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Nadia Mykytczuk

Research Interests

My research interests combine aspects of microbiology, molecular biology, and environmental science with an emphasis on extreme and disturbed habitats and ecosystems. The microbial communities that occupy such sites harbour a range of physiological and biochemical characteristics useful for understanding the limits to life, biogeochemical processes in the environment, and in uncovering special metabolic properties with important applications in biotechnology and industry.  Within the context of extreme environments my work includes looking at microbial adaptation mechanisms both in terms of individual species and functional metagenomics/metaproteomics analyses of communities and their roles in these environments.

In probing individual species from extreme environments I have worked to identify and characterize unique adaptation mechanisms in acid mine drainage bacteria (i.e. Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans) and novel psychrophiles (i.e. Planococcus halocryophilus sp. nov). This work uses a comparative approach to assess the changes in cellular characteristics following cultivation under different conditions and tolerance limits. A combination of biophysical measurements of cell properties and molecular methods for determining changes in DNA and protein expression provide new means of understanding the metabolic and physiological traits required for survival under stressful conditions. These findings can be used to target industrially relevant characteristics (i.e. enhanced metal leaching ability, cold-active enzymes) within individual species.

At the community level very little is known about the diversity of natural microbial communities and the genetic potential contained within them. My current investigations of two High-Arctic saline spring ecosystems use a metagenomic approach to identify the community metabolic potential and decipher connections between environmental conditions and community level function.  Using high-throughput methods will provide unprecedented insight into microbial processes (e.g. carbon or sulphur metabolism) under extreme conditions.

Investigation of extreme environments uncovers biological solutions to various environmental challenges that can be applied to questions of practical and scientific interest.  For example, studies related to acid mine drainage bacteria are key to developing novel strategies and efficient techniques for in situ bio-mining/bioleaching and for bioremediation and restoration where conventional mining has been undertaken.  Comparatively little work has been done in this area even where mineral extraction has been long practiced (e.g. Sudbury, Ontario).  Canada’s vast mineral wealth and development potential depends on being able to mine efficiently and effectively in sensitive northern (boreal and tundra) environments while minimizing environmental impacts. My current and future work will look to understand the functional link between the geological/geochemical substrates and the metabolic abilities of the adapted microorganisms and microbial communities within extreme and disturbed environments, to identify novel mechanisms that can be used in better management strategies and industrial applications.


Publications (last 6 years)

Munford, K. E., Gilbert-Parkes, S., Mykytczuk, N. C. S., Basiliko, N., Yakimovich, K. M., Poulain, A., & Watmough, S. A. (2023). How arsenic contamination influences downslope wetland plant and microbial community structure and function. Science of The Total Environment, 876, 162839.

Watmough, S., Gilbert-Parkes, S., Basiliko, N., Lamit, L. J., Lilleskov, E. A., Andersen, R., del Aguila-Pasquel, J., Artz, R. E., Benscoter, B. W., Borken, W., Bragazza, L., Brandt, S. M., Bräuer, S. L., Carson, M. A., Chen, X., Chimner, R. A., Clarkson, B. R., Cobb, A. R., Enriquez, A. S.,Zahn, G. (2022). Variation in carbon and nitrogen concentrations among peatland categories at the Global Scale. PLOS ONE, 17(11).

Braga, L. P., Orland, C., Emilson, E. J., Fitch, A. A., Osterholz, H., Dittmar, T., Basiliko, N., Mykytczuk, N. C., & Tanentzap, A. J. (2022). Viruses direct carbon cycling in lake sediments under Global Change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(41).

Courchesne, B., Schindler, M., Lussier, A. J., & Mykytczuk, N. (2022). Macro- to nanoscale mineral relationships in surficial cobalt-arsenic-bearing mine tailings of the Cobalt Mining Camp, Northeastern Ontario, Canada. The Canadian Mineralogist, 60(2), 309–329.

