Plant Systems Biology

view profile for Jenny Mortimer

Jenny Mortimer

Director of Plant Systems Biology

view profile for Yuan Zhang

Yuan Zhang

Post Doctoral Researcher

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Anne Villacastin

Post Doctoral Researcher

view profile for Hsiao-Han Lin

Hsiao-Han Lin

Post Doctoral Researcher

In the future, the range of bioproducts produced from plant biomass will be immense. The starting material, the polysaccharides and lignin of the plant cell wall, are complex. The goal of our lab is to understand polysaccharide biosynthesis, and use this knowledge to deliver optimized biomass for the bioeconomy. Our work focuses on sorghum (a biomass crop in the US), with some work in switchgrass, poplar and Arabidopsis (a model plant, which we use for initial experiments). We use a combination of systems and synthetic biology, protein functional characterization, and biophysics (solid state NMR) to explore polysaccharide biosynthesis at multiple scales. We are also interested in how alterations to the cell wall can affect plant-microbe-environment interactions.


  • Identifying and characterizing novel cell wall glycosyltransferases
  • Developing new methods for sorghum transformation and cell culture
  • Elucidating the nanoarchitecture of the cell wall using 13C labelling/multi-dimensional solid state NMR (EMSL project 60798)

Non-JBEI Projects

  • m-CAFEs SFA – using fabricated ecosystems to explore plant-microbe interactions across scales (led by Trent Northen and Adam Deutschbauer, LBNL)

Featured Publications

See Google Scholar profile for complete list.