Eliana Gonzales-Vigil

faculty_img Academic Title: Assistant Professor


CSB Appointment:

Primary Undergraduate Department:
Biological Sciences, UTSC

Graduate Programs:
Cell and Systems Biology

Academic or Administrative Appointments:

PhD Michigan State University, 2009
BSc Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, 2000

Mailing Address
Department of Cell and Systems Biology,
University of Toronto,
1265 Military Trail,
Scarborough, Ontario,
M1C 1A4.


Contact Information
Office phone: 416-208-4857
Office: SW 567
Lab phone: 467-601-4462
Email: e.gonzalesvigil@utoronto.ca
URL: https://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/labs/gonzalesvigil/


Research Areas

Plant Biology

Functional Genomics
Molecular Biology
Systems Biology



Plant defence against invaders is largely mediated by an intricate chemical language of plant specialized (a.k.a. secondary) metabolites. These compounds have crucial roles in ecological interactions, for example, to deter invading pathogens or to recruit help from insectivores. However, we understand very little about the evolutionary origins of these metabolites, their role in nature, and the mechanism by which they exert toxicity or repellency. The long-term objective of the Gonzales-Vigil lab is to understand this biochemical response by exploring how plant specialized metabolites are made, how genes/enzymes specialize, and how an arms race between plants and their enemies leads to an escalation of metabolic diversity. An emphasis will be placed in understanding the role of specialized metabolites for the plant and the evolutionary forces that shape the acquisition of new traits. Addressing this question requires a systems biology approach that integrates genomics, proteomics and metabolomics with molecular biology and phenotyping platforms. For our research, we use the fantastic phenotypic diversity present in natural populations. Currently, we are exploring the natural variation in the lipids found in the cuticle of poplar trees.







Cellulose synthase complexes display distinct dynamic behaviors during xylem transdifferentiation. Watanabe Y, Schneider R, Barkwill S, Gonzales-Vigil E, Hill JL Jr, Samuels AL, Persson S, Mansfield SD. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Jul 3;115(27):E6366-E6374. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1802113115. Epub 2018 Jun 5.



Chemical Pulping Advantages of Zip-lignin Hybrid Poplar. Zhou S, Runge T, Karlen SD, Ralph J, Gonzales-Vigil E, Mansfield SD. ChemSusChem. 2017 Sep 22;10(18):3565-3573. doi: 10.1002/cssc.201701317. Epub 2017 Aug 24.pubmed
Exploiting Natural Variation to Uncover an Alkene Biosynthetic Enzyme in Poplar. Gonzales-Vigil E, Hefer CA, von Loessl ME, La Mantia J, Mansfield SD. Plant Cell. 2017 Aug;29(8):2000-2015. doi: 10.1105/tpc.17.00338. Epub 2017 Jul 20.pubmed



Engineering Monolignol p-Coumarate Conjugates into Poplar and Arabidopsis Lignins. Smith RA, Gonzales-Vigil E, Karlen SD, Park JY, Lu F, Wilkerson CG, Samuels L, Ralph J, Mansfield SD. Plant Physiol. 2015 Dec;169(4):2992-3001. doi: 10.1104/pp.15.00815. Epub 2015 Oct 28.pubmed



A root-expressed L-phenylalanine:4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate aminotransferase is required for tropane alkaloid biosynthesis in Atropa belladonna. Bedewitz MA, Góngora-Castillo E, Uebler JB, Gonzales-Vigil E, Wiegert-Rininger KE, Childs KL, Hamilton JP, Vaillancourt B, Yeo YS, Chappell J, DellaPenna D, Jones AD, Buell CR, Barry CS. Plant Cell. 2014 Sep;26(9):3745-62. doi: 10.1105/tpc.114.130534. Epub 2014 Sep 16.
Monolignol ferulate transferase introduces chemically labile linkages into the lignin backbone. Wilkerson CG, Mansfield SD, Lu F, Withers S, Park JY, Karlen SD, Gonzales-Vigil E, Padmakshan D, Unda F, Rencoret J, Ralph J. Science. 2014 Apr 4;344(6179):90-3. doi: 10.1126/science.1250161.



Determination of residues responsible for substrate and product specificity of Solanum habrochaites short-chain cis-prenyltransferases. Kang JH, Gonzales-Vigil E, Matsuba Y, Pichersky E, Barry CS. Plant Physiol. 2014 Jan;164(1):80-91. doi: 10.1104/pp.113.230466. Epub 2013 Nov 19.pubmed
Evolution of a complex locus for terpene biosynthesis in solanum. Matsuba Y, Nguyen TT, Wiegert K, Falara V, Gonzales-Vigil E, Leong B, Schäfer P, Kudrna D, Wing RA, Bolger AM, Usadel B, Tissier A, Fernie AR, Barry CS, Pichersky E. Plant Cell. 2013 Jun;25(6):2022-36. doi: 10.1105/tpc.113.111013. Epub 2013 Jun 11.



Striking natural diversity in glandular trichome acylsugar composition is shaped by variation at the Acyltransferase2 locus in the wild tomato Solanum habrochaites. Kim J, Kang K, Gonzales-Vigil E, Shi F, Jones AD, Barry CS, Last RL. Plant Physiol. 2012 Dec;160(4):1854-70. doi: 10.1104/pp.112.204735. Epub 2012 Oct 9.pubmed
Evolution of TPS20-related terpene synthases influences chemical diversity in the glandular trichomes of the wild tomato relative Solanum habrochaites. Gonzales-Vigil E, Hufnagel DE, Kim J, Last RL, Barry CS. Send toPlant J. 2012 Sep;71(6):921-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2012.05040.x. Epub 2012 Jun 22.



Adaptive evolution of threonine deaminase in plant defense against insect herbivores. Gonzales-Vigil E, Bianchetti CM, Phillips GN Jr, Howe GA. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Apr 5;108(14):5897-902. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1016157108. Epub 2011 Mar 21.



Stability of plant defense proteins in the gut of insect herbivores. Chen H, Gonzales-Vigil E, Wilkerson CG, Howe GA. Plant Physiol. 2007 Apr;143(4):1954-67.