Uwe Hacke, PhD


Agricultural Life and Environmental Sciences

Renewable Resources

About Me

Job/Research Area

Plant Biology


  • CD Nelson Award for outstanding research contributions to plant biology, Canadian Society of Plant Biologists (2013)
  • Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences - Teacher of the Year (2008)
  • Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Tree-Water Relations (2007-2016)


Major Responsibilities/Research Interests:

Lab mission: We study how plants transport water and sugars, and how they cope with abiotic stress.

My research interests: Vascular transport maintains all plant functions. Specific examples are the dependence of gas exchange on water supply, the dependence of growth on turgor pressure, and the need to transport sugars and signaling molecules throughout the plant body. In short, large organisms cannot exist without transport systems. If the organisms are long-lived, as trees are, then these transport systems must function over decades and centuries, time scales that may greatly surpass human life spans. Such transport systems must cope with environmental changes and adjust to the growth of the organism over time.

How should these transport systems function? How does their anatomy support their function? How do vascular systems develop? What are the challenges to transport? Cardiovascular diseases cause many problems for human health, and it turns out to be a similar situation for plants. Vascular transport in plants is responsive to abiotic stress, and that in return impacts growth and survival.

Drought and freezing are major research themes in my laboratory. We strive to learn how plants cope with different and variable climate conditions.

Research keywords:
  • xylem/wood
  • drought
  • tree rings
  • aquaporins
  • phloem
  • frost
  • plant abiotic stress


I teach courses on Introductory Plant Science and a Graduate Research Skills.