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About Sickkids
About SickKids

Lynne Howell, PhD

Research Institute
Senior Scientist
Molecular Medicine

University of Toronto
Department of Biochemistry

Chair Positions
Canada Research Chair
Structural Biology

Phone: 416-813-5378
Fax: 416-813-5022
Email: lynne.howell@sickkids.ca

For more information, visit:

Howell Lab

Brief Biography

  1. B.Sc. Biophysics, University of Leeds, UK (1983)
  2. PhD, Crystallography, University of London, UK, (1986)
  3. Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA (1986-1989)
  4. Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biology, Commissariat à L'Energie Atomique, Saclay, France. (1989-90)
  5. Chargé de recherche (1ère class), CNRS, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France. (1990-1991)

Research Interests

Protein structure and function & protein-based drug design
We are interested in the development of novel treatments for chronic microbial infections. Our research is currently focused on phenomena that are critical for biofilm development, a surface-attached matrix-embedded community of microbes that is found in 65-80% of these types of infections. Using a combination of structural biology, biochemistry and microbiology, our research seeks to understand at the molecular level: (i) how the virulence factor type IV pili (T4P), used by Pseudomonas aeruginosa to establish infections and for biofilm formation, is assembled; and (ii) how exopolysaccharides – the major component of the biofilm matrix in a range of microbial species – are synthesized, modified, and exported from the cell. We are currently working on the exopolysaccharides alginate, PEL and PSL from P. aeruginosa, poly-β-1,6-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine from Escherichia coli, and galactosaminogalactan from Aspergillus fumigatus.

Structure-function studies in our lab have led to the identification of several glycosyl hydrolases that are capable of both preventing biofilm formation and degrading preformed biofilms. These “CarboClipper” enzymes are effective at low nano-molar concentration and are being developed as combination therapies for the treatment of a range of chronic lung diseases including those associated with cystic fibrosis and invasive aspergillosis.

Full information on Dr. Howell's research activities and interests can be found on Dr. Howell's lab website.


For more detailed information on publications and current research activities, please visit the Howell Lab.

Intellectual Property

Three dimensional structure and crystal of a class I alpha 1,2-mannosidase and methods for use thereof.