Membrane lipids play a myriad of structural, metabolic, and regulatory roles in plant growth and adaptation to stresses. Vegetable oils are not only major sources of calories and essential nutrients for humans, but also important feed stocks for biofuls and renewable industrial materials.
Research in Wang Lab is to discover and understand the signaling and regulatory processes that mediate plant stress response and oil production. The current study is focused on elucidating how membrane lipids and phospholipases function as cellular mediators. The work involves lipid-metabolizing enzyme/gene discovery, enzyme analysis, lipid/protein-protein interactions, quantitative metabolic profiling, genetic manipulation, and various functional genomics approaches.
The Lab is also interested in translating knowledge gained from the studies to improving plant oil and biomass production. Ongoing projects include studies to improve plant drought tolerance, plant response to nitrogen and phosphorus deficiency, and storage oil production.