T: 514-398-8132 | valerie.gravel [at] mcgill.ca (Email) | Raymond Building, R2-023A
B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.(Laval)
Valérie Gravel obtained her MSc and PhD in Plant Science in 2007 from Université Laval (Québec, QC) following undergraduate studies in Agronomy at the same institution. Between 2007 and 2012, she completed postdoctoral research at Agriculture and AgriFood Canada (St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC) and at Wageningen University (The Netherlands). In 2012, she became an assistant professor at the Nova Scotia Agriculture College (Truro, NS) in collaboration with the Organic Agriculture Center of Canada (OACC). She joined McGill University in 2013 as an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Science. She currently serves as president of the Canadian Society for Horticultural Science (CSHS) and as vice-president of Plant Canada. She is also a member of Ordre des Agronomes du Québec.
Member, Ordre des Agronomes du Québec
President, Canadian Society for Horticultural Science (CSHS)
Vice-President, Plant Canada
Canadian and Quebec consumers have become more aware of potential health benefits of consuming pesticide-free nutritious produce with elevated concentrations of health-related compounds. As growing conditions have a major impact on how well horticultural plants grow, my work focusses on understanding how sustainable production practices influence the overall quality of fresh horticultural produce.
Sustainable production horticulture is often defined by environmentally sound cultivation practices to ensure long-term food security by promoting, among other things, a higher produce quality. Recent work has therefore concentrated on understanding the pathways leading to health-related bioactive compound accumulation in plant tissues. In fact, it is often associated with a physiological response to abiotic stress (high salinity, drought-like conditions or higher CO2 concentrations) or biotic stress (often triggered by the soil microbial communities) similar to conditions resulting from sustainable production practices. Our goal is to define and understand patterns of plant response to multiple simultaneous abiotic and biotic stresses.
Using our expertise in the area of sustainable horticultural production systems with a specific emphasis on sheltered or greenhouse crops, our research interests include: nutrient availability and plant uptake in organic cropping systems, plant growth regulation in sustainable production systems, microbial interactions within the soil-plant-environment continuum, and biological control of diseases and pests in sustainable fruit, vegetable and ornamental crops.
Current Research Projects
Optimization of alternative cultivation practices for day-neutral strawberry production (NSERC-Collaborative Research and Development Grant; 2016-2021)
Elucidating the stress-induced flowering response of horticultural plants to abiotic and biotic stimuli (NSERC-Discovery Grant; 2019-2024)
Phytoprotection dans le contexte des grands littoraux du lac Saint-Pierre: développement d'une gestion raisonnée des ravageurs, maladies et mauvaises herbes (MAPAQ - part of the Pôle Multidisciplinaire Lac St-Pierre ; 2019-2022)
Potentiel agronomique et environnemental de cultures alternatives cultivées en zones inondables du littoral du lac Saint-Pierre (MAPAQ - part of the Pôle Multidisciplinaire Lac St-Pierre ; 2019-2022)