Isabel Molina

Canada Research Chair in Plant Lipid Metabolism

Tier 2 - 2017-11-01
Renewed: 2023-07-01
Algoma University
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

Research involves

Using functional genomics, biochemistry, cell biology and microbial metabolic engineering approaches to uncover the biosynthesis, structure and functions of plant cell wall–associated lipids.

Research relevance

This research will inform the development of stress-tolerant plants and enable scientists to modify their traits, including germination and seed dormancy.

Research summary

Most plants have a protective layer of fats and oils on their surface—known as an extracellular lipid barrier—that protects them and helps prevent water loss. All plants with vascular tissues, or veins, depend on this barrier to interact with their environments and control the movement of water, solutes and gases.

As Canada Research Chair in Plant Lipid Metabolism, Dr. Isabel Molina is exploring the biochemical pathways that plants use to make the protective lipids that are deposited on their surface tissues. She and her research team are also investigating how the chemical composition and structure of extracellular lipids influence plants’ vital functions. They hope to learn more about how plants protect themselves—information that could be used to inform the development of more stress-tolerant plants as ecosystems around the world come under increasing strain.