Susan Lolle

Susan Lolle
Associate Professor Emeritus, Adjunct Faculty


Susan Lolle seeks to understand the fundamental genetic strategies plants use to aid their survival in changing environments. When running away isn’t an option, how do plants adapt to survive in a hostile environment?

By gaining insight into these plant-specific survival strategies her research can help improve crop adaptation to climate change and aid global food security efforts.

Plant epidermal cells play important roles in reproduction, growth and normal development. She and her research group are interested in understanding how epidermal cell fate is determined and how the epidermal state is maintained. They have used a genetic approach to identify a collection of loci in Arabidopsis thaliana that affect epidermal function and specifically modulate contact-mediated adhesion events. Collectively, these studies have helped establish a direct connection between the biological properties of the cuticle, cell adhesion and reproduction. Their genetic analyses have also uncovered an unexpected connection between increased genetic variation and a locus involved in aspects of epidermal development. Plants harboring lesions at this locus show genome-wide variation that can manifest as genetically discordant somatic sectors in single plants. Although the mechanism by which this genetic variation arises is unknown, if verified, the existence of such a mechanism would represent a significant paradigm shift in the field of genome biology.

Research Interests

  • Molecular Genetics
  • Plant Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Genomics
  • Bioinformatics, Systematics and Evolution
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Physiology, Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Climate Extremes and Food Production


  • 1987 Ph.D. Biology, McGill University, Canada
  • 1981 B.Sc. Honours Biology, Queen's University, Canada


  • 2013 Jack Carlson Award for Teaching Excellence
  • 2009-2010 Iowa State University ADVANCE Eminent Scholar


  • BIOL 120 - Introduction to Plant Structure and Function
    • Taught in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021
  • BIOL 225 - Plants and Civilization
    • Taught in 2019, 2021
  • BIOL 321 - Plant Anatomy and Morphogenesis
    • Taught in 2018, 2021
  • BIOL 499A - Senior Honours Project
    • Taught in 2020, 2021
  • BIOL 499B - Senior Honours Project
    • Taught in 2020, 2021
  • BIOL 669 - Plant Molecular Biology
    • Taught in 2018

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Espinosa, Katherine, Jessica Boelter, Susan Lolle, Marianne Hopkins, Susana Goggi, Reid Palmer, and Devinder Sandhu. (2015) Evaluation of spontaneous generation of allelic variation in soybean in response to sexual hybridization and stress. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 95(2):405-415. doi:10.4141/cjps-2014-324.
  • Hopkins MT, Khalid, AM, Chang P-C, Vanderhoek, KC, Lai D, Doerr MD & Lolle SJ. (2013) De Novo Genetic Variation Revealed in Somatic Sectors of Single Arabidopsis Plants. v2; ref status: indexed, [] F1000Research 2013, 2:5 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.2-5.v2)
  • Lolle, S.J, J.L. Victor, J.M. Young and R.E. Pruitt (2005) Genome-wide non-mendelian inheritance of extra-genomic information in Arabidopsis.Nature 434: 505-509.

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