Suha Jabaji

Image by Tom DiSandolo.


T: 514-398-7561 | suha.jabaji [at] (Email) |  Raymond Building, R2-027  |  Website


BSc (American University of Beirut)
MSc (Guelph)
PhD (Waterloo)

Short Bio

Suha Jabaji obtained her PhD in 1985 from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada following undergraduate studies at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon and graduate studies at Guelph University, Ontario, Canada. Between 1987-1992, she held post-doctoral and Research Associate positions at Laval University, Quebec, Canada. Suha Jabaji joined McGill in 1992 and her research expertise deals with genomics and metabolomics of fungal pathogens. Between 2005-2015, she served as the Associate Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and represented her faculty on many university advisory or task force committees that report to the VP-RIR. She currently serves as Past-President of the International Rhizoctonia Subject Matter Committee whose mandate is to coordinate international effort towards effective communication among Rhizoctonia scientists and promote exchange of resources and ideas among scientists. She also serves on the editorial board of the Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology.

Active Affiliations

Chair, International Subject Matter Rhizoctonia Committee (IRC)

Research Interests

My laboratory is interested in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that modulate plant-pathogen, plant-endophytes and mycoparasite-pathogen interactions. For many years we have studied the pathogen Rhizoctonia solani an economically important pathogen of agricultural and forestry crops world-wide. Research in my lab is currently focused on understanding the genetic and molecular basis of how R. solani invades its hosts on one hand and on the other how it defends itself when it is invaded by another fungus or when it is exposed to abiotic stress conditions such as oxidative stress. These interactions are interesting in terms of protein and metabolite richness and can serve as models for the development and standardization of high-throughput “omics” methods. This new area of research involves bioinformatics, genomics, proteomics and metabolomics-based methods and is beginning to provide new insights into many fundamental research questions. The ultimate goal of my research program is to generate knowledge that will result in the deployment of improved approaches to reduce economic losses to plant disease while promoting increased productivity and sustainability.

Graduate students, PDFs, Research Assistants and Research Associates in my laboratory work on three themes:

Plant-pathogen interactions: Diseases develop in plants due to inadequate defenses or to pathogen strategies that by-pass them. Some microbes have evolved highly specialized tactics to suppress plant defenses, thus providing the pathogen with a higher weaponry level. The molecular and biochemical mechanisms of such suppression remain unclear and my program is focused to understand the biochemical mechanisms by which the fungal pathogen overcomes plant defenses which will facilitate the development of alternative crop protection strategies (e.g., new targets for fungicides) and possibly biomarker-assisted plant breeding. RNAseq and metabolic profiling, construction of metabolic network (left panel) and integration of transcriptomics and metabolomics (right panel) are tools applied to address the above.

Pathogen-mycoparasite interactions: Focusing on interactions of Rhizoctonia solani with a fungal mycoparasite, a sequence of events will determine compatibility and consequently pathogenesis (left panel). Therefore, time-course study of fluctuations of fungal proteome and metabolome could provide insights into key mechanisms that regulate their metabolism. We identified pathogen-response genes and metabolites, providing evidence that the parasitized hyphae and sclerotia of the R. solani respond to the attack by triggering different transcriptional patterns of genes belonging to cellular respiration, vitamin metabolism and transduction pathways. Since signal transduction pathway is crucial in the regulation of mycoparasitism-related processes, a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) homologue gene from the mycoparasite was fully characterized. Metabolomics analysis (right panel) showed that several antifungal secondary compounds (e.g., diketopiperazine(s) (DKPs) ethyl 2-phenylacetate, and 3-nitro-4-hydroxybenzoic acid) were produced in Rhizoctonia in response to attack, while several mycoparasite-derived mycotoxins (e.g.,trichothecenes and atranones) were identified during mycoparasitism.

