Edwin A. Cossins
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Professor Emeritus
Mailing Address

Mailing address: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta,
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2E9
Email address: e.cossins@ualberta.ca
Fax address: (780) 492-9234

Academic Degrees


  • B.Sc.: Botany (1st Class Hons), University of London, U.K. (1958)
  • Ph.D.: Plant Biochemistry, University of London, U.K. (1961)
  • D.Sc.: Plant Biochemistry, University of London, U.K. (1981)
Areas of Involvement
  • Introductory Cell Biology
  • Introductory Plant Biology
  • Senior Undergraduate Cell Biology
  • Senior Undergraduate and Graduate level Plant Cellular and Molecular Biology


  • Graduate Program Coordinator, Department of Botany, 1992-1994
  • Associate Dean of Science, 1983-1988.
  • Committee Memberships related to research policy, research awards etc.
  Professional Activities
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada
  • Associate Editor, Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants
  • Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists (Past-Pres., Vice-Pres., Secretary.),
  • American Society of Plant Physiologists
  • Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists
  • NSERC Grant Selection Committee memberships, Doctoral Prizes Committee etc. Industrial consulting

Current Research Interests

  My research centers on the one-carbon metabolism of Neurospora crassa and various higher plant species. Our latest work is examining a number of tetrahydrofolate-dependent reactions that are of special importance in the biosynthesis of thymidylate, purines, serine and methionine. These investigations currently involve (a) the isolation and characterization of key enzymes, (b) the analysis of folate pools using high performance liquid chromatography, (c) the microbiological assay of folates, and (d) study of Neurospora mutants with lesions affect tetrahydrofolate biosynthesis. Our research group, in a collaborative project with Prof. Frank Nargang of this Department, is also examining the biosynthesis of polyglutamyl forms of tetrahydrofolate using cloned genes and recombinant DNA technology.
Selected Publications

Kirk, C.D., Chen, L., Imeson, H.C., and Cossins, E.A. (1995) A 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase:5,10-methenyltetrahydrfolate cyclohydrolase protein from Pisum sativum L. Phytochemistry 39, 1309-1317.

McDonald, D., Atkinson, I.J., Cossins, E.A., and Shane, B. (1995) Isolation of dihydrofolate and folylpolyglutamate synthetase activities from Neurospora. Phytochemistry 38, 327-333.

Atkinson, I.J., Nargang, F.E., and Cossins, E.A. (1995) Folylpolyglutamate synthesis in Neurospora crassa: transformation of polyglutamate-deficient mutants. Phytochemistry 38, 603-608.

Kruschwitz, H. L., McDonald, D., Cossins, E.A., and Schirch, V. (1994) 5-Formyltetrahydropteroylpolyglutamates are the major folate derivatives in Neurospora crassa conidiospores. J. Biol. Chem. 269, 28757-28763.

Wu, K., Cossins, E. A., and King, J. (1994). Folate metabolism in Datura innoxia: In vivo and in vitro folylpolyglutamate synthesis in wild-type and methotrexate-resistant cells. Plant Physiol. 104, 373-380.

Kirk, C. D., Imeson, H. C., Zheng, L., and Cossins, E. A. (1994). The affinity of pea cotyledon 10-formyltetrahydrofolate synthetase for polyglutamate substrates. Phytochemistry 35, 291-296.


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