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Shawkat Ali

Research Scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Research Interests

Understanding the role of signaling molecules in salinity tolerance, both in model plant Arabidopsis and crop plant tomato and barley.

Selected Publications

  • Analysis of Globodera rostochiensis effectors reveals conserved functions of SPRYSEC proteins in suppressing plant immune responses. S. Ali, M. Magne, S. Chen, N. Obradovic, L. Jamshaid, X. Wang, G. Bélair and P. Moffett. Front. Plant Sci. 6:623. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2015.00623, (2015)
  • Analysis of putative apoplastic effectors from the nematode, Globodera rostochiensis, and identification of an expansin-like protein that can induce and suppress host defenses. S. Ali, M. Magne, S. Chen, O. Côté, B. G. Stare, N. Obradovic, L. Jamshaid, X. Wang, G. Bélair and P. Moffett. PLoS ONE 10(1): e0115042. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0115042, (2015)
  • Conversion of BAC Clones into Binary BAC (BIBAC) Vectors and their Delivery into Basidiomycete Fungal Cells using Agrobacterium tumefaciens. S. Ali and G. Bakkeren.  Methods in Molecular Biology. (Clifton, N.J.), vol. 1227, DOI 10.1007/978-1-4939-1652-8 (2015).
  • An immunity-triggering effector from the barley smut fungus Ustilago hordei resides in an Ustilaginaceae-specific cluster bearing signs of transposable element-assisted evolution. S. Ali, J. D Laurie, R. Lining, J. A. Cervantes-Chávez, D. Gaudet and G. Bakkeren.) PLoS Pathogens, 10 (7: Article number e1004223), (2014.
  • Genome comparison of barley and maize smut fungi reveals targeted loss of RNA silencing components and species-specific presence of TEs J. D. Laurie, S. Ali, R. Linning, G. Mannhaupt, P. Wong, U. M. Münsterkötter, R. Moore, R. Kahmann, G. Bakkeren and J. Schirawskie. The Plant Cell. 24 (5):1733-45, (2012).

Education Profile

  • 2011    Ph.D.  Department of Botany, University of British Columbia Vancouver Canada,  Supervisor: Dr. Guus Bakkeren. Thesis: Identification of effectors with avirulence functions in the pathogenic barley smut fungus, using marker-based approaches and comparison among genomes of related species.
  • 2004     M.Phil. Biology (Biotechnology), Department of Biological Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan, Supervisor: Dr. Bushra Mirza, Thesis: Micropropagation and transformation of rough lemon (Citrus jambhiri Lush.) with yeast halotolerant genes HAL1 and HAL2. ​
  • 2001    B.Sc. (Hons) Agriculture (Horticulture), Faculty of Agriculture, Gomal University D.I.Khan, Pakistan.

Professional Profile

  • January, 2014-to-date, Post-doctoral Fellow, Center for Desert Agriculture, Division of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering, 4700 King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal KSA.
  • April 2013 to December 2013, Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Biology, University of Sherbrooke, QC Canada.
  • August 2011 to March 2013, NSERC Visiting Scientist, Department of Biology, University of Sherbrooke QC Canada and Horticulture R & D Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 430, Boulevard Gouin St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec, Canada.
  • May 2006 to 2010, Research Assistant, Molecular Plant Pathology Lab. Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre Summerland, B.C Canada.
  • April 2011 to June 2011, Research Assistant, Molecular Plant Biotechnology Lab. Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre Summerland, B.C Canada.
  • September 2005 to December 2005, Teaching Assistant, Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver Canada.
  • August 2003 to August 2005, Lecture, Department of Biotechnology University of Malakand, Chakdara Lower Dir, Pakistan.
  • August 2002 to July 2003, Research Assistant, Plant Molecular Biology Lab. Department of Biological Sciences Qauid-I-Azam University Islamabad Pakistan.

Scientific and Professional Memberships

  • 2009- Present   member of International Society of Molecular Plant Microbe Interaction.
  • 2007- Present   member of American Society of Plant Biologists and Potany
  • 2004- Present   member of National Curriculum Revision Committee - Higher Education Commission, Islamabad Pakistan.
  • 2010- Present   member of the Canadian Society of Plant pathology.
  • 2013- Present   member of the Canadian Society of  Plant Physiologist.


  • FQRNT Postdoctoral Fellowship from Quebec Canada
  • NSERC postdoctoral visiting fellowships in Canadian Government Laboratories Program,     
  • Ph. D Tuition fee Award, from UBC Vancouver.
  • Gold Medal in B.Sc. (Hons) Agriculture
  • Merit based scholarship for B.Sc. (Hons)
  • Ph.D. Scholarships for Engineering & Sciences in Germany, Funded by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (The award was declined).