Karen Maxwell

Karen Maxwell

Associate Professor

BSc, University of Waterloo, 1995
PhD, University of Toronto, 2001
Postdoc, Ontario Centre for Structural Genomics, 2006

Address MaRS Centre, West Tower
661 University Ave., Suite 1600
Toronto, ON M5G 1M1
Lab Maxwell Lab
Lab Phone 416-946-7490
Office Phone 416-978-0872
Email karen.maxwell@utoronto.ca

Karen Maxwell completed her Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto, where she worked in Dr. Marvin Gold’s lab studying the assembly of bacteriophage lambda. Her postdoctoral work was done at the Ontario Centre for Structural Genomics where she led a project focused on phage structural genomics. She then moved on to a Research Associate position at the Donnelly Centre, University of Toronto before starting in the Department of Biochemistry as an Assistant Professor in 2016.

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In the News

Research Lab

The Maxwell Lab studies the interplay of bacterial viruses known as phages with their hosts.


Learn more: Maxwell Lab

Research Description

Bacteriophages and Human Health

Awards & Distinctions

2020 — John C. Polanyi Award The NSERC John C. Polanyi Award honours an individual or team whose Canadian-based research has led to a recent outstanding advance in the natural sciences or engineering.

Courses Taught

BCH2112 From chaperones to CRISPR-Cas: the incredible genius of phages
BCH374Y1 Research Project in Biochemistry
BCH473Y Advanced Research Project in Biochemistry


View all publications on PubMed

A phage-encoded anti-activator inhibits quorum sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Shah M, Taylor VL, Bona D, Tsao Y, Stanley SY, Pimentel-Elardo SM, McCallum M, Bondy-Denomy J, Howell PL, Nodwell JR, Davidson AR, Moraes TF, Maxwell KL.
Mol Cell. 2021 Feb 4;81(3):571-583  Read

A chemical defence against phage infection
Kronheim S, Daniel-Ivad M, Duan Z, Hwang S, Wong AI, Mantel I, Nodwell JR, Maxwell KL.
Nature. 2018 Dec;564(7735):283-286  Read

Inhibition of CRISPR-Cas9 ribonucleoprotein complex assembly by anti-CRISPR AcrIIC2
Thavalingam A, Cheng Z, Garcia B, Huang X, Shah M, Sun W, Wang M, Harrington L, Hwang S, Hidalgo-Reyes Y, Sontheimer EJ, Doudna J, Davidson AR, Moraes TF, Wang Y, Maxwell KL.
Nat Commun. 2019 Jun 26;10(1):2806  Read

Disabling a Type I-E CRISPR-Cas Nuclease with a Bacteriophage-Encoded Anti-CRISPR Protein
Pawluk A, Shah M, Mejdani M, Calmettes C, Moraes TF, Davidson AR, Maxwell KL
mBio. 2017 Dec 12;8(6):e01751-17  Read

Naturally Occurring Off-Switches for CRISPR-Cas9
Pawluk A, Amrani N, Zhang Y, Garcia B, Hidalgo-Reyes Y, Lee J, Edraki A, Shah M, Sontheimer EJ, Maxwell KL, Davidson AR
Cell. 2016 Dec 15;167(7):1829-1838  Read

Anti-CRISPR AcrIIA5 Potently Inhibits All Cas9 Homologs Used for Genome Editing
Garcia B, Lee J, Edraki A, Hidalgo-Reyes Y, Erwood S, Mir A, Trost CN, Seroussi U, Stanley SY, Cohn RD, Claycomb JM, Sontheimer EJ, Maxwell KL, Davidson AR
Cell Rep. 2019 Nov 12;29(7):1739-1746  Read

Phage Morons Play an Important Role in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Phenotypes
Tsao YF, Taylor VL, Kala S, Bondy-Denomy J, Khan AN, Bona D, Cattoir V, Lory S, Davidson AR, Maxwell KL
J Bacteriol. 2018 Oct 23;200(22):e00189-18  Read

A Broad-Spectrum Inhibitor of CRISPR-Cas9
Harrington LB, Doxzen KW, Ma E, Liu JJ, Knott GJ, Edraki A, Garcia B, Amrani N, Chen JS, Cofsky JC, Kranzusch PJ, Sontheimer EJ, Davidson AR, Maxwell KL, Doudna JA
Cell. 2017 Sep 7;170(6):1224-1233  Read

The Diverse Impacts of Phage Morons on Bacterial Fitness and Virulence
Taylor VL, Fitzpatrick AD, Islam Z, Maxwell KL
Adv Virus Res. 2019;103:1-31  Read