Joel T. Weadge graduated with his B.Sc. from the University of Guelph in 2000 and then went on to do his Ph.D. in Microbiology at the same institution under the tutelage of Professor Anthony Clarke. Following completion of his Ph.D. in 2006, Dr. Weadge then undertook a research fellowship appointment (2007-2008) with Dr. Monica Palcic in the enzymology research group at Carlsberg Laboratory in Copenhagen, Denmark. He then joined Dr. Lynne Howell’s lab as a postdoctoral fellow (2008-2011) in the Molecular Structure and Function program at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. In 2011, he took a position as Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at Wilfrid Laurier University. Dr. Weadge’s diverse research experiences in the structure-function characterization of carbohydrate esterases, acetyltransferases, glycosyltransferases and protein export apparati from a variety of carbohydrate systems (peptidoglycan, alginate, blood group antigens) form the basis for his group’s current research interests on cellulose, an exopolysaccharide found in bacterial biofilms. There are a growing number of bacteria recognized to produce cellulose-containing biofilms for the persistent colonization of a variety of surfaces (host and non-host). Included in this grouping are diarrheal disease causing agents (like E. coli and Salmonella spp.) and other emergent/opportunistic pathogens (species of Achromobacter, Bordetella, Pseudomonas, etc.) of humans, as well as plants and/or animals of economic importance. Through a combination of structure and function based approaches, Dr. Weadge’s group characterize proteins involved in aspects of synthesis, export and modification of cellulose by bacteria. Techniques involved in this process include protein purification, enzymology, mass spectrometry, X-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and more.
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