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Koch Lab


Research Summary

Our lab is probably best known for its research on sugar-responsive gene expression and the capacity for this process to alter the form and function of plants. Sugar availability provides pivotal cues for adjustment of genes affecting C and N allocation in plants. Of all the nutrients and hormones involved, sucrose remains the "lifeblood" of plants. This sugar occupies a truly central position in vascular transport, carbon partitioning within the plant, and as a source of sugar signals for responsive genes.

Our group thus focuses on genes that affect sucrose metabolism, its contribution to sugar signaling, and its partitioning to different end products. Particular attention is being directed toward maize kernel (fruit) development, cell-wall composition, and mechanisms of sugar transfer. Single-gene knockout mutants are being used to examine gene function.

Current projects are testing hypotheses for carbon-partitioning and gene expression in developing maize ovaries from floral differentiation to kernel harvest, and for the involvement of key genes in cell wall biosynthesis at strategic stages of development (e.g. root-hair and pollen-tube elongation, early phases of kernel differentiation, and growth of seedlings).

Research Publications

Lab Members

  • Current Lab Members
    • Karen E. Koch, Professor
    • Jonathan "Jono" Saunders, Biological Scientist
    • Jiahn-Chou Guan, Associate Research Professor
    • Maria Angélica Sanclemente, Ph.D. Student
    • Peng Liu, Ph.D. Student
    • Scott Fleishman, Undergraduate Intern
    • Sarah E. Joe, Undergraduate Intern
    • Lauren D. Bradley, Undergraduate Intern
  • Former Lab Members (Since 2000)

    Postdoctoral Associates

    • Fangfang Ma
    • Jiahn-Chou Guan
    • Charles “Chip” Hunter
    • Sylvia de Sousa
    • Chung-An Lu

    Ph.D. Students

    • Brent O’Brien
    • Charles “Chip” Hunter
    • Andrea Eveland
    • Li-Fen Huang
    • Song Xue
    • Yong Wu

    Undergraduate Interns

    • Mark Wissel
    • Catherine Cropsey
    • Stefanie Proulx
    • Jennifer Flick
    • Heather Miller
    • Jenny Ring
    • Charles “Chip” Hunter
    • Margaret Kellogg
    • Brent O’Brien
    • Stephanie O. Peacock
    • Nancy Miller
    • Mayrim Perez
    • Sarah Luciano
    • Nana Ama Ankumah
    • Tu-Van Le
    • Chris Mackey
    • Steven Samuels
    • Autumn Miller
    • Kearston Barnes
    • Jeremy Zinkowski
    • Christian Restrepo
    • Katrina de la Vega
    • Joseph Collins
    • Emeka Ibekwe
    • Pooja Reddy
    • Gabriella, Fernandez
    • Margaret Paxson
    • Henry Campos
    • Laura Morales
    • Lucas Paranhas
    • Amanda Costa
    • Stephanie Locke
    • Christy Johns
    • Ryan Cannon
    • Alec Tasi
    • Taylor Ruth
    • Brianne Conlon
    • Chloe Boutelle
    • Melissa Jaskiewicz
    • Isabel Branstrom
    • Harry Klein
    • Alex Boucher
    • Nicole Traugh
    • Kelsey Wyman
    • Jennifer Lundgren
    • Adriana DiMare