Svetlana Yurgel

Associate Professor


Phone: 902.893.6003
Fax: 902.893.1404
Mailing Address: 
Faculty of Agriculture
P.O. Box 550
Truro, Nova Scotia
B2N 5E3
Research Topics:
  • Plant growth and development


Ph.D, Microbiology, National Research Institute for Agricultural Microbiology, St. Petersburg, Russia.

M.S, Biophysics, St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University, Russia

Graduate Student Opportunities

We are seeking motivated, self-driven M.S and PhD candidate to join our research program. Some of the projects are expected to be funded by the Nova Scotia provincial and NSERC programs. However, applicants able to bring their own research support will be given priority. A number of scholarships opportunities are available (see links below). In many cases an admission GPA of 3.70 is required for eligibility.


Teaching Responsibilities

MCRA 2000 - Microbiology
MCRA 3000 - Food Microbiology
AGRI 5230  - Directed Studies in Environmental Sciences
Certificate in Microbial Techniques (through ES)

Research Interests

Dr. Yurgel research is focused on the understanding the mechanisms of beneficial interaction between plants and microbial populations in soils. She is studying the nutrient exchange in rhizobium legume association and the factors affecting the efficiency symbiotic nitrogen fixation.  Her research program involves an examination of vitamin biosynthesis in α-proteobacteria and its role on bacteria-eukaryote interaction. She is also interested in the dynamic and function of soil microbial communities in natural and managed ecosystems. The goal of this research is to better understand the nature of plant growth promoting effects of soil microbes on plant health and fitness, which will promote the development of efficient and sustainable agricultural practice.

More Research


* Corresponding author
1.    Yurgel*, S.N., Y. Qu, J.T. Rice, J.N. Brown, M.S. Lipton, and M.L. Kahn. 2015. Metabolic specialization in a nitrogen-fixing symbiosis: proteome differences between Sinorhizobium medicae bacteria and bacteroids. J. Proteome Res. Re-submitted after revision.

2.    Frelin, O., L. Huang, D. Hasnain, J.G. Jeffryes, M.J. Ziemak, J.R. Rocca, B. Wang, J. Rice, S. Roje, J.F. Yurgel, S.N., Gregory, A.S. Edison, C.S. Henry, V. de Crecy-Lagard, and A.D. Hanson. 2015. A directed-overflow and damage-control N-glycosidase in riboflavin biosynthesis. Biochem J. 2015. 466:137-145

3.    Provorov, N., O. Onishchuk, S. Yurgel, O. Kurchak, E. Chizhevskaya, N. Vorobyov, T. Zatovaskaya, and B. Simarov. 2014. Engineering of highly-effective symbiotic bacteria for the sustainable crop production: evolutionary research provides a panel of genetic opportunities. Russ. J. Genetics. 50:1125-1136

4.    Yurgel*, S.N., J. Rice, E. Domreis, J. Lynch, N. Sa, Z. Qamar, S. Rajamani, M. Gao, S. Roje, and W. D. Bauer. 2014. Sinorhizobium meliloti flavin secretion and bacteria-host interaction: Role of the bifunctional RibBA protein. MPMI. 27:437-445.

5.    Yurgel, S.N., N. Sa, J. Rice and S. Roje. 2014. Assay for GTP Cyclohydrolase II Activity in Bacterial Extracts. Bio-protocols. 4.

6.    Yurgel, S.N., J. Lynch, J. Rice, N. Adhikari, and S. Roje. 2014. Quantification of Flavin Production by Bacteria. Bio-protocols.4.

7.    Yurgel*, S.N., J. Rice, M.L. Kahn. 2013. Transcriptome analysis of the role of GlnD/GlnBK in nitrogen stress adaptation by Sinorhizobium meliloti Rm1021. PLoS ONE. 8.

8.    Yurgel, S.N., M.W. Mortimer, J. Rice, J. Humann, M.L. Kahn. 2013. Directed construction and analysis of a Sinorhizobium meliloti pSymA deletion mutant library. Appl Environ Microbiol. 79:2081-2087.

9.    Yurgel*, S.N., J. Rice, M. Mudler, M.L. Kahn, V. Belova, M. Roumiantseva. 2013 Truncated betB2-144 plays a critical role in Sinorhizobium meliloti Rm2011 osmoprotection and glycine-betaine catabolism. Eur J Soil Biol. 54:48-55.

10.    Yurgel*, S.N., J. Rice, and M.L Kahn. 2012. Nitrogen metabolism in S. meliloti-alfalfa symbiosis: Dissecting the role of GlnD and PII proteins. MPMI. 25:355-362.

