Photo of Allyson Brady

Allyson Brady

Assistant Professor

Degrees:B.Sc. (Guelph), M.A. (Western), Ph.D. (McMaster)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 3002
Office:NB 246

Current Research

Microorganisms are the backbone of ecosystems, driving biogeochemical cycling, and represent a wealth of unexplored biodiversity. My research in microbial ecology aims to understand the interaction of biology and the Earth, with an emphasis on microbial environments with relevance to biotechnology and astrobiology. Microbes are widely recognized as having the ability to remediate pollutants and have the potential to play a key role in addressing pressing environmental needs. Microbes also represent the earliest forms of life on Earth and may have once existed on other habitable planets. Identification of biosignatures, or unambiguous signs of life, is key to the study of early Earth and for future planetary missions.

I use organic biomarkers (e.g. lipids) and natural abundance isotope analysis as tools to investigate microbial interactions, metabolism, and biodiversity in naturally occurring and human impacted extreme environments. Research outcomes enhance our understanding of fundamental ecosystem function, critical to developing innovative biotechnology applications, and inform astrobiology site selection through the characterization of associated biosignatures.

Selected Publications

Ford S, Engel K, Warr O, Lollar GS, Brady AL, Neufeld J, Sherwood Lollar B, Slater GF (accepted) Deep terrestrial indigenous microbial community dominated by Candidatus Frackibacter. Communications Earth and Environment

Brady AL, Andersen DT, Slater GF (2023) Biosignatures of in situ carbon cycling driven by physical isolation and sedimentary methanogenesis within the anoxic basin of perennially ice-covered Lake Untersee, Antarctica. Biogeochemistry doi:10.1007/s10533-023-01053-8

Slater GF, Goad CA, Lindsay MBJ, Mumford KG, Colenbrander Nelson TE, Brady AL, Jessen GL, Warren LA (2021) Isotopic and chemical assessment of the dynamics of methane sources and microbial cycling during early development of an oil sands pit lake. Microorganisms 9, 2509

Brady AL, Gibbons E, Sehlke A, Renner CJ, Kobs Nawotniak SE, Lim DSS, Slater GF (2020) Microbial community distribution in variously altered basalts: insights into astrobiology sample site selection. Planetary and Space Science

Brady AL, Goordial J, Sun HJ, Whyte L, Slater GF (2018) Variability in carbon uptake and (re)cycling in Antarctic cryptoendolithic microbial ecosystems demonstrated through radiocarbon analysis of organic biomarkers. Geobiology 16, 62-79.

Sharp CE, Urschel S, Dong X, Brady AL, Slater G, Strous M (2017) Robust, high-productivity phototrophic carbon capture at high pH and alkalinity using natural microbial communities. Biotechnology for Biofuels 10, 84 doi:10.1186/s13068-017-0769-1