Dr. John Stanga

Assistant Professor of Biology

EducationDr. John Stanga

  • B.A., Biology and Spanish, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Ph.D., Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Genetics; Molecular Biology

Research Interest

Plants are sessile; as such the ability of a plant to sense and respond to its changing environment is essential for its survival. Plants are able to coordinate growth in response to very specific stimuli. For example, a compound that occurs in smoke, called karrikin, promotes seed germination and developmental changes in Arabidopsis as well as several other species. My current research aims to understand the molecular mechanisms by which Arabidopsis responds to the presence of karrikin. To identify genes with important roles in coordinating growth responses to karrikin, I use both forward genetics — the process of beginning with a heritable phenotype and working to identify the causative genetic locus; and reverse genetics — the process of studying genes of interest in an attempt to connect them to a physiological process. Forward and reverse genetic techniques are not exclusive to plant biology, but may be used on a wide range of organisms.

Recent Publications

  • Stanga JP, Morffy N, and Nelson DC. Functional redundancy in the control of seedling growth by the karrikin signaling pathway. Planta 2016. 10.1007/s00425-015-2458-2.
  • Soundappan I, Bennett T, Morffy N, Liant Y, Stanga JP, Abbas A, Leyser O, Nelson DC. SMAX1-LIKE/D53 family members enable distinct MAX2-dependent responses to strigolactones and karrikins in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 2015. 27(11):3143-59.
  • Stanga JP, Smith S, Briggs W, Nelson D. SUPPRESSOR OF MAX2 1 (SMAX1) controls seed germination and seedling development in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Physiol. 2013. 163(1): 318-30.
  • Correa R, Stanga JP, Larget B, Roznowski A, Shu G, Baum D. An assessment of transgenomics as a tool for identifying genes involved in the evolutionary differentiation of closely related plant species. New Phytol. 2012. 193(2): 494-503.
  • Stanga JP, Strohm A, Masson P. Methods for studying the distribution and sedimentation of amyloplasts in Arabidopsis cells. Chloroplast Research in Arabidopsis: Methods and Protocols. P. Jarvis (ed) 2010.
  • Stanga JP, Boonsirichai K, Sedbrook J, Otegui M, Masson P. A role for the TOC complex in Arabidopsis root gravitropism. Plant Physiol. 2009. 149(4):1896-905.
  • Stanga JP, Baldwin K, Masson P. Joining forces: The interface of gravitropism and plastid protein import. Plant Signaling and Behavior 2009. 4(10):1-9. Review.
  • Masson P, Stanga JP, Neal C, Vaughn L, Baldwin K, Jia G. Signaling in plant gravitropism. Signaling and Communication in Plants/Signaling in Plants. F. Baluska and S. Mancuso (eds.) 2009. 209-237.


Contact Dr. John Stanga

(478) 301-2646