Sheila Macfie, PhD
Mechanisms of Metal Tolerance
Many plants have a remarkable ability to withstand high concentrations of potentially toxic metals in their environment. A better understanding of the biochemical and physiological mechanisms that permit such tolerance may provide valuable information regarding the use of plants to restore contaminated areas.
Current projects involve edible plants, including wheat (Triticum spp) barley (Hordeum vulgare) and lettuce (Lactuca sativa), as well as Arabidopsis thaliana. The approaches that we are taking include: (1) investigate the production and exudation of organic compounds as a mechanism to detoxify metal ions, (2) determine the localization of metal ions at the subcellular level, (3) model the movement of metals from the soil into the plant and (4) identify the relationship between metal toxicity and a number of biochemical pathways that mediate plant stress.
Degrees and Institutions
- Ph.D. University of Alberta
- M.Sc. Queen’s University
- B.Sc. Queen’s University
On Sabbatical leave
- Columbus, M.P. and S.M. Macfie. 2015. It takes an individual plant to raise a community: TRFLP analysis of the rhizosphere microbial community of two pairs of high and low metal-accumulating plants in two soil types. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 81:77-80. DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2014.11.002.
- Akhter, Mst.F., C. Omelon, R.A. Gordon, D. Moser and S.M. Macfie. 2014. Localization and chemical speciation of cadmium in the roots of barley and lettuce. Environmental and Experimental Botany 100:10-19. DOI: 10.1016/j.envexpbot.2013.12.005.
- Konopka, J.K., K. Hanyu, S.M. Macfie and J.N. McNeil. 2013 The response of insect herbivores to cadmium depends on their feeding strategy. Chemical Ecology 39:546-554. DOI: 10.1007/s10886-013-0273-4
- Martin, R.R., S.J. Naftel, S.M. Macfie, K.W. Jones and A. Nelson. 2013. Lead distribution in bones from the Franklin expedition: synchrotron X-ray fluorescence and laser ablation/mass spectroscopy. Applied Physics A 111:23-29.
- Akhter, M.F., McGarvey, B.and Macfie, S.M. 2012. Reduced translocation of Cd from roots is associated with increased production of phytochelatins and their precursors. Journal of Plant Physiology. 169:1821-1829. DOI 10.1016/j.jplph.2012.07.011.