Verbeke, B. A., Lamit, L. J., Lilleskov, E. A., Hodgkins, S. B., Basiliko, N., Kane, E. S., Andersen, R., Artz, R. R., Benavides, J. C., Benscoter, B. W., Borken, W., Bragazza, L., Brandt, S. M., Bräuer, S. L., Carson, M. A., Charman, D., Chen, X., Clarkson, B. R., Cobb, A. R., Chanton, J. P. (2022). Latitude, elevation, and mean annual temperature predict peat organic matter chemistry at a global scale. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 36(2).

Bear, S. E., Seward, J. D., Lamit, L. J., Basiliko, N., Moore, T., Lilleskov, E., Yavitt, J. B., Schadt, C. W., Smith, D. S., Mclaughlin, J., Siljanen, H., Mykytczuk, N., Williams, S., Roulet, N., Harris, L., Carson, M. A., Watmough, S., & Bräuer, S. L. (2021). Beyond the usual suspects: Methanogenic communities in Eastern North American peatlands are also influenced by nickel and copper concentrations. FEMS Microbiology Letters.

Munford, K. E., Asemaninejad, A., Basiliko, N., Mykytczuk, N. C., Glasauer, S., McGarry, S., & Watmough, S. A. (2021). Native plants facilitate vegetation succession on amended and unamended mine tailings. International Journal of Phytoremediation, 24(9), 963–974.

Courchesne, B., Schindler, M., & Mykytczuk, N. C. (2021). Relationships between the microbial composition and the geochemistry and mineralogy of the cobalt-bearing legacy mine tailings in Northeastern Ontario. Frontiers in Microbiology, 12.

Kirkwood, J. Adam., Roy‐Léveillée, P., Mykytczuk, N., Packalen, M., McLaughlin, J., Laframboise, A., & Basiliko, N. (2021). Soil microbial community response to permafrost degradation in Palsa fields of the Hudson Bay Lowlands: Implications for greenhouse gas production in a warming climate. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 35(6).

Munford, K. E., Casamatta, M., Basiliko, N., Glasauer, S., Mykytczuk, N. C., & Watmough, S. A. (2021). Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) nutrient resorption rates on nutrient-poor metal-contaminated soils and mine tailings. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 232(1).

Asemaninejad, A., Langley, S., Mackinnon, T., Spiers, G., Beckett, P., Mykytczuk, N., & Basiliko, N. (2021). Blended municipal compost and Biosolids Materials For Mine Reclamation: Long-term field studies to explore metal mobility, Soil Fertility and microbial communities. Science of The Total Environment, 760, 143393.

Seward, J., Carson, M. A., Lamit, L. J., Basiliko, N., Yavitt, J. B., Lilleskov, E., Schadt, C. W., Smith, D. S., Mclaughlin, J., Mykytczuk, N., Willims-Johnson, S., Roulet, N., Moore, T., Harris, L., & Bräuer, S. (2020). Peatland Microbial Community Composition is driven by a natural climate gradient. Microbial Ecology, 80(3), 593–602.

Gupta, V., Courtemanche, J., Gunn, J., & Mykytczuk, N. (2020). Shallow floating treatment wetland capable of sulfate reduction in acid mine drainage impacted waters in a northern climate. Journal of Environmental Management, 263, 110351.

Asemaninejad, A., Munford, K., Watmough, S., Campbell, D., Glasauer, S., Basiliko, N., & Mykytczuk, N. (2020). Structure of microbial communities in amended and unamended acid-generating mine wastes along gradients of soil amelioration and revegetation. Applied Soil Ecology, 155, 103645.

Yakimovich, K. M., Orland, C., Emilson, E. J., Tanentzap, A. J., Basiliko, N., & Mykytczuk, N. C. (2020). Lake characteristics influence how methanogens in littoral sediments respond to terrestrial litter inputs. The ISME Journal, 14(8), 2153–2163.

van Leeuwen, P., Mykytczuk, N., Mastromonaco, G. F., & Schulte‐Hostedde, A. I. (2020). Effects of captivity, diet, and relocation on the gut bacterial communities of white‐footed mice. Ecology and Evolution, 10(11), 4677–4690.

