Erika Plettner



  • B.Sc. & Ph.D. - Simon Fraser University
  • Postdoctoral Fellow - University of Toronto
  • Postdoctoral Fellow - University of Utah


  • American Chemical Society
  • Canadian Society of Chemistry
  • International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry
  • International Society of Chemical Ecology


Bio-Organic Chemistry

molecular recognition, binding protein, pheromone, olfaction, enzyme, monooxygenase

Pheromone olfaction in the gypsy moth.

The pheromone olfactory system in moths is one of the most sensitive detectors in nature. We are interested in studying proteins from the olfactory system that interact with the pheromone. This molecular interaction ultimately leads to odour discrimination and to the exquisite sensitivity of the olfactory system. In particular, we address the molecular recognition of stereochemical features of signal chemicals. In the long term, we are interested in designing pheromone mimics that will specifically interfere with pheromone olfaction. Such compounds could be used in pest control.

Cytochrome P450 in synthesis.

Cytochromes P450 are pigmented proteins that participate in many important metabolic processes, most of which involve oxidation of an organic substrate by dioxygen from air. Some cytochromes P450 catalyze the insertion of oxygen-containing groups into inert hydrocarbon structures, a reaction that is potentially very useful in laboratory synthesis. We are interested in the alteration of bacterial cytochromes P450, such that the new enzymes can be used with synthetically relevant non-natural substrates.


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