11.    Roumiantseva M.L., V.S. Belova, S.N. Yurgel, D. Rays, T.B. Rumyantseva, and B.V. Simarov 2011. Vitality of Sinorhizobium meliloti CIAM1775 in soils of different acidity. Proceedings of the International Conference on Agrobiology (Ulyanovsk). 20-24.

12.    Yurgel*, S.N., J. Rice, M. Mudler, and M.L. Kahn. 2010. GlnB/GlnK PII proteins and regulation of the Sinorhizobium meliloti Rm1021 nitrogen stress response and symbiotic function. J Bacteriol. 192:2473-2481.

13.    Becker, A, M.J. Barnett, D. Capela, M. Dondrup, P-B. Kamp, E. Krol, B. Linke, S. Rüberg, K. Runte, B.K. Schroeder, S. Weidner, S. Yurgel, J. Batut, S.R. Long, A. Pühler, and A. Goesmann. 2009. A portal for rhizobial genomes: RhizoGATE integrates a S. meliloti genome annotation update with postgenome data. J Biotechnology 140:45-50.

14.    Humann, J.L., H.T. Ziemkiewicz, S.N. Yurgel and M L. Kahn. 2009. Regulatory and DNA repair genes contribute to desiccation resistance in Sinorhizobium meliloti SM1021. Appl Environ Microbiol. 75:446-453.

15.    Yurgel*, S.N. and M.L. Kahn. 2008. A mutant GlnD nitrogen sensor protein leads to a nitrogen-fixing but ineffective Sinorhizobium meliloti symbiosis with alfalfa. PNAS. 105:18958-18963.

16.    Humann, J.L., B.K. Schroeder, M.W. Mortimer, B.L. House, S.N. Yurgel, S.C. Maloney, K.L. Ward, H.M. Fallquist, H.T. Ziemkiewicz and M.L. Kahn. 2008. Construction and expression of sugar kinase transcriptional gene fusions using the Sinorhizobium meliloti ORFeome. Appl Environ Microbiol. 74:6756-6765.

17.    Yurgel*, S.N., J. Berrocal, C. Wilson and M.L. Kahn. 2007. Pleiotropic effects of mutations that alter the S. meliloti cytochrome c respiratory system. Microbiol. 153: 399-410.

18.    Trainer M.A., S.N. Yurgel and M.L. Kahn. 2007. Role of a conserved membrane glycine residue in a dicarboxylate transporter from Sinorhizobium meliloti. J Bacteriol. 189: 2160-2163.

19.    Schroeder, B.K., B.L. House, M.W. Mortimer, S.N. Yurgel, S.C. Maloney, K.L. Warren, S.R. Long and M.L. Kahn. 2005. Developing a Functional Genomics Platform for Sinorhizobium meliloti: Constructing an ORFeome. Appl Environ Microbiol. 71: 5858-5864.

20.    Yurgel S.N. and M.L. Kahn. 2005. Sinorhizobium meliloti dctA mutants with partial ability to transport dicarboxylate acids. J Bacteriol. 187: 1161-1172. Article includes cover illustration.

21.    Yurgel*, S.N. and M.L. Kahn. 2004. Dicarboxylate transport by rhizobia. FEMS Microbiol Revs. 28: 485-501.

22.    Yurgel S.N., M.W. Mortimer, K.N., Rogers and M.L. Kahn. 2000. New substrates for the dicarboxylate transport system of Sinorhizobium meliloti. J Bacteriol. 182: 4216-4221.

23.    Zatiovskaia T.V., L.V. Kosenko, S.N. Yurgel and B.V. Simarov. 2000. LPS mutants of Sinorhizobium meliloti and their nodulation competitiveness. Mikrobiol Z. 62: 27-37.

24.    Sharypova L.A., S.N. Yurgel, M. Keller, B.V. Simarov, A. Puhler and A. Becker. 1999. The eff-482 locus of Sinorhizobium meliloti CXM1-105 that influences symbiotic effectiveness consists of three genes encoding an endoglycanase, a transcriptional regulator and an adenylate cyclase. Mol Gen Genet. 261: 1032-1044.

25.    Yurgel* S.N. and B.V. Simarov. 1999. Rhizobial electron transport chain and its genetic determination. Russ. J. Genetics 35: 101-109.

26.    Zatovskaya T.V., K.V. Ushakov, S.N. Yurgel, L.V. Kosenko, I.Y. Zakharova and B.V. Simarov. 1998. Tn5 mutants of Rhizobium meliloti with altered composition of polysaccharides and analysis of their symbiotic properties. Russ. J. Genetics 34: 606-611.

27.    Yurgel* S.N., L.A. Shatypova and B.V. Simarov. 1998. Mutations Tn5 of Rhizobium meliloti enhancing the redox potential of free-living cell and the effectiveness of their symbiosis with alfalfa. Russ. J. Genetics 34: 601-605.

