Research Faculty #103

General Information

Academic History
  • Distinguished University Scholar and NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Fellow
  • Member of the Royal Society of Canada (2015)
  • Research Scientist, Max Planck Institute Jena, Germany (1998-2000)
  • Feodor Lynen Postdoctoral Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Washington State University, Pullman, USA (1995-1998)
  • Ph.D., Technical University Braunschweig, Germany (1995)

Contact Information

Email
bohlmann@msl.ubc.ca
Office Phone
Office Location
Office Room 321, MSL Building
Lab Phone
Lab Location
Room 383, MSL Building

Research Information

Research Abstract

Plant molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry. Natural products and chemical ecology of forest trees.

Research Interests

Plants are sessile organisms which have the ability to survive under constantly changing environmental conditions over lifespans of several weeks to hundreds of years. To cope with biotic or abiotic stress, plants have evolved a complex specialized metabolism which contains hundreds of thousands of unique small molecules. Many of these bioactive molecules have beneficial applications for humans.

Through genomicproteomicmetabolomic and biochemical approaches our laboratory is exploring two aspects of plant specialized metabolism: (1) the role it plays in plant defense, and (2) how its  genes and enzymes can be prospected for metabolic engineering of high-value bioproducts. The foundation of our research program has concentrated primarily on the terpenoid pathway, including the large gene families of terpene synthases (TPS) and cytochrome  P450s, and more recently extended into phenolic pathways.

The first major stream of our research program combines forest health genomics and chemical ecology to better understand the ecological, biochemical, and molecular interactions that underlie conifer defense and resistance mechanisms against insect pests and insect-associated fungal pathogens. This research has resulted in the production of new conifer and pest genomic resources, the identification of new marker systems for tree breeding, and advanced knowledge to inform government decision making and policies in forest pest management. The long-term goal and outcome is the protection of global health of forests beginning with applications in Canada in partnership with provincial and federal government organizations.

The second major stream of our program combines an integrated –omics strategy to discover genes and enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of high-valued plant bioproducts. This research has successfully developed a gene discovery strategy for non-model species, generating transcriptome resources for many non-model species, and has produced a large portfolio of enzymes for bioproduct development. Applications are being realized in partnership with the biotech industry.

Team Members

Lab & Facility Managers

Carol Ritland, Project Manager
Sharon Jancsik, Lab Manager
Lina Madilao, Facilities Manager of the Mass Spectrometry lab

Research Associates & Post-Doctoral Fellows

Jose Celedon
Sandra Irmisch
Justin Whitehill
Omnia Gamal
Lars Kruse

Graduate Students

Hannah Liu
Fred Sunstrum
Tal Shalev

Bioinformatician

Mack Yuen

Technicians

Sharon Jancsik

Selected Publications

Burnette TE, Haavik LJ, Whitehill JGA, Salisbury VB, Fischer JM, Madilao L, Brunsell KB, Bohlmann J. White ash trees (Fraxinus americana) originally from colder, drier areas are more susceptible to emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis). University of Montana STEM Oral Presentations. link: scholarworks.umt.edu/gsrc/2021/stem_oral/16

Rosana ARR, Pokorny S, Klutsch JG, barra-Romero C, Sanichar R, Engelhardt D, van Belkum MJ, Erbilgin N, Bohlmann J, Carroll AL, Vederas JC. Selection of entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana (DeuteromycotinaHyphomycetes) for the biocontrol of Dendroctonus ponderosae(ColeopteraCurculionidaeScolytinae) in Western Canada. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. doi: 10.1007/s00253-021-11172-7

Link to the complete list of publications: Publications | Bohlmann lab (ubc.ca)