Plant-endophyte interactions: Recent molecular studies on diversity of endophytic organisms have revealed a large richness of species. Dicots and monocots harbor a diversity of fungal and bacterial endophytes. These organisms promote plant growth and yield, suppress pathogens, may help to remove contaminants, solubilize phosphate, or contribute assimilable nitrogen to plants. Some endophytes are seedborne, but others have mechanisms to colonize the plants that are being studied. We have isolated and fully several fungal and bacterial endphytes from bioenergy and industrial crops. Some had growth promoting and biological control capabilities in several grass crops. Current research using various 'omic’ platforms is aimed at elucidating the mechanisms by which endophytes induce systemic resistance to plants against biotic and abiotic stress.

Current Research

  • Oxidative stress mechanisms of Fungal pathogens
  • Bacterial and fungal endophytes of industrial and bioenergy crops
  • Functional genomics of fungal Soybean diseases
  • Mechanisms of Mycoparasitism
  • Bioprospecting of novel antimicrobial compounds


PLNT 221 Introduction to Fungi 1 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

PLNT 304 Biology of Fungi 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

PLNT 622 Advances in Plant Protection 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


View a list of current publications

Selected Publications

Mahmoud, M and Jabaji, S. 2021. Draft genome sequence of Paenibacillus polymyxa strain HB06 ioslatedfrom Hemp seeds’oil (Submitted to Microbiology Genome Announcement).

Sharma,M. Saleh,D, Charron,JB, Jabaji, S. 2020. A Crosstalk Between Brachypodium Root Exudates, Organic Acids and Bacillus velezensis B26, a Growth Promoting Bacterium. Frontiers Microbiology (Front. Microbiol., 06 October 2020 |

Liang, N. Jabaji S. 2020. Draft Genomes equence of Bacillus velezensis strain E68 isolated from an oil Battery. Microbiology Resource Announcement DOI:10.1128/MRA.00332-20.

Saleh D, Sharma M, Seguin P., Jabaji S. 2020. Organic acids and root exudates of Brachypodium distachyon: Effects on chemotaxis and biofilm formation of endophytic bacteria. Can. J. Microbiol. DOI:10.1139/cjm-2020.0041

Taghinasab M, and Jabaji S. 2020. Cannabis microbiome and the role of endophytes inmodulating the production of secondary metabolites: an overview. Microroganisms 8(3), 355; i (registering DOI)

Samsatly J, Bayen S. and Jabaji SH. 2020. Vitamin B6 is under a tight balance during disease development by Rhizoctonia solani on different cultivars of potato. Frontiers in Plant Sci., 24 June 2020 |

Rani, M., Weadge, J. T. and Jabaji, S. 2020. Isolation and characterization of biosurfactant-producing bacteria from oil well batteries with antimicrobial activities against food-borne and plant pathogens. Front. Microbiol. 11:64.doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.00064.

Vulakovich, V. Korrber D, Vujanovic S, Vujavonik J, Jabaji, S. 2020. Scientific Prospects for Cannabis-Microbiome Research to Ensure Quality and Safety of Product. Microorganisms, 8, 290; doi:10.3390/microorganisms8020290

Saleh D, Jarry, J, Rani M, Aliferis, K, Seguin, P, Jabaji, S H. 2019. Diversity, distribution and multi-functional attributes of bacterial communities associated with the rhizosphere and endosphere of timothy (Phleum pratense L.). J. Applied Microbiology . doi:10.1111/jam.14334

Scott, M, Rani, M, Samsatly J, Charron, J-B, Jabaji S. 2018. Endophytes of industrial hemp (Cannabis satia L.) cultivars: identification of culturable bacteria and fungi in leaves, petioles and seeds. Canadian Journal of Microbiology 2018, 64(10): 664-680,

Samsatly, J, and Jabaji, S. 2018. The interplay of antioxidative genes encoding vitaminB6 in Different plant-microbe interactions. PLoSOne 13:e0192682. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0192682

Wang L, Wang B, Zhao G, Ca Xi, Jabaji S, Seguin P, Chen H. 2017. Genetic and Pathogenic Diversity of Ralstonia solanacearum Causing Potato Brown Rot in China. American journal of Potato Research, doi:10.1007/s12230-017-9576-2.


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