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Kathryn Vanya Ewart

PhD (Memorial)


Department member since 1998



Proteostasis, Amyloid Formation and Cold Adaptation

Research Areas

1. Protein misfolding diseases

In cold ocean species, protein structures and protein environments have evolved in ways that favour native protein folding under variable and extreme conditions; the examination of protein stability under those conditions now offers new avenues to address human diseases. The faulty folding (misfolding) of proteins has emerged as an underlying cause of several neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. To date, there is no fully effective therapy for inhibiting or reversing protein aggregation in patients with protein misfolding diseases. Nonetheless, the structural features of cold-evolved proteins and small solution molecules of species adapted to Canada’s marine environments offer new means of studying, preventing and treating protein misfolding. Our team seeks to understand these marine protein adaptations, and thereby shine light on universal processes important in human health.

2. Product development research

When opportunities arise, we undertake studies to develop valuable co-products for sustainable resource development. For example, we have worked in cross-disciplinary teams to identify valuable bioactive components of marine processing waste. Our most recent work involved shrimp and fish processing co-products. /// When local health industry partners require assistance, we contribute individually or in teams to provide strategies and technical solutions that accelerate health-targeted research. Our most recent work involved amyloid beta 1-40 and 1-42 peptides.

Protein Misfolding Diseases, Protein Chemistry, Molecular Biology, Protein expression, Cold adaptation, Functional Genomics, Marine Sampling and Fieldwork, Ice Crystal Photomicroscopy

Graduate Students

Dane Sands MSc

Honours Students

Melissa Carsky Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (2019)


  1. Giffin, J.C., Richards, R.C., Craft, C., Jahan, N., Leggiadro, C., Chopin, T., Szemerda, M., MacKinnon, S.L. and Ewart, K.V., (2017) An extract of the marine alga Alaria esculenta modulates α-synuclein folding and amyloid formation. Neurosci. Lett. 644:87-93 [PubMed]
  2. Nair, S., Gagnon, J., Pelletier, C., Tchoukanova, N., Zhang, J., Ewart, H.S., Ewart, K.V., Jiao, G. and Wang, Y., (2017) Shrimp oil extracted from shrimp processing waste reduces the development of insulin resistance and metabolic phenotypes in diet-induced obese rats. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 31:1-9 [PubMed]
  3. Dubé, A., Leggiadro, C. and Ewart, K.V., (2016) Rapid amyloid fibril formation by a winter flounder antifreeze protein requires specific interaction with ice. FEBS Lett. 590:1335-1344 [PubMed]
  4. Jiao, G., Hui, J.P., Burton, I.W., Thibault, M.H., Pelletier, C., Boudreau, J., Tchoukanova, N., Subramanian, B., Djaoued, Y., Ewart, S., Gagnon, J., Ewart, K.V. and Zhang, J., (2015) Characterization of shrimp oil from Pandalus borealis by high performance liquid chromatography and high resolution mass spectrometry. Mar. Drugs 13:3849-3876 [PubMed]
  5. Uribe, E. Venkatesan, M., Rose, D.M. and Ewart, K.V. , (2013) Expression of recombinant Atlantic salmon serum C-type lectin in Drosophila melanogaster Schneider 2 cells. Cytotechnology 65:513-521 [PubMed]
  6. Uribe, E., Steele, T.J., Richards, R.C. and Ewart, K.V., (2013) Ligand and pathogen specificity of the Atlantic salmon serum C-type lectin. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1830:2129–2138 [PubMed]
  7. Giffin, J. and Ewart, K.V., (2013) Marine natural products for protein misfolding modulation. pp. 95-120 In: Using old solutions to new problems - Natural drug discovery in the 21st century. M. Kulka (ed.). InTech, Rijeka.:
  8. Hudson, D.M., Mattatall, N.R., Uribe, E., Richards, R.C. Gong, H. and Ewart, K.V. , (2011) Cystine-mediated oligomerization of the Atlantic salmon serum C-type lectin. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1814:283-289 [PubMed]
  9. Gong, H., Abbott, K., Driedzic, W.R. and Ewart, K.V., (2011) Chemical chaperoning action of glycerol on the antifreeze protein of rainbow smelt. J. Therm. Biol. 36:78-83
  10. Robinson, J.L., Hall, J.R., Charman, M., Ewart, K.V., Driedzic, W.R., (2011) Molecular analysis, tissue profiles, and seasonal patterns of cytosolic and mitochondrial GPDH in freeze-resistant rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax). Physiol. Biochem. Zool. 84:363-376 [PubMed]
  11. Richards, R.C., Short, C.E., Driedzic, W.R. and Ewart, K.V., (2010) Seasonal changes in hepatic gene expression reveal modulation of multiple processes in rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) Mar. Biotechnol. 12:650-63 [PubMed]