Michael Phillips

michael-phillips2 Academic Title: Assistant Professor

Campus: UTM (note: Currently recruiting PhD students)

CSB Appointment: Full

Primary Undergraduate Department:

Graduate Programs:
Cell & Systems Biology

Titles and Honors:Academic or Administrative Appointments:Education:
PhD Washington State University 2000
BSc California State University at Humboldt 1994


Mailing Address
Department of Biology
University of Toronto
3359 Mississauga Road
Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6


Contact Information
Office phone: 905-569-4848
Office: DV-4003
Lab: DV-4026
Lab phone:
Email: michaelandrew.phillips@utoronto.ca
URL: Plantmetabolism.blogspot.com


Research Areas

Chemical Biology
Cell Biology
Molecular Biology
Plant Biology
Quantitative Biology
Systems Biology

 My research focuses on the control of flux in plant metabolic networks.  This includes regulatory mechanisms which govern the division of fixed carbon between primary and secondary metabolic pathways as well as the adaptive responses of the plant metabolome to stress. Metabolic control analysis (MCA) is a mathematical framework which describes the distribution of control among the enzymes in a biosynthetic pathway, and my research uses direct, kinetic data obtained from whole plant isotopic labeling experiments to calculate MCA control coefficients of biosynthetic enzymes leading to isoprenoids and other high value plant metabolites. This quantitative description of plant metabolism relies on analytical techniques such as mass spectrometry and ultimately helps us understand the regulatory mechanisms controlling the flow of carbon through the complex web of metabolic pathways in plant cells. The response of plants to insect feeding stress, drought, or heat stress can be predicted and improved using the information produced in this research program. The factors controlling the biosynthesis of important biotechnological products derived from plants can also be identified to maximize the yield of valuable natural products, including medicines, biofuels, and essential vitamins in crops.



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Docimo, T., Davis, A.J., Luck, K. et al. Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult (2015) 120: 1061. doi:10.1007/s11240-014-0660-8

Phillips, M. A. *, Bohlmann, J., and Gershenzon, J. (2006) “Molecular regulation of induced terpenoid biosynthesis in conifers” Phytochemistry Reviews 5(1):79-189