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Candace Haigler


Williams Hall 4405


The research in the Haigler laboratory centers on cellulose synthesis and cotton fiber development. The fundamental new knowledge arising from our research is applicable to the production of next-generation value-added fiber and biomass crops through genetic engineering or marker-assisted selection.

Cellulose is the world’s most abundant renewable material, and it exists within plant cell walls as crystalline fibrils. These are formed by a membrane-associated protein complex that acts as a nanoscale fibril spinning machine. We are interested in filling in many gaps about how this fascinating and important natural manufacturing process is regulated by the cell. We use genetics and biochemistry to probe the structure and function of the cellulose synthesis complex. Our cellulose research is funded by the “Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation (CLSF)”, an Energy Frontier Research Center led by Dr. Daniel Cosgrove at Pennsylvania State University and funded by the US Department of Energy.

We study cotton fiber, the world’s most important natural textile fiber, to understand the controls of cellular morphogenesis and fiber quality. Each cotton fiber is a single seed epidermal cell that becomes about three centimeters long and thickens by depositing nearly 100% cellulose into its secondary cell wall. We are particularly interested in the cellular, molecular, and biochemical processes that allow high quality fiber to form in the less commonly grown Gossypium barbadense (Pima cotton). Our goal is transfer high quality fiber to the higher yielding G. hirsutum cotton. Our cotton fiber research is funded by Cotton Incorporated (Cary, NC).

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Ph.D. Botany University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 1982

B.A. Chemistry Wake Forest University 1978

Area(s) of Expertise

Cellulose Biology and Biotechnology


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