28.    Yurgel* S.N., M. Soberon, L.A. Sharypova, J. Miranda, C. Morera and B.V. Simarov. 1998. Isolation of Sinorhizobium meliloti Tn5 mutants with altered cytochrome terminal oxidase expression and improved symbiotic performance. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 165: 167-173.

29.    Yurgel* S.N., L.A. Sharypova., L.A. Syrtsova, S.Y. Druzhinin, A.P. Sadkov and B.V. Simarov. 1996. Respiratory activity and symbiotic effectiveness in the nodule bacterium Rhizobium meliloti. Microbiol. (Russ) 65: 517-521.

Book Chapters

Schroeder, B.K., B.L. House, M.W. Mortimer, S.C. Maloney, C.A. Taylor, K.L. Ward, H.T. Ziemkiewicz, S. Clark, J.J. Bovitz, H. Jin, S. Yurgel, and M.L. Kahn. 2006. Analyzing a Sinorhizobium meliloti 1021 ORFeome in a functional genomic platform.  In Y-P Wang et al. (eds) Biological Nitrogen Fixation, Sustainable Agriculture and the Environment. International Nitrogen Fixation Meeting, Springer pp 127-128.

Yurgel SN, B.K. Schroeder, B.L. House, M.W. Mortimer, S.C. Maloney, C.A. Taylor, K.L. Ward, H.T. Ziemkiewicz, JJ Bovitz, H. Jin, and M.L. Kahn. 2006. Genomic and Genetic approaches to understanding the physiology of Sinorhizobium meliloti. In “Biology of Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions”, Volume 5, Eds: F Sanchez, C Quinto, I Lopez-Lara, and O Geiger pp 126-131. IS-MPMI Press St Paul.

Kahn M.L., B.K. Schroeder, B.L. House, M.M. Mortimer, S.N. Yurgel, S.C. Maloney, K.L. Warren, R.F. Fisher, M.J. Barnett, C. Toman and S.R. Long. 2004. Foraging for meaning—Postgenome approaches to Sinorhizobium meliloti. In “Biology of Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions”, Volume 4, Eds: B Lugtenberg, I Tikhonovich, and N Provorov pp 416-422. IS-MPMI Press, St Paul.

Invited Presentations

“Global proteome analysis of Sinorhizobium medicae–Medicago truncatula Jemalong A17 symbiosis: new approach and new insights” 21th North American Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation Conference, Minnesota, 2013.

"Sinorhizobium meliloti nitrogen stress response: role in Rhizobium–legume association" Northwest Branch of the ASM, Seattle, USA, 2012.

"Protein differences between rhizobial free-living and symbiotic lifestyles” 10th European Nitrogen Fixation Conference, Munich, Germany, 2012.

“Riboflavin biosynthesis in S. meliloti” All Russian Institute of Agricultural Microbiology, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2012

“GlnD and symbiosis: Control beyond the nitrogen stress response?” The 17th international congress on nitrogen fixation, Perth, Australia, 2011.

“The Rhizobium-legume symbiosis: Factors influencing effectiveness.” Idaho State University, 2011.
 “Sinorhizobium meliloti ORFeome tools: construction and analysis of a pSymA deletion mutant library.” 9th European Nitrogen Fixation Conference, Geneva, Switzerland, 2010.

“GlnB/GlnK PII proteins in regulation of the S. meliloti nitrogen stress response and mitrogen exchange in symbiosis.” The 16th international congress on nitrogen fixation, Montana, US, 2009.

“Nitrogen metabolism in the Sinorhizobium-legume symbiosis.” 8th European Nitrogen Fixation Conference, Ghent, Belgium, 2008.

“The Rhizobium-legume symbiosis: Factors influencing effectiveness.” Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, 2007.

“Role of GlnD protein in rhizobial nitrogen metabolism and symbiosis.” 20th North American Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation Conference, 2007.

“Genomic and Genetic approaches to understanding the physiology of Sinorhizobium meliloti.” 12th International Congress on Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, Merida, Mexico, 2005.

“Workshop – How to clone an ORFeom.” 19th North American Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation Conference, 2004.

“Symbiotic phenotype of Sinorhizobium meliloti dctA mutants.” 18th North American Conference on Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation, 2002

Awards and Honors

Recipient of SMB Special Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2013, School of Molecular Bioscience, Washington State University.
Recipient of a NSF sponsored Travel Award to attend the 20th North American Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation Conference, 2007.

Recipient of a NSF sponsored Travel Award to attend the International Symposium on the Comparative Biology of the Alpha-Proteobacteria, 2006.

Recipient of a CAMBIA scholarship, 12th International Congress on Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, 2005.

Recipient of a NSF sponsored Travel Award to attend the 19th North American Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation Conference, 2004.

11th International Congress on Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions Poster Competition, Second Place, 2003.