Castroverde Lab (Plant Immunity and Stress Biology)

Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario
What the facility does

Molecular investigation of plant immunity and environmental stress responses.

Areas of expertise

Our research program is centred around understanding the molecular basis by which climatic factors impact plant immune responses and disease resistance. Although other research groups have provided major advances on plant immunity to disease-causing pathogens, our understanding of how climatic factors (e.g. temperature) impact plant immune signalling and responses at the molecular level is relatively underexplored. We use the plant growth system and molecular phenotyping platform to: (1) discover novel regulators of temperature-regulated plant immunity; (2) elucidate other temperature-modulated plant mechanisms and processes; and (3) characterize how temperature-suppression of disease resistance is conserved in other plant species (e.g. crops). By combining multiple technologies, our research program aims to unravel the profound yet enigmatic effect of temperature on plant immune resilience and disease development. We hope to identify new genes and other factors that mediate this process and to untangle their evolutionary significance. Our long-term goal is to leverage biological insights to address current challenges in plant biology and agriculture. This could lead to better plant resilience engineering to mitigate disease outbreaks in a warming world. 

Research services

Our lab is open for collaborative research in plant immunity and plant stress biology. In particular, we specialize in plant gene expression analyses and disease assays.

Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
BioChambers “Double-Decker” Reach-In Plant Growth Chamber, Model SPC-7-2HPlant piggyback growth chamber used to grow plants in controlled conditions for comparative experiments (i.e. ambient vs. elevated temperature simultaneously).
Applied Biosystems QuantStudio 3.0 (QS3) 96-well 0.1ML qPCR SystemqPCR system for accurate and precise measurements of transcript levels.
Applied Biosystems ProFlex 3X32-well PCR systemPCR thermocycler for plant/bacterial genotyping, molecular cloning, cDNA synthesis for downstream gene expression analyses and regular end-point PCR amplification.
DeNovix DS-11 Series Microvolume SpectrophotometerMicrolitre spectrophotometer to quantify DNA (for cloning and genotyping purposes) and RNA (for gene expression profiling).
Eppendorf Microcentrifuge 5425RRefrigerated microcentrifuge for processing hundreds of samples, including plant RNA/DNA extraction, plasmid DNA isolation, hormone extraction and other temperature-sensitive assays in molecular biology, microbiology and biochemistry.
Qiagen TissueLyser II Bead MillHigh-throughput homogenizer for high-throughput sample disruption for analyses of bacterial levels in planta, molecular applications (DNA and RNA extractions) and biochemical assays (plant hormone measurements).
  • University of Toronto
  • Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS)
  • Platform Genetics Inc.
New discovery by Laurier researcher may strengthen resilience of plants in a warming climate.
Laurier professor working to make plants more heat-resilient amid rising temperatures.
Climate change is making plants more vulnerable to disease. New research could help them fight back.
New discovery by Laurier researcher may help plants be more resilient to warming climate.
Hot Weather Weakens Plant Immune System, Study Finds.
Heat disables plant defences by turning off gene.
Laurier researchers receive federal and provincial funding for plant immunity and brain health studies.
Purposeful partnerships – “Strengthening plant immunity.”
Future-Ready Researchers – Laurier students share their findings.