Jennifer is a scientist with more than a decade's experience in identifying research needs in energy and shaping the energy research landscape at Stanford. Jennifer leads the Advanced Research Projects at the Precourt Institute for Energy, working with the Director of Precourt and other stakeholders to foster energy research to reduce greenhouse gases and enable the energy transition. In 2023, she joined the technology team of the Sustainability Accelerator, as a key team member tasked with identifying solutions with potential for real-world impact across broad sustainability challenges.

Jennifer is a technical resource for energy related and carbon removal projects across the University and an advisor in the bioenergy area - this foundational experience she gained during her time as an energy analyst with the Global Climate and Energy Project. Here, from 2007 onwards, she learned about energy supply, conversion, and exergy destruction. She led the bioenergy area of the portfolio and contributed more broadly to the development of a fundamental energy research portfolio across all energy areas. Prior to joining Global Climate and Energy Project she was a post-doctoral scholar at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Department of Plant Biology, at Stanford University. Jennifer comes from a biochemistry and plant science background, where she contributed to the discovery of the role of polysaccharides in guard cell wall function and holds a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of York, U.K. and a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry (First Class Honors) from the University of Stirling, U.K.

Education & Certifications

  • Ph.D., University of York, Biology (2001)
  • B.Sc., (First Class Honors), University of Stirling, U.K., Biochemistry (1997)

All Publications

  • Research priorities for negative emissions ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS Fuss, S., Jones, C. D., Kraxner, F., Peters, G. P., Smith, P., Tavoni, M., van Vuuren, D. P., Canadell, J. G., Jackson, R. B., Milne, J., Moreira, J. R., Nakicenovic, N., Sharifi, A., Yamagata, Y. 2016; 11 (11)
  • Simulating the Earth system response to negative emissions ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS Jones, C. D., Ciais, P., Davis, S. J., Friedlingstein, P., Gasser, T., Peters, G. P., Rogelj, J., van Vuuren, D. P., Canadell, J. G., Cowie, A., Jackson, R. B., Jonas, M., Kriegler, E., Littleton, E., Lowe, J. A., Milne, J., SHRESTHA, G., Smith, P., Torvanger, A., Wiltshire, A. 2016; 11 (9)
  • Biophysical and economic limits to negative CO2 emissions NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE Smith, P., Davis, S. J., Creutzig, F., Fuss, S., Minx, J., Gabrielle, B., Kato, E., Jackson, R. B., Cowie, A., Kriegler, E., Van Vuuren, D. P., Rogelj, J., Ciais, P., Milne, J., Canadell, J. G., McCollum, D., Peters, G., Andrew, R., Krey, V., Shrestha, G., Friedlingstein, P., Gasser, T., Gruebler, A., Heidug, W. K., Jonas, M., Jones, C. D., Kraxner, F., Littleton, E., Lowe, J., Moreira, J. R., Nakicenovic, N., Obersteiner, M., Patwardhan, A., Rogner, M., Rubin, E., Sharifi, A., Torvanger, A., Yamagata, Y., Edmonds, J., Cho, Y. 2016; 6: 42-50
  • Algal Technologies for Biological Capture and Utilization of CO2 Require Breakthroughs in Basic Research Symposium on Perspectives on Biofuels: Potential Benefits and Possible Pitfalls / 239th National Meeting of the American-Chemical-Society Milne, J. L., Cameron, J. C., Page, L. E., Benson, S. M., Pakrasi, H. B. AMER CHEMICAL SOC. 2012: 107–141
  • Mutations in UDP-Glucose:Sterol Glucosyltransferase in Arabidopsis Cause Transparent Testa Phenotype and Suberization Defect in Seeds PLANT PHYSIOLOGY DeBolt, S., Scheible, W., Schrick, K., Auer, M., Beisson, F., Bischoff, V., Bouvier-Nave, P., Carroll, A., Hematy, K., Li, Y., Milne, J., Nair, M., Schaller, H., Zemla, M., Somerville, C. 2009; 151 (1): 78-87


    In higher plants, the most abundant sterol derivatives are steryl glycosides (SGs) and acyl SGs. Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) contains two genes, UGT80A2 and UGT80B1, that encode UDP-Glc:sterol glycosyltransferases, enzymes that catalyze the synthesis of SGs. Lines having mutations in UGT80A2, UGT80B1, or both UGT80A2 and UGT8B1 were identified and characterized. The ugt80A2 lines were viable and exhibited relatively minor effects on plant growth. Conversely, ugt80B1 mutants displayed an array of phenotypes that were pronounced in the embryo and seed. Most notable was the finding that ugt80B1 was allelic to transparent testa15 and displayed a transparent testa phenotype and a reduction in seed size. In addition to the role of UGT80B1 in the deposition of flavanoids, a loss of suberization of the seed was apparent in ugt80B1 by the lack of autofluorescence at the hilum region. Moreover, in ugt80B1, scanning and transmission electron microscopy reveals that the outer integument of the seed coat lost the electron-dense cuticle layer at its surface and displayed altered cell morphology. Gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry of lipid polyester monomers confirmed a drastic decrease in aliphatic suberin and cutin-like polymers that was associated with an inability to limit tetrazolium salt uptake. The findings suggest a membrane function for SGs and acyl SGs in trafficking of lipid polyester precursors. An ancillary observation was that cellulose biosynthesis was unaffected in the double mutant, inconsistent with a predicted role for SGs in priming cellulose synthesis.

