Professor Jane Taylor

Professor of Plant Science

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:

  • How plant produced volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) change in response to biotic and abiotic environmental stimuli and how these VOCs influence plant pest and predator behaviour (BBSRC-funded studentship)
  • A University wide RCUK-funded project that aims to develop a School-University Partnership (SUP) with schools in Cumbria to enthuse the next generation of researchers


Jane delivers teaching both for the Lancaster Environment Centre and for the Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences, in the Faculty of Health and Medicine at Lancaster. This includes lectures, workshops and practical teaching on:

Jane has contributed to a Massive Open Online Course in Food Security, and is the Co-Director of an online professional development programme, co-designed and supported by Waitrose, entitled 'Food Challenges for the 21st Century'.


Jane is currently a member of the

At Lancaster Jane is a member of University Council and within the Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC) she is Associate Director for Undergraduate Strategy and Admissions and Deputy Director.

Linnean Society Education Committee (External organisation)
Membership of committee

Newcastle University
Visiting an external academic institution

SEB Annual Main Meeting
Participation in conference

Elected Fellow of the Society of Biology
Election to learned society

University of Lancaster Commercialisation Prize
Prize (including medals and awards)

  • Improving global stewardship
  • Innovation for a better environment
  • Plant and Crop Science