Guanqun(Gavin) Chen, PhD

Associate Prof & CRC2 in Plant Lipid Biotechnology, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Ag, Food & Nutri Sci Dept


Associate Prof & CRC2 in Plant Lipid Biotechnology, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Ag, Food & Nutri Sci Dept
410 Agriculture/Forestry Centre
9011 116 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2P5


Area of Study / Keywords

plant lipid biotechnology oilseed crop canola oleaginous microorganisms


PhD                   The University of Hong Kong

Selected Recent Awards and Honours

2023                   The C.D. Nelson Award in Plant Biology, Canadian Society of Plant Biologists 

2023                   Fulbright Scholar Award

2018 - present    Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Plant Lipid Biotechnology 


Using vegetable oils as a source of dietary lipids, renewable biomaterials and biofuels is increasing worldwide.  Increasing seed oil production is necessary to fulfill global demand and benefit Canada. Moreover, seed oils customized for specific markets would result in added value and diversification opportunities for oilseed producers. In addition, some microorganims such as certain microalgal and yeast species can accumulate high amount of lipids, fatty acids and other valuable bioproducts. However, efforts to improve oil yield and quality in seeds and microorganisms are limited by our inadequate knowledge about oil formation and the lack of effective biotechnology strategies.

I am interested in 

  • expanding our knowledge of storage lipid formation and acyl editing; 
  • increasing oil yield in plants and microorganisms;
  • producing pecialty oils and other high-value bioproducts in plants and microorganims via synthetic biology;
  • improving agronomic characteristics of oil crops (e.g. stress tolerance, seed yield and quality). 


Plants for Bioproducts (PL SC 345 & AFNS 545); Lipid Science (AFNS 414 & AFNS 514).


AFNS 545 - Plants for Bioproducts

This course will enable students to get a comprehensive understanding of the production and use of plant bioproducts. By the end, students will be able to properly outline the most recent research, development and production of certain plant bioproducts in written and oral presentations. The following contexts will be given special consideration in lectures: carbon cycle and human impacts, strategies for reducing our environmental footprint, and production and application of plant-based industrial materials. Students will also prepare a written overview on a given topic and then give an oral presentation about this topic in class. Not to be taken if credit received for PL SC 345. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

PL SC 345 - Plants for Bioproducts

Agronomy, breeding, biochemistry, biotechnology, and ecological issues related to production of plants for bioproducts. Topics selected from biodiesel, fuel ethanol, biolubricants, bioplastic, platform biochemicals, and starch and protein for nonfood applications. Prerequisite: BIOL 107, PL SC 221, or CHEM 164.

Browse more courses taught by Guanqun(Gavin) Chen

Featured Publications

Yang Xu, Stacy D. Singer, Guanqun Chen

Plant Biotechnology Journal. 2023 September; 10.1111/pbi.14027

Qiong Xiao, Xue Pan, Yang Xu, Stacy D. Singer, Guanqun Chen

The Plant Journal. 2023 August; 10.1111/tpj.16264

Guanqun Chen, John L. Harwood, M. Joanne Lemieux, Scot J. Stone, Randall J. Weselake

Progress in Lipid Research. 2022 November; 10.1016/j.plipres.2022.101181

Juli Wang, Yang Xu, Roman Holic, Xiaochen Yu, Stacy D. Singer, Guanqun Chen

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2021 August; 10.1021/acs.jafc.1c03256

Yang Xu, Elzbieta Mietkiewska, Saleh Shah, Randall J. Weselake, Guanqun Chen

Metabolic Engineering. 2020 November; 10.1016/j.ymben.2020.08.011

Yang Xu, Kristian Mark P. Caldo, Lucas Falarz, Kethmi Jayawardhane, Guanqun Chen

The Plant Journal. 2020 May; 10.1111/tpj.14708

Kristian Mark P. Caldo, Yang Xu, Lucas Falarz, Kethmi Jayawardhane, Jeella Z. Acedo, Guanqun Chen

Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2019 October; 10.1074/jbc.RA119.008047

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