Cheryl Patten



Bailey Hall 209

1 506 458 7599

Academic interests

  • Molecular plant-microbe interactions
  • Bacterial gene regulation
  • Bacterial biocontrol of forest pathogens

Brief biography

Dr. Cheryl Patten completed her PhD at the University of Waterloo in 2001 and post-doctoral research at McMaster University in 2004. She joined the UNB Biology Department in 2004. In addition to teaching microbiology and introductory biology courses and conducting molecular microbiology research, she coordinates the Biology Honours Thesis Program, and is a member of the UNB Institutional Biosafety Committee and the Science Atlantic Biology Committee.

Dr. Patten's research aims to understand the mechanisms by which beneficial soil bacteria enhance plant health. She and her graduate and undergraduate student researchers use genomic, genetic, and biochemical approaches to identify bacterial signalling molecules that mediate bacterial colonization of roots and stimulate plant growth. For example, they have determined that secretion of the plant hormone indoleacetic acid by some soil bacteria stimulates host root development and identified the transcription factor TyrR that regulates indoleacetic acid production in response to environmental signals. RNA sequencing revealed that TyrR controls other processes that facilitate colonization of the plant environment. Currently, they are investigating mechanisms by which plant growth-promoting bacteria avoid plant defense responses. In the long term, knowledge of the molecular basis for beneficial plant-bacterial interactions can be applied to increase yields of economically important plants.

Dr. Patten and her collaborators in Spain have isolated several soil bacterial strains that inhibit growth of fungal pathogens that cause substantial damage in pine forests. These bacteria show promise as a treatment to protect pine trees from root rot and needle blight diseases for which few other options are available.

Courses taught

  • BIOL1001 Biological Principles, Part I
  • BIOL3261 Microbiology
  • BIOL4302 Microbial Biotechnology
  • BIOL4090 Honours Thesis Project

Selected research

Harris, D.M., Berrué, F., Kerr, R., and Patten, C.L. 2018. Metabolomic analysis of indolepyruvate decarboxylase pathway derivatives in the rhizobacterium Enterobacter cloacae. Rhizosphere, 6: 98-111.

Glick, B.R. and Patten, C.L. 2017. Molecular Biotechnology: Principles and Applications of Recombinant DNA, 5th edition. American Society for Microbiology Press, Washington, D.C.

Mesanza, N., Iturritxa, E., and Patten, C.L. 2016. Native rhizobacteria as biocontrol agents of Heterobasidion annosum s.s. and Armillaria mellea infection of Pinus radiata. Biological Control, 101: 8-16.

Patten, C.L., Jeong, H., Blakney, A.J.C., and Wallace, N. 2016. Draft genomic sequence of a diazotrophic, plant growth-promoting rhizobacterium of the Pseudomonas syringae complex. Genome Announcements, 4:e01023-16.

Coulson, T.J.D. and Patten, C.L. 2015. The TyrR transcription factor regulates the divergent akr-ipdC operons of Enterobacter cloacae UW5. PLoS ONE, 10:e0121241.