Munford, K. E., Watmough, S. A., Rivest, M., Poulain, A., Basiliko, N., & Mykytczuk, N. C. S. (2020). Edaphic factors influencing vegetation colonization and encroachment on arsenical gold mine tailings near Sudbury, Ontario. Environmental Pollution, 264, 114680.

Erdozain, M., Emilson, C. E., Kreutzweiser, D. P., Kidd, K. A., Mykytczuk, N., & Sibley, P. K. (2020). Forest management influences the effects of streamside wet areas on stream ecosystems. Ecological Applications, 30(4).

Magnuson, E., Mykytczuk, N. C. S., Pellerin, A., Goordial, J., Twine, S. M., Wing, B., Foote, S. J., Fulton, K., & Whyte, L. G. (2020). thiomicrorhabdus streamers and sulfur cycling in perennial hypersaline cold springs in the Canadian high arctic. Environmental Microbiology, 23(7), 3384–3400.

Orland, C., Yakimovich, K. M., Mykytczuk, N. C., Basiliko, N., & Tanentzap, A. J. (2019). Think global, ACT local: The small‐scale environment mainly influences microbial community development and function in Lake Sediment. Limnology and Oceanography, 65(S1).

Schmidt, E., Mykytczuk, N., & Schulte-Hostedde, A. I. (2019). Effects of the captive and wild environment on diversity of the gut microbiome of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus). The ISME Journal, 13(5), 1293–1305.

Asemaninejad, A., Arteaga, J., Spiers, G., Beckett, P., McGarry, S., Mykytczuk, N., & Basiliko, N. (2018). Blended pulp mill, forest humus and mine residual material Technosols for mine reclamation: A growth-chamber study to explore the role of physiochemical properties of substrates and microbial inoculation on plant growth. Journal of Environmental Management, 228, 93–102.

Yakimovich, K. M., Emilson, E. J., Carson, M. A., Tanentzap, A. J., Basiliko, N., & Mykytczuk, N. C. (2018). Plant Litter type dictates microbial communities responsible for greenhouse gas production in amended Lake Sediments. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9.

Orland, C., Emilson, E. J., Basiliko, N., Mykytczuk, N. C., Gunn, J. M., & Tanentzap, A. J. (2018). Microbiome functioning depends on individual and interactive effects of the Environment and Community Structure. The ISME Journal, 13(1), 1–11.

Emilson, E. J., Carson, M. A., Yakimovich, K. M., Osterholz, H., Dittmar, T., Gunn, J. M., Mykytczuk, N. C., Basiliko, N., & Tanentzap, A. J. (2018). Climate-driven shifts in sediment chemistry enhance methane production in Northern Lakes. Nature Communications, 9(1).

Schindler, M., Lussier, A. J., Principe, E., & Mykytczuk, N. (2018). Dissolution mechanisms of chromitite: Understanding the release and fate of chromium in the environment. American Mineralogist, 103(2), 271–283.

Doran, M. L., Mykytczuk, N., Bieniek, A., Methé, A., & Merritt, T. J. (2017). Evaluation of quenching and extraction procedures for performing metabolomics in Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. Metabolomics, 13(12).

Bobbie, C. B., Mykytczuk, N. C., & Schulte-Hostedde, A. I. (2017). Temporal variation of the microbiome is dependent on body region in a wild mammal (Tamiasciurus Hudsonicus). FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 93(7).

Tanentzap, A. J., Szkokan-Emilson, E. J., Desjardins, C. M., Orland, C., Yakimovich, K., Dirszowsky, R., Mykytczuk, N., Basiliko, N., & Gunn, J. (2017). Bridging between litterbags and whole-ecosystem experiments: A new approach for studying lake sediments. Journal of Limnology.

Emilson, C. E., Kreutzweiser, D. P., Gunn, J. M., & Mykytczuk, N. C. (2017). Leaf‐litter microbial communities in boreal streams linked to forest and wetland sources of dissolved organic carbon. Ecosphere, 8(2).