Jacquie Bede

Image by Alex Tran.

Associate Professor

T: 514-398-7860  |  jacqueline.bede [at] mcgill.ca (E-mail)  |  Raymond Building R2-026C  |  Lab R2-004

Degrees

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

Short Bio

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, Dr. 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. 

Awards and Recognitions

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

Professional Affiliations

Senior Editor Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions (2019-present)

Associate member -Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University

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.

Current Research

Biological Systems

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.

 

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.

Climate change

We are investigating plant-insect interactions in the light of future environmental conditions, particularly the rapid increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) conditions. 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.

 

Current Research Projects

Oxidative post-translational modifications in plant-insect interactions
Biopesticides and insect detoxification mechanisms
Plant-insect interactions under elevated CO2

Courses

FAES 401 Honours Research Project 1 6 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


FAES 402 Honours Research Project 2 6 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


LSCI 451 Research Project 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


LSCI 452 Research Project 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


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

Publications

View a list of current publications

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