; a process known as hormone cross-talk. Generalist noctuid caterpillars have taken advantage of this crosstalk and activate some pathways to delay or suppress plant induced defenses. By investigating how plants regulate their defenses pathways at the hormone, gene, protein and metabolic levels, we hope to gain insight into these plant-caterpillar interactions.

Biopesticides, synergists and insect resistance

We are interested in identifying plant- and fungally-derived biopesticides and synergists directed against caterpillar herbivores. We also are interested in understanding the resistance mechanisms used by the insect to cope with and/or detoxify these compounds.

Current Research

Oxidative post-translational modifications in plant-insect interactions
Cycad-insect specialist interactions
Biopesticides and insect detoxification mechanisms


PLNT 353 Plant Structure and Function 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

PLNT 426 Plant Ecophysiology 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


View a list of current publications


Present lab members:

Er Yang Li (Research Assistant)
Nicolas Chatel-Launay (MSc)
Julian Martinez-Henao (PhD)