    View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.109.140582

    View details for Web of Science ID 000269522200007

    View details for PubMedID 19641030

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2735980

  • Identification of genes required for cellulose synthesis by regression analysis of public microarray data sets PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Persson, S., Wei, H. R., Milne, J., Page, G. P., Somerville, C. R. 2005; 102 (24): 8633-8638


    Coexpression patterns of gene expression across many microarray data sets may reveal networks of genes involved in linked processes. To identify factors involved in cellulose biosynthesis, we used a regression method to analyze 408 publicly available Affymetrix Arabidopsis microarrays. Expression of genes previously implicated in cellulose synthesis, as well as several uncharacterized genes, was highly coregulated with expression of cellulose synthase (CESA) genes. Four candidate genes, which were coexpressed with CESA genes implicated in secondary cell wall synthesis, were investigated by mutant analysis. Two mutants exhibited irregular xylem phenotypes similar to those observed in mutants with defects in secondary cellulose synthesis and were designated irx8 and irx13. Thus, the general approach developed here is useful for identification of elements of multicomponent processes.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.0503392102

    View details for Web of Science ID 000229807200043

    View details for PubMedID 15932943

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC1142401

  • A conserved functional role of pectic polymers in stomatal guard cells from a range of plant species PLANTA Jones, L., Milne, J. L., Ashford, D., McCann, M. C., McQueen-Mason, S. J. 2005; 221 (2): 255-264


    Guard cell walls combine exceptional strength and flexibility in order to accommodate the turgor pressure-driven changes in size and shape that underlie the opening and closing of stomatal pores. To investigate the molecular basis of these exceptional qualities, we have used a combination of compositional and functional analyses in three different plant species. We show that comparisons of FTIR spectra from stomatal guard cells and those of other epidermal cells indicate a number of clear differences in cell-wall composition. The most obvious characteristics are that stomatal guard cells are enriched in phenolic esters of pectins. This enrichment is apparent in guard cells from Vicia faba (possessing a type I cell wall) and Commelina communis and Zea mays (having a type II wall). We further show that these common defining elements of guard cell walls have conserved functional roles. As previously reported in C. communis, we show that enzymatic modification of the pectin network in guard cell walls in both V. faba and Z. mays has profound effects on stomatal function. In all three species, incubation of epidermal strips with a combination of pectin methyl esterase and endopolygalacturonase (EPG) caused an increase in stomatal aperture on opening. This effect was not seen when strips were incubated with EPG alone indicating that the methyl-esterified fraction of homogalacturonan is key to this effect. In contrast, arabinanase treatment, and incubation with feruloyl esterase both impeded stomatal opening. It therefore appears that pectins and phenolic esters have a conserved functional role in guard cell walls even in grass species with type II walls, which characteristically are composed of low levels of pectins.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s00425-004-1432-1

    View details for Web of Science ID 000228919700009

    View details for PubMedID 15578215

  • Toward a systems approach to understanding plant-cell walls SCIENCE Somerville, C., Bauer, S., Brininstool, G., Facette, M., Hamann, T., Milne, J., Osborne, E., Paredez, A., Persson, S., Raab, T., Vorwerk, S., Youngs, H. 2004; 306 (5705): 2206-2211


    One of the defining features of plants is a body plan based on the physical properties of cell walls. Structural analyses of the polysaccharide components, combined with high-resolution imaging, have provided the basis for much of the current understanding of cell walls. The application of genetic methods has begun to provide new insights into how walls are made, how they are controlled, and how they function. However, progress in integrating biophysical, developmental, and genetic information into a useful model will require a system-based approach.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/science.1102765

    View details for Web of Science ID 000225950000031

    View details for PubMedID 15618507

  • Cell wall arabinan is essential for guard cell function PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Jones, L., Milne, J. L., Ashford, D., McQueen-Mason, S. J. 2003; 100 (20): 11783-11788


    Stomatal guard cells play a key role in the ability of plants to survive on dry land, because their movements regulate the exchange of gases and water vapor between the external environment and the interior of the plant. The walls of these cells are exceptionally strong and must undergo large and reversible deformation during stomatal opening and closing. The molecular basis of the unique strength and flexibility of guard cell walls is unknown. We show that degradation of cell wall arabinan prevents either stomatal opening or closing. This locking of guard cell wall movements can be reversed if homogalacturonan is subsequently removed from the wall. We suggest that arabinans maintain flexibility in the cell wall by preventing homogalacturonan polymers from forming tight associations.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1832434100

    View details for Web of Science ID 000185685700108

    View details for PubMedID 13130074

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC208835