Professor Jill Farrant

Research Chair: Molecular Physiology of Plant Desiccation Tolerance

Professor Jill Farrant is a leader in the field of plant responses to water deficit stress (drought/desiccation tolerance), receiving international recognition for her research. She was the African/Arab States recipient of the 2012 L'Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science, one of only five scientists worldwide who were selected by an international jury as "researchers who will have a major impact on society and help light the way to the future". Subsequently, she has remained in the global forefront of drought tolerance and food safety. After holding the UCT Research Chair of Molecular Plant Physiology of Desiccation Tolerance for several years, she was awarded the NRF SARChI Chair in 2015 which she holds at the Molecular and Cell Biology Department at UCT.

The aim of her research is to gain a comprehensive fundamental understanding of the mechanisms of desiccation tolerance in vegetative tissues in order to make informed decisions as to what is required for improved water deficit tolerance in crops.  Thus molecular characterisation of key changes associated with DT is followed using an “omics” approach in which high-throughput technologies are used for identification of transcripts, proteins and metabolites associated with drying to various critical water contents, and recovery therefrom.