Shawn Mansfield

Forest Sciences/Botany


We use a combination of molecular biology, biochemistry, analytical chemistry and plant cell wall characterization techniques to elucidate the role of various biosynthetic pathways in the development, growth, chemistry and ultrastructure of secondary xylem formation in trees/plants. This involves systematically manipulating key genes in lignification and cellulose deposition, and examining the consequences for secondary cell wall biosynthesis. We are also pursuing a functional genomics investigation of sucrose metabolism in Populus, where we combine parallel chemical, biochemical and molecular approaches to define the key metabolites and genes involved in modulating sucrose biosynthesis and translocation, the generation and mobilization of starch, and the biosynthesis of oligomeric carbohydrates (e.g. raffinose, stachyose).

Areas of research include:

  • Tree biotechnology
  • Relationship between genes expression and phenotypic fibre characteristics
  • Plant Metabolism (Metabolomics)
  • Cell Wall Development
  • Cellulose Biosynthesis
  • Lignin Biosynthesis
  • Lignocellulosic chemistry and ultrastructure as it relates to wood quality
  • Fibre morphology and chemistry as related to the formation and properties of paper
  • Enzyme applications in the pulp and paper industry
  • Enzyme-substrate interactions