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Metabolically active cells in cannabis form a "supercell." (Jirawut Seepukdee) Researchers ID the high-efficiency hacks cannabis cells use to make cannabinoids

Originally published by UBC Science on August 2, 2022

For the first time, plant biologists have defined the high-efficiency “hacks” that cannabis cells use to make cannabinoids (THC/CBD). Although many biotechnology companies are currently trying to engineer THC/CBD outside the plant in yeast or cell cultures, it is largely unknown how…

Dr. Shawn Mansfield Welcome to Dr. Shawn Mansfield - the new Head of the Department of Botany!

The UBC Department of Botany is delighted to announce and welcome Dr. Shawn Mansfield as our new Head. He will begin his five-year term on July 1, 2022. 

Dr. Mansfield, Professor in the Faculty of Forestry and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, focuses his research on the molecular biology of plant cell wall development. He and his…

Seaweeds of BC Poster Way Cool Seaweeds of British Columbia: A Poster Project led by Bridgette Clarkston

Dr. Bridgette Clarkston, Associate Professor of Teaching, worked with the Beaty Biodiversity Museum to compile a poster depicting the seaweeds we see around our province. 

Clarkston was inspired to create the poster based on one she had as an undergraduate student. The original striking visual depiction of seaweed diversity was created…

Cross section of a Black Spruce (Picea mariana) tree. Occam’s tree: the simple way that trees and other plants move billions of tons of lignin

Article by the Samuels lab

Trees and other plants need strength to stand upright and move water effectively from their roots to their leaves. That strength comes from the cell walls that plant cells build around themselves as they grow. Cell wall material makes up most of the mass of plants. Trees that live for many years form more and…

harrower_et_al How would grasslands change in response to the loss of song birds and small mammals?

Article by Bill Harrower, Lauchlan Fraser and Roy Turkington

Grasslands of British Columbia's southern interior mountains provide stunning landscapes and host many of the provinces at risk species of plants and animals. Hot dry sagebrush and bunchgrass ecosystems occupy the valley bottoms and grade to the cool wet grasslands with…

Lindstrom_et_al Sequencing of historic and modern specimens reveals cryptic diversity in the red alga Nothogenia

Article by Sandra Lindstrom, Paul  Gabrielson, Jeff Hughey, Erasmo Macaya and  Wendy  Nelson.

This project is not something I ever envisioned.  How did someone who is interested in the biogeography and phylogeny of seaweeds occurring on the West Coast of North America end up leading a project that revised the taxonomy of a genus of…

Sanfacon How do interactions between plants and viruses influence symptom severity?

Article by Hélène Sanfaçon

Plant viruses can cause significant economic losses in cultivated plants by inducing visual symptoms that affect plant productivity.  However, there are also many viruses that co-exist with their hosts without inducing significant symptoms.  Symptom severity is determined not only by the ability of viruses to…

Xin Li article Preventing autoimmunity in plants

Article by Xin Li lab

Like animals, plants are constantly exposed to bacteria, viruses, and fungi that have the potential to cause diseases. To remain healthy plants possess a complex immune system which relies on immune receptors that are able to recognize pathogens and respond before an infection is established. If a pathogen is able…

Fig1_GaryOak Are Canada’s Species At Risk recovering?

Article by Bill Harrower, Jenny McCune, and Jeannette Whitton

National level endangered species laws are designed to prevent species from going extinct. Canada's endangered species law, the Species At Risk Act (or SARA), was enacted almost 13 years ago1. Associate Professor Jeannette Whitton led a group of 14 students and researchers…

Poplar The 'Engineering' Behind Hybrid Trees

Figure 1. Five years old Populus trichocarpa trees at Totem Field collection, UBC.

Article by Adriana Suarez-Gonzalez (Douglas lab)

If you are reading this article, then you survived your birth, acclimated to rainy and cold weather and have successfully battled a number of flu viruses. The same happens in trees, but because plants…