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. Wyka, S.A., Mondo, S.J., Liu, M., Dettman, J., Nalam, V., Broders, K.D. (2021). Whole-Genome Comparisons of Ergot Fungi Reveals the Divergence and Evolution of Species within the Genus Claviceps Are the Result of Varying Mechanisms Driving Genome Evolution and Host Range Expansion. Genome biology and evolution, [online] 13(2), http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evaa267

    2021 - View publication details

  2. Hambleton, S., Liu, M., Eggertson, Q., Wilson, S., Carey, J., Anikster, Y., Kolmer, Y.A.J.A. (2020). Crown rust fungi with short lifecycles-the puccinia mesnieriana species complex. Sydowia, [online] 71 47-63. http://dx.doi.org/10.12905/0380.sydowia71-2019-0047

    2020 - View publication details

  3. Nguyen HDT, Grunwald NJ, Abad ZG, Martin FN, Crouch J, Hambleton S, Dettman J, Liu M, Harris LJ, Castlebury L, Salagado-Salazar C, Cowger C, Ellouz O, Mollov D, Fall ML, Ling K, Griffifths J, Mahaffee W, Chen W, Sultata T, Yu Q, Carta LK, Skantar AM, Tambong J, Rogers E, Li S, Dumonceaux TJ, Widmer TL. The 2019 AAFC-USDA meeting on genotyping and monitoring of high-risk plant pathogens.

    2019 - View publication details

  4. Shoukouhi, P., Hicks, C., Menzies, J.G., Popovic, Z., Chen, W., Seifert, K.A., Assabgui, R., Liu, M. (2019). Phylogeny of Canadian ergot fungi and a detection assay by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Mycologia, [online] 111(3), 493-505. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00275514.2019.1581018

    2019 - View publication details

  5. Wingfield, B.D., Liu, M., Nguyen, H.D.T., Lane, F.A., Morgan, S.W., De Vos, L., Markus Wilken, P., Duong, T.A., Aylward, J., Coetzee, M.P.A., Dadej, K., De Beer, Z.W., Findlay, W., Havenga, M., Kolarík, M., Menzies, J.G., Naidoo, K., Pochopski, O., Shoukouhi, P., Santana, Q.C., Seifert, K.A., Soal, N., Steenkamp, E.T., Tatham, C.T., van der Nest, M.A., Wingfield, M.J. (2018). Nine draft genome sequences of Claviceps purpurea s.lat., including C. arundinis, C. humidiphila, and C. cf. spartinae, pseudomolecules for the pitch canker pathogen Fusarium circinatum, draft genome of Davidsoniella eucalypti, Grosmannia galeiformis, Quambalaria eucalypti, and Teratosphaeria destructans. IMA Fungus, [online] 9(2), 401-418. http://dx.doi.org/10.5598/imafungus.2018.09.02.10

    2018 - View publication details

  6. Demers, J.E., Liu, M., Hambleton, S., Castlebury, L.A. (2017). Rust fungi on panicum. Mycologia, [online] 109(1), 1-17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00275514.2016.1262656

    2017 - View publication details

  7. Liu, M., McCabe, E., Chapados, J.T., Carey, J., Wilson, S.K., Tropiano, R., Redhead, S.A., Lévesque, C.A., Hambleton, S. (2015). Detection and identification of selected cereal rust pathogens by TaqMan® real-time PCR, 37(1), 92-105. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07060661.2014.999123

    2015 - View publication details

  8. Liu, M., Hambleton, S. (2013). Laying the foundation for a taxonomic review of Puccinia coronata s.l. in a phylogenetic context. Mycological Progress, [online] 12(1), 63-89. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11557-012-0814-1

    2013 - View publication details

  9. Liu, M., Szabo, L.J., Hambleton, S., Anikster, Y., Kolmer, J.A. (2013). Molecular phylogenetic relationships of the brown leaf rust fungi on wheat, rye, and other grasses. Plant Disease, [online] 97(11), 1408-1417. http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-02-13-0152-RE

    2013 - View publication details

  10. Liu, M., Hambleton, S. (2012). Puccinia chunjii, a close relative of the cereal stem rusts revealed by molecular phylogeny and morphological study. Mycologia, [online] 104(5), 1056-1067. http://dx.doi.org/10.3852/11-251

    2012 - View publication details

  11. Liu, M., Hambleton, S. (2010). Taxonomic study of stripe rust, Puccinia striiformis sensu lato, based on molecular and morphological evidence. Fungal Biology, [online] 114(10), 881-899. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.funbio.2010.08.005

    2010 - View publication details

  12. Chaverri, P., Liu, M., 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, [online] 60 1-66. http://dx.doi.org/10.3114/sim.2008.60.01

    2008 - 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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