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Christian Blouin

PhD (Dalhousie)

Professor (BIOC/CSCI); Academic Associate Dean (Computer Science)

Department member since 2003

Mona Campbell 4244
Lab Homepage


Protein Evolution and Folding

Research Areas

In my group, we are interested in protein evolution. More importantly we are interested in the relationship between protein biophysics and the purifying process. There is a large discrepancy between the random perturbation of DNA sequences and the observed course of evolution for protein encoding genes. This discrepancy has to be explained at the interface between protein biophysics and biological fitness. A better understanding of the evolutionary process provides useful information on protein folding and function, and vice-versa. Ultimately, modeling evolution impacts on the quality of maximum likelihood phylogeny inference. This has far-reaching implications on our understanding of life.

We are interested in integrating models of evolution and protein folding to:1.develop "post-genomic" methods and algorithms in bioinformatics, 2.study the theoretical aspect of protein evolution and folding, and 3.apply these methods to biological questions of interest via collaborative works.

We are also working in phylogenetics (modeling and optimization), statistical mechanics, machine learning and high-performance computing. We welcome biochemists, computer scientist and statistics students alike to join our multi-disciplinary effort.

Graduate Students

Simiao (Michelle) Lu PhD

Co-op Students

Khan Nguyen First

Lab Personnel

Asha Katz Research Assistant
Alexander Safatli Research Assistant


  1. Volkmann, G., Murphy, P.W., Rowland, E.E., Cronan, J.E., Jr., Liu, X.Q., Blouin, C., and Byers, D.M., (2010) Intein-mediated cyclization of bacterial acyl carrier protein stabilizes its folded conformation but does not abolish function. J. Biol. Chem. 285:8605-8614 [PubMed]
  2. Langelaan, D.N., Wieczorek, M., Blouin, C. and Rainey, J.K., (2010) Improved helix and kink characterization in membrane proteins allows evaluation of kink sequence predictors. J. Chem. Inf. Model. 50:2213-2220 [PubMed]
  3. Blouin, C., Perry, S., Lavell, A., Susko, E., Roger, A.J., (2009) Reproducing the manual annotation of multiple sequence alignments using a SVM classifier. Bioinformatics 23(25):3093-8 [PubMed]
  4. Liu, H., Blouin, C., Keslej, V. , (2009) Identifying Interaction Sentences from Biological Literature Using Automatically Extracted Patterns. Data & Knowledge Engineering 69(1):137-152
  5. Parks, D.H., Porter, M., Churcher, S., Wang, S., Blouin, C., Whalley, J., Brooks, S., Beiko, R. , (2009) GenGIS: A geospatial information system for genomic data. Genome Biology 19(10):1896-904 [PubMed]
  6. Hickey, G., Dehne, F., Rau-Chaplin, A., Blouin, C., (2008) SPR distance computations for unrooted trees. Evolutionary Bioinformatics 8:17-27 [PubMed]
  7. Jiang, H., Blouin, C., (2007) Insertions and the emergence of novel protein structure: a structure-based phylogenetic study of insertions. BMC Bioinformatics 15(8):444 [PubMed]
  8. Samuels, M.E., Higgins, B., Provost, S., Marcadier, J., Blouin, C., Bowman, S., Dube, M-P. , (2007) New Technologies in human genetic analysis. American Biotechnology Laboratory 25:22-28
  9. Jiang, H., Blouin, C., (2007) Ab Initio Construction of All-atom Loop Conformations. J Mol Modeling 21(2):221-8 [PubMed]
  10. Pepke, S.L., Butt, D., Nadeau, I., Roger, A.J. and Blouin C., (2007) Inferring Phylogenies by confidence set optimization. J Mol Evol 64(1):87-9 [PubMed]
  11. Blouin, C., Butt, D., Roger, A.J., (2005) The impact of taxon sampling on the estimatio nof rate of evolution at sites. Mol. Biol. Evol. 22(3):784-791 [PubMed]
  12. Siddiqi, F., Bourque, J.R., Jiang, H., Gardner, M., St. Maurice, M., Blouin, C., and Bearne, S.L.*, (2005) Perturbing the Hydrophobic Pocket of Mandelate Racemase To Probe Phenyl Motion during Catalysis. Biochemistry 44:9013-9021. [PubMed]
  13. Jiang, H., Blouin, C., (2005) Ab Initio Construction of All-atom Loop Conformations. J. Mol. Modeling. J. Mol. Modeling in press:
  14. Blouin, C., Butt, D., Roger, A.J., (2005) libcov: A C++ bioinformatic library to manipulate protein structures, sequence alignments and phylogeny. BMC Bioinformatics 22(3):784-791 [PubMed]
  15. Blouin, C. Butt, D. and Roger, A.J., (2004) Rapid evolution in conformational space: a study of loop regions in a ubiquitous GTP binding domain. Prot. Sci. 13(3):608-616 [PubMed]
  16. Blouin, C., Boucher, Y., and Roger, A.J., (2003) Inferring functional constraints and divergence in protein families using 3D mapping of phylogenetic information. Nucleic Acids Res. 31:790-797 [PubMed]
  17. Inagaki, Y., Blouin, C., Susko, E., and Roger, A.J., (2003) Assessing functional divergence in EF-1alpha and its paralogues in eukaryotes and archaebacteria. Nucleic Acids Res. 31:4227-4237 [PubMed]
  18. Susko, E., Field, C., Blouin, C. and Roger, A.J., (2003) Estimation of rates-across-sites distributions in phylogenetic substitution models. Syst. Biol. 52(5):594-603 [PubMed]
  19. Blouin C, Guillemette JG, Wallace CJ., (2002) Probing electrostatic interactions in cytochrome c using site-directed chemical modification. Biochem. Cell. Biol. 80(2):197-203 [PubMed]
  20. Blouin, C. and Wallace, C.J.A., (2001) Protein matrix and dielectric effect in cytochrome c. J. Biol. Chem. 276:28814-28818 [PubMed]
  21. Blouin, C., Guillemette, J.G., Wallace, C., (2001) Resolving the individual components of a pH-induced conformational change. Biophys J. 81(4):2331-2338. [PubMed]
  22. Bearne, S.L.*, and Blouin, C., (2000) Inhibition of Escherichia coli glucosamine-6-phosphate synthase by reactive intermediate analogues. The role of the 2-amino function in catalysis. J. Biol. Chem. 275:135-140. [PubMed]