Research Group: Plant Ecophysiology

Our research aims to understand the molecular regulation and evolution of plant metabolic pathways, providing fundamental knowledge for application to environmental, agricultural and biotechnological platforms. We achieve this by utilizing a full “omics” toolbox; from the glasshouse to the field.

Plants display incredible plasticity in their response to a changing environment. Under different environmental stimuli, plants shift their resource allocation between general and specialized metabolism. The interaction between general and specialized metabolism affects for plant performance, and impacts digestibility and toxicity. With temperatures and atmospheric conditions changing at unprecedented rates, this interaction must be understood to improve crop performance, and conserve wildlife systems.



  • Evolution, structure and function of plant YUCCA enzymes, and their specific role in mediating plant environmental stress resistance
  • Pathway discovery of genes involved in general and specialized metabolism, with a focus on the role of cytochromes P450 and flavin containing monooxygenases
  • Enzyme optimization by ancestral sequence reconstruction (ASR) for biotechnology
  • Integrated “omics” approach to understand the role and regulation of specialized metabolites in trees and shrubs (e.g. Eucalyptus, Empetrum) in response to environmental stress
  • Evolution of general and specialized metabolite pathways in ferns

For students wishing to work within these topics,. M.Sc. and B.Sc. projects are currently available. Please contact





  • Novo Nordisk Emerging Investigator “liftOFF! Optimizing Plant FMOs for Future Production” 2019-2024
  • DFF Project I “YUCCApro: Prevalence and origin of YUCCA multifunctionality” 2022-2024

  • DFF Sapere Aude Starting Grant “SuperYUCCA: YUCCA multifunctionality for improved crop resistance






Using a multi-disciplinary approach, our research has established an intricate interplay between plant general and specialized metabolism. We have demonstrated that plants exhibit a metabolic shift in chemistry in response to developmental and environmental change; in the glasshouse and in the field. The redirection of resources between general and specialized metabolism can improve plant growth and performance under adverse conditions. This metabolic shift, however, has significant consequences for plant toxicity and nutritional content, and downstream consequences on different trophic levels.

We have optimized analytical methods to separate and analyze complex plant mixtures. We are currently identifying key biosynthetic pathway members involved in the biosynthesis of different specialized metabolite classes, combining transcriptomic and proteomic analyses.








Group members

Name Title Phone E-mail
Annette Munch Nielsen Industrial PhD   E-mail
Delphine Marie Clémentine Pottier PhD Fellow +4535328053 E-mail
Joachim Møller Christensen PhD Fellow   E-mail

Master students

  • Mette Marie Toldam-Andersen
  • Anirudh Kulkarni (external, LUND)
  • Augustin Baussay (visiting, ERASMUS)

Contact research group leader

Elizabeth NeilsonElizabeth H. J. Neilson
Assistant Professor
Ph: +45 35 33 35 60