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Michael W. Gray Molecular biologist

Michael Gray’s research has focused for four decades on the structure, function and evolution of mitochondria and ribosomes, the subcellular machines that generate energy and make proteins. His group contributed some of the earliest convincing molecular evidence that mitochondria are the descendents of a captured bacterium (endosymbiont). Over its evolutionary course, this bacterium gradually changed into an essential energy-generating organelle within the cells of animals, plants, fungi and single-celled organisms such as protozoa and algae.

Gray was a member of the first major genome sequencing initiative in Canada, the Organelle Genome Megasequencing Program (OGMP), and more recently served as project leader of a Genome Canada-funded large-scale genomics project, the Protist EST Program (PEP).


Elected Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology, 2013.

Canada Research Chair in Genomics and Genome Evolution, 2001-2008.

Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Academy of Science), 1996.

Boehringer-Mannheim Prize of the Canadian Biochemical Society, 1987.

Relevant Publications

M.W. Gray, "The mosaic nature of the mitochondrial proteome: implications for the origin and evolution of mitochondria," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., vol. 112, pp. 10133-10138, 2015.

M.W. Gray, "The pre-endosymbiont hypothesis: an updated perspective on the origin and evolution of mitochondria," Cold Spring Harb. Perspect. Biol. 6, a016097, 2013.

M.W. Gray, "Mitochondrial evolution," Cold Spring Harb. Perspect. Biol. 4, a011403, 2012.

J.E. Jackman et al, "Doing it in reverse: 3′-to-5′ polymerization by the Thg1 superfamily," RNA vol. 18, pp. 886-899, 2012.

M.W. Gray et al, "Irremediable complexity?" Science, vol. 330, pp. 920-921, 2010.



Advisory Committee Chair Integrated Microbial Biodiversity


Dalhousie UniversityDepartment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


PhD (Biochemistry) University of Alberta

BSc (Biochemistry) University of Alberta



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