Lynne Howell, PhD

Professor
Department(s): Biochemistry
Location: PGCRL Hospital for Sick Children
Email: howell@sickkids.ca

Our research activities are focused on understanding at the molecular and cellular level how exopolysaccharides – a major component of the biofilm matrix – are synthesized, chemically modified, and exported from the cell. The insights we have gained from our discovery research are now being used to develop novel strategies and treatments for bacterial and fungal biofilm related infections.

Selected publications

  1. Microbial glycoside hydrolases as antibiofilm agents with cross-kingdom activity. Snarr BD, Baker P, Bamford NC, Sato Y, Liu H, Lehoux M, Gravelat FN, Ostapska H, Baistrocchi SR, Cerone RP, Filler EE, Parsek MR, Filler SG, Howell PL, Sheppard DC. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Jul 3;114(27):7124-7129. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1702798114. Epub 2017 Jun 20
  2. Exopolysaccharide biosynthetic glycoside hydrolases can be utilized to disrupt and prevent Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. Baker P, Hill PJ, Snarr BD, Alnabelseya N, Pestrak MJ, Lee MJ, Jennings LK, Tam J, Melnyk RA, Parsek MR, Sheppard DC, Wozniak DJ, Howell PL. Sci Adv. 2016 May 20;2(5):e1501632. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1501632. eCollection 2016 May.
  3. Oligomeric lipoprotein PelC guides Pel polysaccharide export across the outer membrane of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Marmont LS, Rich JD, Whitney JC, Whitfield GB, Almblad H, Robinson H, Parsek MR, Harrison JJ, Howell PL. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Mar 14;114(11):2892-2897. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1613606114. Epub 2017 Feb 27.
  4. Gram-negative synthase-dependent exopolysaccharide biosynthetic machines. Low KE, Howell PL. Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2018 May 26;53:32-44. doi: 10.1016/j.sbi.2018.05.001. PMID: 29843050
  5. PgaB orthologues contain a glycoside hydrolase domain that cleaves deacetylated poly-β(1,6)-N-acetylglucosamine and can disrupt bacterial biofilms. Little DJ, Pfoh R, Le Mauff F, Bamford NC, Notte C, Baker P, Guragain M, Robinson H, Pier GB, Nitz M, Deora R, Sheppard DC, Howell PL. PLoS Pathog. 2018 Apr 23;14(4):e1006998. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006998. eCollection 2018 Apr. PMID: 29684093
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