Dr. Miao (Mindy) Liu

Image Miao (Mindy) Liu
Research Scientist, Mycologist
  • Fungal systematics (Taxonomy and nomenclature, molecular phylogenetics)
  • Fungal population biology (Population evolution and speciation)
  • Molecular detection of plant pathogens
  • Gene evolution and comparative genomics

Current research and/or projects

  • Fungal and Bacterial Biosystematics - bridging taxonomy and “omics” technology in agricultural research and regulation; J-002272; Project lead(s): Sarah Hambleton, Keith Seifert; Budgets: $2,495,000 ($157,500 for ML); Duration 2019/04/01 – 2024/03/31; Proposal stream: STB Annual Call for RDT Proposal

Research and/or project statements

Identify species and understand genetic variability of plant related fungal pathogens to facilitate the crop breeding program for developing disease resistant cultivars that will increase agriculture productivity; Understand the population genetic structure of plant pathogens to provide information for deploying environment-friendly disease control strategies and enhancing environmental performance; increase knowledge on systematics, genomics, diagnostics, chemotyping and distribution of toxin genic fungi (i.e. Claviceps spp.) in grains to build foundation for food quality control through bio-surveillance, domestic legislation/regulations, and risk evaluation.

Professional activities / interests

  1. Senior editor of Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology (2019–present).
  2. Section editor of Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology (2016–2019).
  3. Member of expert panel in the 4th National Invasive Species Forum, hosted by Canadian Council on Invasive species, Ottawa, 12 –13 February  2019
  4. Peer reviewer of manuscripts for Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology, Carnets de bryolgie, Genome Biology and Evolution, Mycologia, Plant Disease etc.

Education and awards

  • Ph.D., Plant Pathology, Cornell University, 2005         
  • M.S., Beijing Forestry University, 1990

International experience and/or work

Collaborate with scientists from Czech Republic (Dr. Miroslav Kolarik), Japan (Dr. Eiji Tanaka), UK (Dr. Anna Grodon), USA (Dr. Kirk Broders) on ergot (Claviceps) studies; and Germany (Dr. Uwe Braun), Japan (Dr. Susumu Takamatsu) on powddery mildew studies.

Key publications

  1. Hambleton S., Liu M., Eggertson Q., Wilson S., Carey J., Anikster Y., Kolmer J. 2019. Crown rust fungi with short lifecycles – the Puccinia mesnieriana species complex. Sydowia 71:47-63

    2019 - View publication details

  2. Hambleton, S. and Liu, M. (2019). "The elusive Puccinia tritici-duri pathology, taxonomy and relationship to Puccinia recondita." Joint meeting of the Canadian Phytopathological Society and the Quebec Society for the Protection of Plants, 2018 / Réunion conjointe la Société Canadienne de Phytopathologie et de la Société de Protection des Plantes du Quebec, 2018, Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology, 41:155, DOI: 10.1080/07060661.2019.1519163

    2019 - View publication details

  3. M. Liu, W. Findlay, P. Shoukouhi, K. Dadej, H. D. T. Nguyen, J. G. Menzies, K. A. Seifert. 2019. A reminiscence of evolutionary hourglass: The pattern of ergot alkaloid gene divergence in Claviceps purpurea.

    2019 - View publication details

  4. M. Liu, S. Hambleton, Y. Anikster, And J. Kolmer 2019. Gene flow as a character in polyphasic classification of phytopathogenic fungi: a case study in wheat leaf rust species complex. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology 41(1): 155

    2018 - View publication details

  5. Liu M, Shoukouhi P, Menzies J, Popovic Z, Liang J, Seifert K, Assabgui R. 2017 New Canadian lineages of ergot fungi revealed by multi-gene phylogeny. XIX International Botanic Congress Abstracts.

    2017 - View publication details

  6. Shoukouhi, P., Jindal, K., Reid, L.M., Woldermariam, T., Barasubiye, T., Dadej, K., Tenuta, A., Liu, M. 2017. Molecular Variation of the Northern Corn Leaf Blight Pathogen (Exserohilum turcicum) Population in Ontario (Preliminary). 70th Northeast Corn Improvement Conference, Ottawa, ON, Feb 21-22, 2017. Oral presentation.

    2017 - View publication details

  7. Hambleton, S., Eggertson, Q., Lévesque, C.A. Chen, W., Barasubiye, T., Redhead, S.A., and Liu, M. (2016). " DNA-barcoding the Powdery Mildews – sampling herbarium specimens in the National Mycological Herbarium (DAOM).", Canadian Phytopathological Society Annual Meeting, Delta Beausejour, Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, June 12-15, 2016. (Poster)

    2016 - View publication details

  8. Chen, W., C. Visagie, M. Liu, K. Seifert, T. Graefenhan, S. Hambleton and C. A. Levesque (2016). Geographic atlas of mycotoxigenic fungi through metagenomic surveys of DNA barcodes using a novel taxonomic classification approach. 2016 Canadian Phytopathological Society (CPS) annual meeting, June 12-15, 2016, Moncton, New Brunswick.

