Dr Kai Chan is a Lecturer at the ANU Research School of Biology.
Kai completed his PhD in plant sciences at ANU in 2015. After postdoctoral stints at ANU and at the VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology in Belgium as an FWO Research Fellow, Kai returned to ANU in 2022 as a Group Leader and ARC DECRA Fellow.
Kai’s research focuses on understanding the process of how different components of a plant cell communicate with one another to coordinate responses to environmental challenges.
The insights gained into these fundamental mechanisms feed into applied projects to engineer climate-resilient plants and novel solutions for sustainable food production. His research has led to the discovery of a “stress sensor alarm protein” in plant chloroplasts, and understanding of how this protein helps plants to close their leaf pores during drought. He is now developing designer compounds that can activate drought tolerance by targeting this protein when sprayed onto plants.
Kai’s media experience includes several TV and radio interviews with ABC News, Landline and Ten News covering his discoveries and awards (such as ACT Scientist of the Year 2017). His work has been covered in several news outlets and websites.