Dr. Kristin Baetz

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Dr. Kristin Baetz
Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology and Director of Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology

B.Sc. Queen’s University
Ph.D. University of Toronto
Post-doctoral Research University of British Columbia

Roger Guindon Hall, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa ON K1H8M5
Room 4510B (office), 4501M (lab)

Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 8592
Lab: 613-562-5800 ext. 8720

Work E-mail: kbaetz@uottawa.ca

Dr. Kristin Baetz

Biography

Highlights of Research Interests

Yeast functional and chemical genomics, chromosome stability, lysine acetyltransferases, transcription factors, cellulosic fermentation, identification of drug mode of action, proteomics

Research Interests

During evolution, there has been a high level of conservation between the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisae's cellular processes and those of mammalian cells. The advantages of using S. cerevisiae as a model system are multiple, including easy genetic manipulation and availability of several experimental tools for genetic, biochemical and molecular biology studies. Thus, S. cerevisiae has been the platform model organism for the development of genomic and systems biology techniques. The Baetz laboratory is developing and applying high throughput yeast chemical and functional genomic screening along with proteomics to three areas of research interest.

  1. Genetic and Molecular Basis of Chromosome Instability

    Funded by: Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, Ontario Government Early Research Award, NSERC Discovery Award.

    Scientists have found chromosome gain or loss in nearly all major human tumour types. Dr. Baetz's current research project involves developing and implementing yeast chemical and functional genomic screens in order to identify networks of proteins required for chromosome stability in S. cerevisiae. Once the proteins that are required for chromosome stability are identified, she and her research team uses traditional methods drawn from biochemistry and molecular biology to reveal the molecular mechanisms used by these proteins to prevent chromosome loss. Considering the conservation between yeast and human processes governing chromosome segregation, the Baetz laboratory's research with yeast will be of directly relevance to human cancer biology, and will provide new insights into the molecular mechanism of chromosomal instability.

    Presently the laboratory is focusing on the role of the lysine acetyltransferase NuA4 in chromosome stability and are developing new methods for identify its targets.   We are also attempting to decipher the role of the iron responsive transcription factor Aft1 at the kinetochore and the mechanism through which it impacts chromosome transmission fidelity.

  2. Chemical genomic approaches to decipher the biological impact of alkylacylglycerophosphocholine second messengers in Alzheimer’s disease.

    Funded by: CIHR Operating Grant and CIHR Training Program in Neurodegenerative Lipidomics.

    The Baetz laboratory exploits the cross-species conservation of biochemical pathway function between yeast and human cells to gain insights into the mode of action of various compounds. In particular the laboratory is exploiting  chemical genomic, proteomic and transcriptome approaches to decipher the biological pathways mediating the cellular effects of a series of alkylacylglycerophosphocholine species that have been associated with Alzheimer ’s disease progression.

  3. Improvement of industrial yeast strains used in cellulosic fermentation

    Funded byCellulosic Biofuels Network, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada Agriculture Bioproducts Innovation Program

    A major hurdle for the economic viability of the cellulosic biofuels industry is the improvement of industrial yeast strains to ferment five carbon sugars, like xylose, which represent up to 50% of the sugars in cellulosic feedstocks. A second hurdle is the development of robust strains which can tolerate the complex inhibitor mixes found in cellulosic biomasses.  The Baetz lab is apply an integrative systems biology approach to tackle both these problems with the aim of developing novel genetic strategies to improve the efficiency of industrial yeast to ferment a variety of cellulosic biomasses.

Are you interested in joining the Baetz Lab for your graduate or postdoctoral training?  Please send your CV to kbaetz@uottawa.ca

Select Publications

Fields of Interest

  • Yeast functional and chemical genomics
  • Chromosome stability
  • Lysine acetyltransferases
  • Transcription factors
  • Cellulosic fermentation
  • Identification of drug mode of action
  • Proteomics
  • Biochemistry
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