Dr. Lianne Gahan

Research Focus

Plants, ranging from agricultural and food crops to trees, are drastically impacted by climate change induced drought. Several factors of plant mortality due to drought have been identified. These include failure of the transpiration stream and hydraulics properties, and susceptibility to pests, both strongly relying on the properties of the secondary cell wall of xylem. In this project, we will develop a multi-scale modelling approach to understand how the microscopic biochemical and structural modifications of the secondary cell wall induced by drought impact the water transport in the xylem, and the recalcitrance to saccharification properties. We will first simulate the biosynthesis of the secondary cell wall using stochastic simulations before investigating the hydraulics of the system in the framework of mechanobiology, and performing plant cell wall degradation thanks to a previously developed model. Experimental data by collaborating partners will be systematically used to feed into the model and for comparison.