Shawkat Ali

Postdoctoral Fellows



Bld. 2, Lev. 3, Sea Side, WS-3231-WS17


Shawkat graduated in Agriculture and has a major in horticulture at Gomal University D.I.Khan (Pakistan). He holds a Master in Biotechnology from Quaid-i-Azam University (Pakistan), and completed his PhD in Biology (molecular plant pathology) at the University of British Columbia (Canada), in the lab of Guus Bakkeren. Before joining KAUST, Shawkat was a post-doctoral fellow in Peter Moffet’s lab at the University of Sherbrooke (Canada) and worked as an NSERC Visiting Scientist in Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC) in Canada. Shawkat is interested in understanding the role of signaling molecules in salinity, both in Arabidopsis and barley.

Research Interests

Understanding the role of signaling molecules in salinity tolerance, both in model plant Arabidopsis and crop plant tomato and barley.

Selected Publications

  • Analysis of Globodera rostochiensis effectors reveals conserved functions of SPRYSEC proteins in suppressing plant immune responses. S. Ali, M. Magne, S. Chen, N. Obradovic, L. Jamshaid, X. Wang, G. Bélair and P. Moffett. Front. Plant Sci. 6:623. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2015.00623, (2015)
  • Analysis of putative apoplastic effectors from the nematode, Globodera rostochiensis, and identification of an expansin-like protein that can induce and suppress host defenses. S. Ali, M. Magne, S. Chen, O. Côté, B. G. Stare, N. Obradovic, L. Jamshaid, X. Wang, G. Bélair and P. Moffett. PLoS ONE 10(1): e0115042. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0115042, (2015)
  • Conversion of BAC Clones into Binary BAC (BIBAC) Vectors and their Delivery into Basidiomycete Fungal Cells using Agrobacterium tumefaciens. S. Ali and G. Bakkeren. Methods in Molecular Biology. (Clifton, N.J.), vol. 1227, DOI 10.1007/978-1-4939-1652-8 (2015).
  • An immunity-triggering effector from the barley smut fungus Ustilago hordei resides in an Ustilaginaceae-specific cluster bearing signs of transposable element-assisted evolution. S. Ali, J. D Laurie, R. Lining, J. A. Cervantes-Chávez, D. Gaudet and G. Bakkeren.) PLoS Pathogens, 10 (7: Article number e1004223), (2014.
  • Genome comparison of barley and maize smut fungi reveals targeted loss of RNA silencing components and species-specific presence of TEs J. D. Laurie, S. Ali, R. Linning, G. Mannhaupt, P. Wong, U. M. Münsterkötter, R. Moore, R. Kahmann, G. Bakkeren and J. Schirawskie. The Plant Cell. 24 (5):1733-45, (2012).


  • 2011 PhD. Department of Botany, University of British Columbia Vancouver Canada, Supervisor: Dr. Guus Bakkeren. Thesis: Identification of effectors with avirulence functions in the pathogenic barley smut fungus, using marker-based approaches and comparison among genomes of related species.
  • 2004 M.Phil. Biology (Biotechnology): Department of Biological Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan, Supervisor: Dr. Bushra Mirza, Thesis: Micropropagation and transformation of rough lemon (Citrus jambhiri Lush.) with yeast halotolerant genes HAL1 and HAL2.
  • 2001 BSc. (Hons) Agriculture (Horticulture): Faculty of Agriculture, Gomal University D.I.Khan, Pakistan.

Professional Profile

  • January 2014-to-date, Post-doctoral Fellow, Dr. Mark Tester Lab: Center for Desert Agriculture, Division of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering, 4700 King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal KSA.
  • April 2013 - December 2013 Post Doctoral Fellows, Peter Moffett Lab: Department of Biology, University of Sherbrooke QC Canada, Project: Effecteromic of potato cyst nematode (Globodera rostochiensis) to understand the role of effectors in producing disease and to understand host immunity.
  • August 2011 - March 2013 Visiting Research Scientist, Peter Moffett and Guy Bélair Labs: Horticulture R & D Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 430, Boulevard Gouin St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec and Department of Biology, University of Sherbrooke, 2500 University Boulevard Sherbrooke, Quebec, J1K 2R1Canada and , J3B 3E6.
  • May 2006 - 2010 Research assistant, Molecular Plant pathology Lab. Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre Summerland, B.C Canada .
  • April 2011 - June 2011 Research assistant, Molecular Plant Biotechnology Lab. Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre Summerland, B.C Canada.
  • September 2005 -December 2005: Teaching Assistant, Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver Canada .
  • August 2003 - August 2005 Lecturer, Department of Biotechnology University of Malakand, Chakdara Lower Dir, Pakistan.

Scientific and Professional Membership

  • 2013- Present member of the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologist.
  • 2010- Present member of the Canadian Society of Plant pathology.
  • 2009- Present member of International Society of Molecular Plant Microbe Interaction.
  • 2007- Present member of American Society of Plant Biologists and Potany
  • 2004- Present member of National Curriculum Revision Committee - Higher Education Commission, Islamabad Pakistan.


  • FQRNT Postdoctoral Fellowship from Quebec Canada 2013
  • NSERC postdoctoral visiting fellowships in Canadian Government Laboratories Program, 2011-2013
  • PhD Tuition fee Award, from UBC Vancouver, 2005-2009
  • Gold Medal in B.Sc. (Hons) Agriculture, 2001
  • Merit based scholarship for B.Sc. (Hons)
  • PhD. Scholarships for Engineering & Sciences in Germany, Funded by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (The award was declined).

Research Interests Keywords

Salinity tolerance Signalling Genetic engineering