Dr Juan Vorster


Department of Plant Production and Soil Science

[email protected]


Plant Stress Responses 

Juan Vorster did his undergraduate degree in plant physiology and a M.Sc. in molecular biology at the University of Pretoria.  During his Ph.D. he spent more than a year conducting research in whole genome comparisons at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio (USA), before returning to the University of Pretoria to complete his PhD in 2008.

This was followed by a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Université Laval in Quebec City, Canada, focusing on recombinant protein expression as well as protein modelling and rational design of proteins for improved function.

In 2010 he was appointed in the Department of Plant Production and Soil Science at the University of Pretoria.  He is a NRF-rated Y2 scientist.





IRT-related research projects 

Juan currently leads the Molecular Plant Physiology group, working on plant development and stress resistance in plants, with specific emphasis on the role of cysteine protease and cysteine protease inhibitor (cystatin) complexes. Specific projects investigate cystatin/cysteine protease expression during development and stress in Soybean, and the role of plant cystatins in insect resistance  


Key Publications 

Khalf, M, Goulet, C, Vorster, J, Brunelle, F, Anguenot, R, Fliss, I, Michaud, D (2010) Compositional and proteomic analysis of transgenic potatoes expressing a Kunitz cathepsin D inhibitor from tomato. Plant Biotechnol J. 8: 155-169

Benchabane, M, Schluter, U, Vorster, J, Goulet, MC, Michaud, D (2010) Plant cystatins. Biochimie 92: 1657-1666

Schluter, U, Benchabane, M, Munger, A, Kiggundu, A, Vorster, J, Goulet, MC, Cloutier, C, Michaud, D (2010). Recombinant protease inhibitors for herbivore pest control: a multitrophic perspective. J Experiment Bot. 61: 4196-4183 


Published by Alacia Armstrong

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