Marina Cvetkovska


Marina Cvetkovska
Assistant Professor

Room: GNN 375
Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 6355
Work E-mail:


Research in the Cvetkovska Lab is centered on photosynthetic organisms. We currently work with green algae and we study how they respond and adapt to stress. Our favourite models is Chlamydomonas sp. UWO241, an unusual green alga that originates from the depths of the permanently ice-covered lake Bonney in Antarctica and is adapted to a host of extreme conditions (low temperatures, high salinity, extreme shading). We use a combination of molecular and computational biology to investigate how genes and proteins evolve and function in extreme environments, and how Antarctic algae respond to stress. Plants and green algae share many conserved cellular mechanisms, and we will use the insights from algae to devise strategies for improving stress tolerance in land plants.

Selected publications:

  • Kalra I., Wang X., Cvetkovska M., Jeong J., McHague W., Zhang R., Hüner N.P.A., Yuan J.S., Morgan-Kiss R. 2020. The Antarctic Chlamydomonas sp. UWO241 exhibits constitutively high cyclic electron flow and rewired metabolism under high salinity. Plant Physiology, 183 (2): 588-601
  • Smith D.R., Cvetkovska M., Hüner N.P.A. Morgan-Kiss R. 2019. Presence and absence of light-independent chlorophyll biosynthesis among Chlamydomonas green algae in an ice-covered Antarctic lake. Communicative & Integrative Biology, 12: 148-150
  • Szyszka-Mroz B*., Cvetkovska M*., Ivanov A.G., Smith D.R., Possmayer M., Maxwell D., Hüner N.P.A. 2019. Cold-adapted protein kinases and thylakoid remodeling impact energy distribution in an Antarctic psychrophile. Plant Physiology, 180 (3):1291-1309 (*Equal contribution)
  • Cvetkovska M., Orgnero S., Hüner N.P.A., Smith D.R. 2018. The enigmatic loss of light-independent chlorophyll biosynthesis from an Antarctic green alga in a light-limited environment. New Phytologist, 222: 651-656
  • Cvetkovska M., Szyszka-Mroz B., Possmayer M., Smith D.R., Hüner N.P.A. 2018. Characterization of photosynthetic ferredoxin from the Antarctic alga Chlamydomonas sp. UWO241 reveals novel features of cold adaptation. New Phytologist, 219: 588-604
  • Cvetkovska M., Hüner N.P.A., Smith, D.R. 2017. Chilling out: the evolution and diversification of psychrophilic algae with a focus on Chlamydomonadales. Polar Biology, 40: 1169-1184

Fields of Interest

  • Algae and plants
  • Abiotic stress
  • Photosynthesis
  • Chloroplast
  • Extremophiles
  • Antarctica
  • Protein structure and function
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