Research Summary

The Mohn lab studies diverse topics in microbial catabolism and ecology, using classical, molecular, genomic and metagenomic approaches. We are investigating bacterial degradation of organic compounds, including steroids and lignocellulose, elucidating the catabolic pathways and the responsible organisms within the context of complex microbial communities. We are also investigating interactions between the early-life gut microbiome and the developing immune system, determining how those interactions can lead to health or disease states, such as asthma. This research is relevant to the manufacture of bioproducts, environmental stewardship and human health.

Levy-Booth DJ, Hashimi A, Roccor R, Liu L, Renneckar S, Eltis LD, Mohn WW. 2020. Genomics and metatranscriptomics of biogeochemical cycling and degradation of lignin-derived aromatic compounds in thermal swamp sediment. ISME J,

Cait A, Cardenas E, Dimitriu P, Amenyogbe N, Dai D, Cait J, Sbihi H, Stiemsma L, Subbarao P, Mandhane PJ, Becker AB, Moraes TJ, Sears MR, Lefebvre DL, Azad MB, Kollmann T, Turvey SE, Mohn WW. 2019. Reduced genetic potential for butyrate fermentation in the gut microbiome of infants who develop allergic sensitization. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 144:1638-1647

Holert J, Cardenas E, Bergstrand L, Zaikova E, Hahn A, Hallam SJ, Mohn WW. 2018. Metagenomes reveal global distribution of bacterial steroid catabolism in natural, engineered and host environments. mBio, 9:e02345-17




• Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of British Columbia (since 1993)
• Co-founder and Co-Chief Scientific Officer, Microbiome Insights Inc. (since 2015)
• Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology (since 2017)
• Directorate Advisory Committee, Earth & Biological Sciences Directorate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy (2015-2021)
• Steering Committee and Research Group Leader, Life Sciences Institute, UBC (2005-2019)
• Murray Award for Career Achievement, Canadian Society of Microbiologists (2016)
• Board of Directors, International Society for Microbial Ecology (2009-2014)
• Editorial Board, Applied & Environmental Microbiology (2003-2012)
• Editorial Board, Microbial Ecology (2000-2009)
• The bacterium, Pseudomonas mohnii, was named “in honour of William Mohn, for his pioneering contributions” (Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 57:923-931, 2007)
• Adjunct Professor, Chem. & Chem. Eng., Royal Military College (1998-2006)
• Sabbatical, Centro Nacional de Biotechnologia CSIC, Madrid, Spain (2002-2003)
• Killam Research Prize (2002)
• Section Editor, Canadian Journal of Microbiology (1997-2002)
• Visiting Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa (1992-1993)
• Research Associate, National Research Council Canada, Ottawa (1990-1992)
• PhD, Microbiology, Michigan State University (1990)
• BA, Biology, Colgate University (1983)
• Non-academic interests: soccer, skiing, fishing, gardening


Murray Award for Career Achievement, Canadian Society of Microbiologists (2016)

Killam Research Prize (2002)

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