    2016 - View publication details

  9. Hambleton, S., Eggertson, Q.A., and Liu, M. (2015). "The rust pathogens of Rubus in Canada – identification, nomenclature and DNA-barcoding.", Botany 2015, Shaw Convention Center, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, July 25-29, 2015.

    2015 - View publication details

  10. Lowe, C., Zahariev, M., Liu, M., Hambleton, S., Seifert, K.A., Lévesque, C.A., and Chen, W. (2015). "Computational pipeline to improve detection accuracy of plant pathogens from NGS datasets using signature oligonucleotides.", American Phytopathological Society Annual Meeting, Pasadena Convention Center, Pasadena, CA, USA, August 1-5, 2015. (Poster)

    2015 - View publication details

  11. Hambleton, S., Temple, K., and Liu, M. (2014). "Taxonomy and DNA sequence variation of the rust fungi infecting four prairie grass species.", APS-CPS Joint Meeting, Hilton Minneapolis, Minneapolis, MN, USA, August 9-13, 2014. (Poster)

    2014 - View publication details

  12. Shoemaker, R.A., Hambleton, S., and Liu, M. (2013). "Vialaea insculpta revisited.", North American Fungi, 8(10), pp. 1-13. doi : 10.2509/naf2013.008.010

    2013 - View publication details

  13. Shoemaker, R.A., Malloch, D., Hambleton, S., and Liu, M. (2013). "A new Vestigium on Abies balsamea.", North American Fungi, 8(9), pp. 1-6. doi : 10.2509/naf2013.008.009

    2013 - View publication details

  14. Srour, A., Afzal, A.J., Blahut-Beatty, L., Hemmati, N., Simmonds, D.H., Li, W.B., Liu, M., Town, C.D., Sharma, H., Arelli, P., and Lightfoot, D.A. (2012). "The receptor like kinase at Rhg1-a/Rfs2 caused pleiotropic resistance to sudden death syndrome and soybean cyst nematode as a transgene by altering signaling responses.", BMC Genomics, 13, pp. 368-377. doi : 10.1186/1471-2164-13-368

    2012 - View publication details

  15. Sun, J., Liu, M., Li, L., Liu, J.H., and Acharya, S.N. (2010). "Effects of different tillage systems on soil hydrothermal regimes in rain-fed field of Inner Mongolia.", Acta Ecologica Sinica, 30(6), pp. 1539-1547.

    2010 - View publication details

  16. Liu, M., Panaccione, D.G., and Schardl, C.L. (2009). "Phylogenetic analyses reveal monophyletic origin of the ergot alkaloid gene dmaW in fungi.", Evolutionary Bioinformatics, 5, pp. 15-30.

    2009 - View publication details

  17. Bidartondo, M.I., and 255 co-authors, including, Shoemaker, R.A., Liu, M., and Redhead, S.A. (2008). "Preserving Accuracy in GenBank. (Letter to editor).", Science, 319, pp. 1616.

    2008 - View publication details

  18. Hambleton, S., Parmelee, J.A., Liu, M., Tropiano, R., and Bergeron, J. (2008). "Cedar-apple rust revisited: an unusual species of Gymnosporangium on crab-apple.", Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology, 34(1), pp. 122. (Abstract)

    2008 - View publication details

  19. Chaverri, P., Liu, M., and Hodge, K.T. (2008). "A monograph of the entomopathogenic genera Hypocrella, Moelleriella, and Samuelsia gen. nov. (Ascomycota, Hypocreales, Clavicipitaceae), and their aschersonia-like anamorphs in the Neotropics.", Studies in Mycology, 60(1), pp. 1-66. doi : 10.3114/sim.2008.60.01

    2008 - View publication details

  20. Liu, M., Tropiano, R., McCabe, E., Bergeron, J., and Hambleton, S. (2007). "Revisiting the classification of crown rust fungus: An insight from rDNA sequences.", 2007 Annual Meeting of CPS-SCP (with Plant Canada 2007), Saskatoon, SK, Canada, June 10-14, 2007, pp. 123, G1-8. (Abstract)

    2007 - View publication details

Research facility

960 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1A 0C6


  • Regional Representative and member of Canadian Phytopathological Society (since 2016)
  • Member of Mycological Society of America (since 2016)
  • Member of International Mycological Congress (since 2018)
  • Member of Asian Mycological Congress (since 2019)



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