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Allison McDonald - Wilfrid Laurier University. Waterloo, ON, CA

Allison McDonald

Associate Professor of Biology | Wilfrid Laurier University

Waterloo, ON, CANADA

Expert in plant and animal physiology with a focus on how organisms make energy. Advocate for women and persons with disabilities in STEM.





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My research focuses on how organisms make energy in order to grow, repair, and reproduce. We study plants, animals, yeasts, and bacteria in my lab. We are most interested in the electron transport systems in mitochondria and chloroplasts. We are also doing work that will eventually contribute to the treatment of human mitochondrial diseases.
In addition to my research, I am a strong advocate for disabled scientists and women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Areas of Expertise (6)

Plant and Animal Physiology and Biochemistry

Bioenergetics (Mitochondria and Chloroplasts)

Human Mitochondrial Diseases and Disorders

Origin of Life and Endosymbiosis

Women in STEM

Working as a Disabled Scientist

Accomplishments (2)

Post-doctoral Fellow Research Grant, Canadian Society of Zoologists (professional)

I received $500 of funding to travel to do research at Stanford University in California.

NSERC Post-doctoral fellowship (professional)

I was awarded $40,000/year to conduct research at Western University from 2008-2010.

Education (3)

University of Toronto: Ph.D., Cell and Systems Biology 2007

Queen's University: M.Sc., Biology 2000

Queen's University: B.Sc. (Honours), Biology 1998

Affiliations (2)

  • Adjunct Faculty, Dept. of Biology, University of Waterloo
  • Member of the Centre for Women in Science, Wilfrid Laurier University

Languages (1)

  • English

Media Appearances (2)

Research Highlight

Wilfrid Laurier University  online


This interview highlights our paper published in the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes in Fall 2016. The work is related to advancing the treatment of mitochondrial diseases.

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Interview on the Distractingly Sexist Exhibit

CBC Kitchener  radio


I was interviewed on the Morning Edition about my participation in Eden Hennessey's Distractingly Sexist photo exhibit and spoke about gender discrimination in STEM professions and how it affects the women working in them.

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Event Appearances (3)

Equity in Science Panel (Moderator)

Biology Seminar Series  Wilfrid Laurier University


The control of reactive oxygen species generation by terminal oxidases.

Canadian Oxidative Stress Consortium  University of Guelph


Using blogging in a biology graduate course to evaluate learning.

Western Conference on Science Education  Western University


Research Grants (1)

Alternative oxidases of animals

NSERC $25,000/year


Current work in my lab focuses on investigating the enzyme alternative oxidase in animals. We are using molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology experiments to investigate how the enzyme works and is regulated. We suspect that it allows animals to deal effectively with environmental stresses.

Articles (1)

Research Budgeting for Scientists

University Affairs


University Affairs picked up one of my blog posts and republished it in their Career Advice column online.

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