Xue Pan

Assistant Professor



CSB Appointment


Primary Undergraduate Department

Department of Biological Sciences

Graduate Programs

Cell & Systems Biology

Research Description

Our research interests revolve around plant lipid synthesis, modification and signaling with the goal of developing innovative engineering strategies to enhance crop productivity and bio-oil yield/quality. In plants, lipids as energy storage compounds or as integral participants in signal transduction play especially vital roles for plant growth, development, and stress responses. In addition, plant storage lipids in the form of triacylglycerols have been widely used for food, feed, biofuels, and industrial applications. Despite their clear biological and economic importance, many fundamental questions about lipid synthesis and function remain unanswered. A deeper mechanistic understanding of lipid synthesis and function is necessary for downstream enhancement of crop productivity and functionality. Our research integrates advanced live cell imaging, cell biology, molecular genetics, biochemistry, evolutionary bioinformatics, and mathematical modeling to explore two aspects of plant lipid biology: (1) how plant cells use lipids to precisely construct nano-compartments at the plasma membrane to harness signaling, and (2) how their metabolism can be optimized to produce high-quality bio-oils. The ultimate goal of our research is to translate new mechanisms from fundamental research into economically important crops in Canada, such as canola, to improve their productivity and oil yield/ quality.

Contact Information

Office Phone: 416-287-7397
Office: SY 262

Mailing Address

Department of Cell & Systems Biology
University of Toronto
1265 Military Trail
Scarborough, ON M1C 1A4

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