Bede, Jacqueline

Academic title(s): 

Associate Professor

Bede, Jacqueline
Contact Information
Email address: 
jacqueline.bede [at] mcgill.ca
Address: 

Raymond Building R2-026C | Lab R2-004

Research areas: 
Sustainable agriculture and climate resilience
Plant-biotic interactions
Biography: 

Prof. Bede’s nonlinear research journey began when she started to realize that medicinal compounds derived from plants serve important ecological functions, particularly in the interactions between plants and insect herbivores. Fascinated by the tango of defense and counter-adaptation between plants and insects, Prof. Bede’s research addresses the fundamental biochemical mechanisms driving these relationships. On the plant side of the coin, Prof. Bede’s research investigates the redox- and post-translational regulation of plant defenses with the goal of enhancing crop endogenous defenses. On the insect side of the coin, Prof. Bede is interested in insect strategies to subvert plant defenses.

Prof. Bede is also an associate member of McGill University's Department of Natural Resource Sciences.

Degree(s): 
  • Ph.D. Zoology (Toronto)
  • M.Sc. Botany (Toronto)
  • B.Sc. Biochemistry (Calgary)
Awards, honours, and fellowships: 
  • 2009: Décoration Léon-Provancer catégorie Jeune Chercheur, Société d’Entomologie du Québec (Léon-Provancer Young Researcher Award, Entomological Society of Québec)
Areas of interest: 

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.

Current research: 

Regulation of the jasmonate pathway

In addition to regulating growth and reproduction, jasmonate phytohormones are key for plant resistance against chewing insect herbivores and necrotrophic pathogens. We are interested in the regulation of the jasmonate pathway and have identified the phosphorylation of a key enzyme early in the pathway that may be involved in the regulation of jasmonate biosynthesis.

Effect of climate change on the jasmonate pathway

We are investigating plant resistance to chewing insects and necrotrophic pathogens in the light of future environmental conditions, particularly the steady increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Our research has shown that there is a suppression of the defence-related jasmonate burst in wounded plants grown at elevated CO2 conditions that appears to be related to nitrate assimilation. Insect herbivore subversion of the jasmonate-mediated plant resistance In our research, we are 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 or caterpillars of the cabbage looper, Trichoplusia ni. Research in the laboratory focuses on how these caterpillars modulate the plant’s induced defense responses and detoxify plant-derived compounds.

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.

Courses: 

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

Laboratory: 
Currently accepting graduate students
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