Dr. John Stanga

Assistant Professor of Biology

EducationDr. John Stanga

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


Genetics, molecular Biology

Professional Interests

Plant development is responsive to biotic and abiotic factors. The plant hormone, strigolactone, promotes seed germination in parasitic plants. Seeds of other species use a similar molecular mechanism to germinate in the presence of a compound that occurs in smoke, karrikin. Dr. Stanga uses forward and reverse genetics approaches to identify genes that coordinate growth responses to karrikin and strigolactone.

Genome annotation is the process of identifying the coordinates of genetic features by comparing homology, gene expression data, and predictive models. Dr. Stanga annotates genes for several species of flies to contribute to a collaborative effort, the Genomics Education Partnership (GEP). Annotated genomes support comparative genomics questions on insulin signaling evolution, and on Drosophila F-element chromatin states.

GEP research projects are available whether or not students have conducted GEP research in a course. Students interested in research should contact Dr. Stanga.

Recent Publications

  • Khosla A, Morffy N, Li Q, Faure L, Chang SH, Yao J, Zheng J, Cai ML, Stanga JP, Flematti G, Waters M, Nelson DC. Structure–function analysis of SMAX1 reveals domains that mediate its karrikin-induced proteolysis and interaction with the receptor KAI2. Plant Cell 2020. 32(8):2639-59.
  • 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
Office: Godsey Science Center, Room 333