Lawrence Kawchuk, Ph.D.

Current research and/or projects

Current research projects focus on advances in sustainable crop production involving disease diagnostics and resistance; microbial characterization for plant health and the safety of the food system; and innovation enhancing economic performance and benefits for all stakeholders.



Research and/or project statements

  • Development of disease prevention strategies for horticultural crops, such as potato, that improve food safety and quality.
  • Characterize endemic food-borne pathogens and produce diagnostics that help protect health and the environment. 
  • Introduce new plant germplasm and varieties with disease resistance for sustainable increase in production and market expansion.

Professional activities / interests

Scientific Advisory Board, Fraunhofer Institute, Santiago, Chile.

Review Editor, frontiers in Plant Science, Plant Biotechnology.

Gates Foundation, Review Committee, Washington DC, USA.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Biotechnology Congress.

Education and awards

B.Sc. (Hons.) Botany, University of Manitoba, 1985

M.Sc. Botany, University of Manitoba, 1987

Ph.D. Plant Science, University of Britiah Columbia, 1990

NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship 1985-1990

OECD Research Fellow 1998

Gordon J. Green Award, Canadian Phytopathological Society, 2000

Endeavour Research Fellow 2009


International experience and/or work

Visiting Scientist, Max Planck Institute, DPMI, Cologne, Germany, 1998

Visiting Scientist, The University of Sydney, Department of Biological Sciences, Sydney, Australia, 2009


Key publications

David R. Horton, Navneet Kaurl, W. Rodney Cooper, Eugene Miliczky, Ismael E. BadilloVargas, Gabriella Esparza-Díaz, Arash Rashed, Timothy D. Waters, Carrie H. Wohleb, Daniel L. Johnson, Lawrence Kawchuk, and Andy S. Jensen. 2019.  Whence and whither the Convolvulus psyllid? An invasive plant leads to diet and range expansion by a native insect herbivore (Hemiptera: Triozidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 112: 249-264.

Fusaro, A.F., Barton, D.A, Nakasugi, K., Jackson, C., Kalischuk, M.L., Kawchuk, L.M., Vaslin, M.F.S., Correa, R.L., and Waterhouse, P.M. 2017. The luteovirus P4 movement protein is a suppressor of systemic RNA silencing. Viruses 9: 294.

Kalischuk, M.L., Hachey, J.E., and Kawchuk, L.M. 2015. Complete genome sequence of phytopathogenic Pectobacterium atrosepticum bacteriophage Peat1. Genome Announcements 3: Article e00760-15.

Kalischuk, M.L., Johnson, D.L., and Kawchuk, L.M. 2015. Priming with a double-stranded DNA virus alters Brassica rapa seed architecture and facilitates a defense response. Gene 557:130-137.

Hwang, Y.T., Kalischuk, M.L., Fusaro, A.F., Waterhouse, P.M., and Kawchuk, L.M. 2013. Small RNA sequencing of Potato leaf roll virus infected plants reveals an additional subgenomic RNA encoding a sequence-specific RNA-binding protein. Virology 438: 61-69.

Kalischuk, M.L., Al-Mughrabi, K.I., Peters, R.D., Howard, R.J., Platt, H.W., and Kawchuk, L.M. 2012. Genetic composition of Phytophthora infestans in Canada reveals migration and increased diversity. Plant Disease, 96: 1729-1735.

Fusaro, A.F., Correa, R.L., Nakasugi, K., Jackson, C., Kawchuk, L.M., Vaslin, M.F.S., and Waterhouse, P.M. 2012. The Enamovirus P0 protein is a silencing suppressor which inhibits local and systemic RNA silencing through AGO1 degradation. Virology 426: 178-187.

Groscurth, S., Müller, B., Schwan, S., Menzel, M., Diekstall, F., Senft, M., Kendall, A., Kommer, B. A., Neumann, U., Kalischuk, M.L., Kawchuk, L.M., Kryzanek, V., Heilmann, A., Stubbs, G., Twyman, R.M., Prüfer, D., and Noll, G.A. 2012. "Artificial forisomes are ideal models of forisome assembly and activity that allow the development of technical devices. Biomacromolecules 13: 3076-3086.

Kathiria, P., Sidler, C., Golubov, A., Kalischuk, M., Kawchuk, L. and Kovalchuk, I. 2010. Tobacco mosaic virus infection results in an increase in recombination frequency and resistance to viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens in the progeny of infected tobacco plants. Plant Physiology 153: 1859-1870.

Müller, B., Noll, G.A., Ernst, A.M., Rüping, B., Groscurth, S., Twyman, R.M., Kawchuk, L.M. and Prüfer, D. 2010. Recombinant artificial forisomes provide ample quantities of smart biomaterials for use in technical devices. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 88:689-698.

Jaag, H.M., Kawchuk, L., Rohde, W., Fischer, R., Emans, N. and Prüfer, D. 2003. An unusual internal ribosomal entry site of inverted symmetry directs expression of a potato leafroll polerovirus replication-associated protein. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100: 8939-8944.

Kawchuk, L.M., Hutchison, L.J., Verhaeghe, C.A., Lynch, D.R., Bains, P.S. and Holley, J.D. 2002. Isolation of the β-tubulin gene and characterization of thiabendazole resistance in Gibberella pulicaris. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology 24: 233-238.

Kawchuk, L.M., Hachey, J., Lynch, D.R., Kulcsar, F., van Rooijen, G., Waterer, D.R., Robertson, A., Kokko, E., Byers, R., Howard, R.J., Fischer, R., Prufer, D. 2001. Tomato Ve disease resistance genes encode cell surface-like receptors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 98: 6511-6515.

Prüfer, D., Kawchuk, L.M., Monecke, M., Nowok, S., Fischer, R. and Rohde, W. 1999. Immunological analysis of the potato leafroll luteovirus (PLRV) P1 expression identifies a 25 kDaRNA-binding protein derived via P1 processing. Nucleic Acids Research 27: 421-425.

Demeke, T., Kawchuk, L.M. and Lynch, D.R. 1993. Identification of potato cultivars and clonal variants by random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis. American Potato Journal 70: 561-570.

Kawchuk, L.M., Martin, R.R., and McPherson, J. 1991. Sense and antisense RNA-mediated resistance to potato leafroll virus in Russet Burbank potato plants. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 4: 247-253.


Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography, University of Lethbridge, 2019-2022

Honorary Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Universtity of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, 2009

Adjunct Professor, Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science, University of Alberta,1997-2000

Adjunct Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Lethbridge,1992-2015