Nik Kovinich received his Ph.D. in 2011 from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. His Ph.D. research focused on understanding the genetics and biochemistry of specialized metabolite biosynthesis in the seed coat of black soybean, and on engineering soybean metabolism to produce a visible color marker that could be used to identify genetically modified soybean grains. His postdoctoral studies at Ohio State University in the United States focused on understanding fundamental mechanisms of the transport of specialized metabolites in plants. In 2012, he was awarded a Pelotonia Postdoctoral Fellowship to investigate a novel approach for producing derivatives of anticancer drugs using a combination of semi-synthesis and metabolic engineering. In July of 2015, he joined West Virginia University at the rank of Assistant Professor to research how plants regulate the biosynthesis of phytoalexins, which are pathogen-inducible metabolites that have important roles in plant defense but also medicinal applications. He taught undergraduate- and graduate-level molecular genetics and bioengineering and has been nominated for several awards in mentoring students in research. In September of 2019, Dr. Kovinich joined York University in Toronto Canada as an Assistant Professor of Systems Biology. His current research focuses on understanding the gene regulatory networks that control phytoalexin biosynthesis and nanoparticle-based engineering of specialized metabolism in Cannabis sativa. He was recently awarded the Arthur Neish Young Investigator Award from the Phytochemical Society of North America. His research is currently funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA), and York University.
Genetics, Plant Biology, Metabolic Engineering