Patrick Horn | Department of Biological Sciences

Patrick Horn

Assistant Professor - Plant Biochemistry

Lab: LIFE B470

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Undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdocs are highly encouraged to contact Dr. Horn by email to inquire about openings in various projects aiming to study biochemical pathways for producing high value bioproducts, abiotic stress, membrane biology, and/or other topics that may be of mutual interest.



  • Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Biology and Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, 2018
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Biochemistry, University of North Texas, 2013
  • Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry, The University of Texas at Austin, 2008


Research Interests:

1. Identifying and Characterizing Enzymes in Plant Metabolism and Bioproduct Production:

The plant kingdom produces an amazingly chemically and functionally diverse set of metabolites that contribute to a plant’s survival, growth and development, defense, and selection. Identifying and characterizing all the genes, and their encoded proteins, that produce these metabolites and modulate their levels is a complex task that requires various techniques ranging from genetics to biochemistry to computational biology to omics and beyond. Our research focuses on identifying and characterizing proteins that produce high-value plant lipids (or oils) which are essential to plant growth and development, human health and nutrition (e.g., omega-3 fatty acids), and industrial feedstocks (e.g., biofuels, lubricants). This work targets both fundamental biochemical pathways using the model plant Arabidopsis as well crops important to the Texas economy, e.g., cotton, and plants that you may never have even heard of (e.g., Sterculic foetida). Students and personnel working on these structure-function projects will primarily learn and use genetic engineering, molecular biology, biochemical, and structural biology techniques.

2. Investigation of Plant Redox Processes in Photosynthetic Membranes:

There are numerous processes in plants (and humans for that matter) that rely on the balanced flow and utilization of electrons. This includes fundamental processes such as how plants harness the power of sunlight to make biomolecules, including lipids. However, at times the flow of electrons becomes unbalanced resulting in sick plants (and cancer/disease in humans). Understanding these processes will be important to engineer healthier plants in response to abiotic stress (e.g., high temperatures, drought, etc.) and is a major focus of our research lab. Students and personnel working on these projects primarily learn and utilize biochemistry, plant physiology, and genetics techniques.

3. Research Training and Improving Diversity in STEM:

I have been blessed with many learning opportunities throughout my career. Our lab strives to pay-it-forward by providing research opportunities from undergraduates to graduates to postdocs with an emphasis on underrepresented groups in STEM. We offer a range of research training opportunities for students that just want to give research a try to more rigorous, targeted training plans that prepare students for competitive research- and/or medical-based careers.


Selected Publications:

The following are the most recent publications:

  1. Hoh D, Horn P, Kanazawa A, Froehlich JE, Cruz J, Tessmer O, Hall D, Yin L, Benning C, Kramer, DM (2022). Genetically-determined variations in photosynthesis indicate roles for specific fatty acid species in chilling responses. Plant, Cell & Environment 45, 1682-1697.
  2. Armstrong NM, Spragley KJ, Chen WM, Hsu FC, Brewer MS, Horn PJ, Williams SR, Sale MM, Worrall BB, Keene KL (2021). Multi-omic analysis of stroke recurrence in African Americans from the Vitamin Intervention for Stroke Prevention (VISP) clinical trial. PLOS One. 16, e0247257.
  3. Horn PJ, Chapman KD, Ischebeck T (2021). Isolation of Lipid Droplets for Protein and Lipid Analysis. Plant Lipids: Methods and Protocols. Methods in Molec Biol 2295, 295-320. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-1362-7_16
  4. Horn, PJ (2021). Where Do the Electrons Go? How numerous redox processes drive phytochemical diversity. Phytochemistry Reviews, 20, 367-407.
  5. Horn PJ, Smith DM, Clark RT, Froehlich JF, and Benning C. PEROXIREDOXIN Q Stimulates the Activity of the Chloroplast 16:1Δ3trans Fatty Acid Desaturase FAD4 (2020). The Plant Journal 56, 2457-2464. doi:10.1111/tpj.14657.


Other publications of interest:

  1. Horn PJ and Benning C (2016). The plant lipidome in human and environmental health. Science 353: 1228-1232. doi:10.1126/science.aaf6206
  2. Horn PJ, Liu J, Cocuron JC, McGlew K, Thrower NA, Larson M, Lu C, Alonso AP, and Ohlrogge J (2016). Identification of multiple lipid genes with modifications in expression and sequence associated with the evolution of hydroxy fatty acid accumulation in Physaria fendleri. The Plant Journal 86, 322-348. doi:10.1111/tpj.13163
  3. Horn PJ, James CN, Gidda SK, Kilaru A, Dyer JM, Mullen RT, Ohlrogge JB, and Chapman KD (2013). Identification of a new class of lipid droplet-associated proteins in plants. Plant Physiology 162, 1926-1936. doi:10.1104/pp.113.222455
  4. Horn PJ, Korte AR, Neogi PB, Love E, Fuchs J, Strupat K, Borisjuk L, Shulaev V, Lee YJ, and Chapman KD (2012). Spatial mapping of lipids at cellular resolution in embryos of cotton. The Plant Cell 24, 622-636. doi:0.1105/tpc.111.094581 *Faculty of 1000 recommended *Featured In-Brief article by J.Mach in same issue.
  5. James CN*, Horn PJ*, Case CR, Gidda SK, Zhang D, Mullen RT, Dyer JM, Anderson RG, and Chapman KD (2010). Disruption of the Arabidopsis CGI-58 homologue produces Chanarin-Dorfman-like lipid droplet accumulation in plants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107, 17833-17838. doi:10.1073/pnas.0911359107 *Authors contributed equal to this work



  • United Stated Department of Agriculture- National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Elucidating Cyclic Fatty Acid Biosynthesis and Compartmentalization to Improve Cottonseed Value (PI Patrick Horn, East Carolina; Kent Chapman, Co-PI). 3/15/2022- 3/14/2025 (#2022-67013-36897).



Biochemistry I (4540/5540)