Dr. Mark A. Smith

Image Mark Smith
Research Scientist

Studying lipid metabolism in crop plants to improve yield, quality and sustainability of supply.

Current research and/or projects

Enhancing oil content and quality in Camelina sativa.

Understanding low temperature seed germination and seedling establishment in Canola.

Characterizing the composition and function of plant surface waxes.

Research and/or project statements

My team is investigating seed oil biosynthesis in the emerging oilseed crop Camelina sativa. The objective is to better understand how the oil is made and what factors control oil content, composition and yield. We are also developing a Fast Neutron mutagenesis population for Camelina sativa research.

My interest is also in plant surface waxes, their chemistry, synthesis and role in preventing water loss and defending against biotic stress such as insect or pathogen attack. The questions is, how can we help our crops better protect themselves from these stresses?

Additional projects are exploring the role of lipids in plant growth at low temperature, particularly seed germination in cold soils. 

Finally, I have always been interested in the diversity of seed oil composition. Plants are amazing chemists and wide range of fatty acids are known from different species. Some of these could be oleochemical feedstocks, nutraceuticals or even pharmaceuticals for the future. 

Education and awards

B.Sc. Biology, University of Bristol, UK.

Ph.D. Botany, University of Bristol, UK..

Research facility

107 Science Place
Saskatoon, SK S7N 0X2


Adjunct Professor, Department of Food and Bioproduct Sciences, College of Agriculture and Bioresources, University of Saskatchewan.

Member, American Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS)

Member, Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops (AAIC)