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Current Postgraduate Research Students

Jane Taylor supervises 1 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Professor Jane Taylor

Professor Emerita

Jane Taylor

LEC Building



Tel: +44 1524 593598

Research overview


Jane is a plant biologist with a particular interest in cell signalling. Cell signalling is the mechanism by which plants translate the information they gain from the environment, and turn it into a change in cellular processes and gene expression, so that they can positively adapt to their environment. In an era of climate change and extreme weather events it has never been more important to understand how plants respond to and cope with such events if we are to secure plant and crop production to feed an ever-growing global population. Jane is particularly interested in how plants protect themselves against pests and diseases and how we can harness the knowledge of natural plant defence systems to develop novel ways to protect crop plants.

Published research

With a career spanning nearly three decades Jane has a diverse publication record that charts her changing scientific interests over that time frame. Subjects covered include:  abscission, the process by which plants shed organs; cell signalling processes that underpin stomatal guard cell function; and more lately the role of the signalling compound, Jasmonic Acid, in the resistance by plants to pest attack.

Jane has received funding for her research from a range of funding bodies including:

  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • Biological and Biotechnological Science Research Council (BBSRC)
  • Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
  • Research Councils UK (RCUK)

Current Research

Jane’s is part of the Plant and Crop Science Research Group at the Lancaster Environment Centre. Her current research projects are focussed in two areas:

  • Priming of plant defence
  • Control of growth of Japanese Knotweed


At Lancaster University Jane is the University Dean for Academic Quality, and Director of the Institute for Curriculum Enhancement (ICE) (65%), and a member of Senate. Within the Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC) Jane is Deputy Director, and Director of the Graduate School for the Environment (35%).  

Jane is currently a member of the following external organisations


Jane's teaching is currently restricted to delivery of a Masters module on Crop Protection as part of an online professional development programme, co-designed and supported by Waitrose, entitled 'Food Challenges for the 21st Century'.



PhD supervision

a. Priming of plant defence
b. The role of volatile organic chemicals in plant defence
c. Novel methods for the early detection of plant biotic attack

Current Research

Research is focused on

Priming of plant defence

Jasmonic acid is a signalling compound that increases in plants in response to herbivore attack. My lab has shown that applying jasmonic acid to seeds can ‘prime’ the plants that subsequently grow and develop, enabling them to respond more effectively to biotic attack. Our current focus is to try to understand this priming process at the molecular level, using an array of molecular and biochemical techniques.


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