Mutual admiration 

By Dawn Wiseman

Jim Uniacke Magnifying glass

Jim Uniacke

PhD graduate Jim Uniacke (Biology) and his advisor Bill Zerges clearly share a deep respect for each other’s work.

Zerges is impressed by Uniacke’s scientific achievements and publication record, substantial for a student and opening new areas of research.

Uniacke was drawn to Concordia by the “exciting and cutting edge” work being done in Zerges’ lab.

He credits his publication success, however, to “hard work, interest in what I was doing, the novelty of my project, a supportive work environment,” and Zerges’ guidance.

Uniacke’s work focused on increasing knowledge of compartmentalization in chloroplasts, the site of photosynthesis in plant cells. Compartmentalization within tiny intracellular structures, like the chloroplast, has a number of functions, among them: allowing chemical reactions to be separated; grouping together enzymes that work together to increase efficiency; maintaining a high concentration of molecules needed for chemical reactions

Using fluorescence microscopy, a relatively new method for viewing very small organic structures, Uniacke demonstrated that “the chloroplast is much more compartmentalized than previously thought.”

He also discovered two novel chloroplast compartments, one of which may have applications in development of more effective chemotherapy treatment.

He’ll be taking this new knowledge with him to the University of Ottawa next fall where Uniacke will conduct post-doctoral research on cancer cell biology in the hopes of finding novel therapies to prevent tumor progression.

Ultimately he hopes to obtain a “faculty position in a university and manage my own research lab,” where he can contribute not only through research but also by helping to train “a new crop of emerging researchers.”


Concordia University