Vera Velasco, PhD

Vera Velasco

Vera Marjorie Elauria Velasco,
Postdoctoral Fellow

Davis building 4078
Department of Biology
University of Toronto Mississauga
3359 Mississauga Road
Mississauga, ON, L5L 1C6
Tel: +1 905 569 4988
Email: vera.velasco[at]


Research Areas:   

  • Comparative transcriptomics and physiology of heat and drought responses in the evergreen conifer Douglas Fir (Dr. Ensminger - PI, current)
  • Phosphorus efficiency traits in Arabidopsis relative extremophyte Eutrema salsugineum (Dr. Weretilnyk - PI, current)
  • Molecular and functional responses of Arabidopsis and Eutrema to phosphorus and sulfur deficiencies (Dr. Weretilnyk - PI, current)
  • Detection of stunt viroid in Chrysanthemum Shamrock Green tissue culture 
  • Genetic characterization of crop tree, Canarium ovatum   


PhD Plant Physiology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON

BSc Plant Genetics and Molecular Biology, University of the Philippines, Los Baños, Laguna


Acclimation of the crucifer Eutrema salsugineum to phosphate limitation is associated with constitutively high expression of phosphate starvation genes.  Plant, Cell and Environment (2016) 39: 1818-1834.

Genetic characterization of Pili (Canarium ovatum Engl.) from Albay, Camarines Norte, and Camarines Sur by isozyme analysis.  Philippine Journal of Science (2008)137: 115-125

Conference presentations:

Adaptations towards low phosphate soils: Insights from the extremophyte Eutrema salsugineum (aka Thellungiella salsuginea).  International Botanical Congress (2017). Shenzhen, China.

How do plants deal with low phosphate? Getting to the root of the problem. McMaster Undergraduate Student Research Awards (2016). Hamilton, ON. Canadian Society of Plant Biologists (CSPB) Eastern Regional Meeting (2016).  Hamilton, ON, Canada

Adaptation of Eutrema salsugineum to extreme abiotic conditions includes tolerance to low phosphate. CSPB and Canadian Association for Plant Biotechnology Meeting (2016).  Kingston, ON, Canada

Eutrema salsugineum: Extreme capacity for stress tolerance may involve modest capacity for change. CSPB Eastern Regional Meeting (2015).  Toronto, ON, Canada

Nutrient use by the extremophile Eutrema salsugineum: Doing the most with the least.  McMaster Biology Graduate Student Day (2015). Hamilton, ON, Canada

Phenotypic and gene expression responses of extremophile Eutrema salsugineum to phosphate limitation.  American and Canadian Society of Plant Biologists Meeting (2014). Portland, OR. McMaster Biology Graduate Student Day (2014). Hamilton, ON, Canada

Effects of low phosphate on the growth and gene expression of the extremophile plant Eutrema salsugineum. McMaster Biology Graduate Student Day (2013). Hamilton, ON, Canada

The effect of low phosphate conditions on the growth of the extremophile crucifer, Thellungiella salsuginea.  CSPB Eastern Regional Meeting (2012).  Waterloo, ON, Canada

Awards and Scholarships

2014 & 2016, The Biology Travel Scholarship, Biology Department, McMaster University 

2014 & 2016, George H. Duff Student Travel Bursary, CSPB

2014, Graduate School Association Travel Grant, McMaster University 

2013 to 2014,  School of Graduate Studies International Excellence Award, McMaster University 

2010 to 2017, McMaster Graduate Scholarship