Sydne Guevara Rozo

PhD Candidate


Evaluating the role of mannan in cell wall recalcitrance.

Research Interests

Plant cell walls (lignocellulose) are targeted for specialty chemicals, including the production of ethanol and a variety of other products of industrial interest. However, the significant inherent recalcitrance of plant cell walls makes complete and effective processing a challenge.

Structural modifications of xylan, the major hemicellulose in angiosperms, positively affect cell wall deconstruction by interfering with xylan-cellulose-lignin interactions. In contrast, mannan, a major hemicellulose commonly found in gymnosperms (minor in angiosperms), that also interacts with cellulose and lignin, is still poorly understood, and its role in cell wall recalcitrance is largely unknown.

My research aims to elucidate the role(s) that mannan play(s) in cell wall stability and its subsequent industrial processing. I aim to study this by altering mannan content and structure, targeting different candidate genes involved in mannan biosynthesis, in Arabidopsis and poplar trees (Populus alba x tremula).


BSc – Biology, National University of Columbia (2015)

MSc – Forest Biology and Management, University of Alberta (2018)

Selected Publications and Presentations

Guevara-Rozo S, Hussain A, Cale JA, Klutsch JG, Rajabzadeh R, Erbilgin N. (2020). Nitrogen and ergosterol concentrations varied in live jack pine phloem following inoculations with fungal associates of mountain pine beetle. Front. Microbiol. 11:1703.

Hussain A, Classens G, Guevara-Rozo S, Cale JA, Rajabzadeh R, Peters B. R, and Erbilgin N. (2020). Spatial variation in soil available water holding capacity alters carbon mobilization and allocation to chemical defenses along jack pine stems. Environ Exp Bot. 171:103902.

Guevara-Rozo S, Classens G, Hussain A, and Erbilgin N. (2018). Short and long-term cold storage of jack pine bolts is associated with higher concentrations of monoterpenes and nutrients. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 49: 305–308.

Guevara-Rozo S, Hussain A, Cale JA, Klutsch JG, Rajabzadeh R, Erbilgin N. (2018). Ophiostoma montium provides a higher ergosterol concentration to mountain pine beetle compared to Grosmannia clavigera and Leptographium longiclavatum in jack pine phloem. Entomological Society of America, Vancouver, Canada. Oral Presentation.

Guevara-Rozo S, Hussain A, Cale JA, Klutsch JG, Rajabzadeh R, Erbilgin N. (2018). Ergosterol and nitrogen levels provided by ophiostomatoid fungi associated with the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) host tree colonization. 11th International Mycological Congress, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Poster Presentation.

Awards, Grants, Scholarships

  • Mary and David Macaree Fellowship, University of British Columbia (2019)
  • Four-year fellowship, University of British Columbia (2018)
  • Mary Louise Imrie Graduate Student Award, University of Alberta (2018)
  • National Program Initiation to Research, Creation and Innovation, National University of Colombia (2013-2015)
  • Scholarship Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP), Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) of Canada (2013)