Alexander Foo

Alexander Foo

Assistant Professor
Campus Location
Nasso Family Science Centre Rm 3072/3020
(902) 867-5372/5344

BSc (Biochemistry): Queens University (2007-2011)
BSc (Education): Queens University (2011-2012)
PhD (Chemistry): University of Ottawa (2012-2017)
Postdoctoral Fellowship: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (2017-2022)


Molecular allergy: Do you or someone you know suffer from allergies? If so, you are in good company. Allergies - defined as an inflammatory immune response against otherwise harmless external stimuli (allergens) - afflict about 40% of the human population, and are correlated with a variety of other inflammatory disorders such as asthma and even susceptibility to respiratory viruses like COVID-19. Our research group is focused on understanding what causes allergies at the molecular level. Specifically, we want to study whether allergenic proteins are able to damage protective barriers within your body, and whether this damage serves to stimulate an immune response. This work will help us better understand the process through which people develop allergies at the molecular level, and design treatments to counteract these effects.

Stability of biological systems: Your body contains numerous protective barriers. For instance, the outer surface of the lungs are protected by a mucous coat, followed by a pulmonary surfactant monolayer and finally a layer of specialized epithelial cell. Each of these barriers has their own unique composition of proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. In order to study the impact of allergen exposure on the structure/function of these systems, our lab employs a variety of analytical chemistry and biophysical techniques such as solution-NMR, surface tensiometry and fluorescence spectroscopy. This is coupled with state-of-the-art microbiology and protein purification facilities which allow us to produce our allergenic proteins (using genetically-engineered bacteria), along with human tissue cells for our experiments.

Biomolecular research at StFX: Our expertise in structural biology (studying the structure/function of biological systems) has been used to support a host of other research projects in collaboration with other faculty at StFX. Examples include designing new and improved cryoprotectant compounds to better preserve tissues and other biological substances for transport, or studying how fish are able to use antimicrobial peptides to kill pathogenic bacteria.

Keywords: Biochemistry, Proteins, Lipid membranes, Enzyme catalysis, Immunology, Analytical chemistry


Our lab is currently looking to candidates for the following positions:

  • Undergraduate research assistant (part-time during the academic year, or full-time during the summer)
  • B.Sc Honours research students (academic year)
  • Masters (Msc) candidates

Please contact Dr. Foo (@email) for more information


Google Scholar: