Ehlting, Juergen

Assistant Professor


Phone number: (250) 472-5091
Department: Biology

Research description:

- Functional genomics of plant natural product biosynthesis
- Molecular genetics and genomics
- Shikimate and phenylpropanoid pathways
- Wood formation
Expertise Profile
A plant doesn't have to run and hide from a predator or a disease - they respond with chemical warfare.

Dr. Juergen Ehlting, assistant professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Victoria, studies plant natural products, the tiny chemicals that plants use to defend themselves.

These natural products, or secondary metabolites, fulfill a wide range of biological functions, most of which are still unknown. They interfere with the production of wood derived products such as paper and next generation biofuels. They are also employed by humans, for example as pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Ehlting applies the tools of functional genomics to better understand plant natural product pathways starting at the level of DNA.

His research focuses on poplar trees. He and his team are part of a consortium of researchers funded by Genome BC and Genome Canada aimed at eventually optimizing poplar wood as a feedstock for biofuel production.

Dr. Ehlting singles out candidate genes to study using bioinformatics, specially designed computer programs that sift through large-scale data sets of genes. He can even trace back the evolutionary history of just one gene by comparing it across many different plants and other organisms.

In his third year molecular genetics and genomics classroom, Dr. Ehlting doesn't use a textbook. Instead he provides the class with primary research papers on a variety of chosen topics.

The aim is to encourage students to not only think about a model in a textbook, but the hypotheses, experiments and conclusions that model was derived from. Dr. Ehlting hopes this approach makes students think more critically about what they read and inspires them to do research of their own one day.

Related Links
Dr. Ehlting's Faces of UVic Research video:

Dr. Ehlting's UVic Centre for Forest Biology profile:

International research:

Dr. Ehlting is involved in an international, collaborative research project funded by Genome BC and Genome Canada aimed at the genetic optimization of poplar trees as a feedstock for biofuel generation.



< Browse all experts