Pablo D Jenik Associate Professor and Associate Chair Department of Biology

Molecular Genetics; Plant Development; Genetics



Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, 2000

Licenciado (B.Sc./M.Sc.) in Biology, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1994

Biography and Research

Here is a brief interview about my personal story that was published by the American Society for Plant Biologists.

I am interested in understanding how plant embryos are made. I am particularly interested in the processes of patterning (how different cell types are specified in the right places) and maturation (the accumulation of products necessary to germinate succesfully). The embryo of the mustard weed Arabidopsis thaliana is an excellent model system to address these issues, since its development is characterized by extremely regular cell divisions and patterning decisions, which make it easy to find mutants that affect these events.

In my first years as faculty, my lab characterized several mutants with altered embryonic patterning. The work involved a careful study of the mutant phenotypes, a search for the genes that had been mutated and then, using genetic and molecular approaches, an analysis of how the products of those genes regulated development. We worked on genes that encode products involved in the synthesis of microRNAs (DICER-LIKE1) or that regulated protein degradation (proteasome subunit RPN5a, subunits of the CSN complex).

In the last few years we have switched our focus to the latter part of embryogenesis. We are are now studying the mechanisms than control the onset of the maturation program, both at the genetic and physiological levels, mostly using Arabidopsis, but considering to expand to other related species.


Grants and Awards

NSF Major Research Instrumentation DBI1626073 “Acquisition of a laser scanning confocal microscope to support faculty-student collaborative scholarship at a research-intensive liberal arts college” (2016-2018) co-Principle Investigators: Clara Moore, Pablo Jenik, David Roberts, Tim Roth, Beckley Davis

NIH-NIGMS 1R15GM113186-01 "Characterization of novel repressors of the embryonic maturation program in Arabidopsis" (2015-2019)

National Science Foundation ROA grant.  P.D. Jenik and B.D. Gregory "Global analysis of RNA-dependent RNA Polymerase function" (2013)



As faculty (*undergraduate student or ^high-school teacher co-authors):

Ruiz, KA*, Pelletier, JM, Wang Y*, Feng, MJ*, Behr, JS*, Ðào TQ*, Li, B, Kliebenstein, D, Harada, JJ and Jenik, PD 2021. “A re-evaluation of the role of the ASIL trihelix transcription factors as repressors of the seed maturation program” Plant Direct 5: e345.

O'Neill JP*, Colon KT* and Jenik PD. 2019. "The onset of embryo maturation in Arabidopsis is determined by its developmental stage and does not depend on endosperm cellularization" The Plant Journal 99: 286-301. [PubMed]

Franciosini A, Moubayidin L, Du K*, Matari NH*, Boccaccini A, Butera S, Vittorioso P, Sabatini S, Jenik PD, Costantino P and Serino G‡. 2015. “The COP9 SIGNALOSOME is required for postembryonic meristem maintenance in Arabidopsis thaliana” Molecular Plant  8: 1623- 1634 ( co-lead authors). [PubMed]

Seefried WF*, Willmann, MR, Clausen RL* and Jenik PD. 2014. "Global regulation of embryonic patterning in Arabidopsis by microRNAs". Plant Physiology 165: 670-687. [PubMed]

Barr MS^, Willmann MR and Jenik PD. 2012. "Is there a role for trihelix transcription factors in embryo maturation?" Plant Signaling & Behavior 7: 205-209. [PubMed]

Willmann MR, Mehalick AJ*, Packer RL* and Jenik PD. 2011. "microRNAs regulate the timing of embryo maturation in Arabidopsis". Plant Physiology 155: 1871-1884. [PubMed]

Book AJ, Smalle J, Lee K-H, Yang P, Walker JM, Casper S, Holmes JH, Russo LA*, Buzzinotti ZW*, Jenik PD and Vierstra RD. 2009. "The RPN5 subunit of the 26S proteasome is essential for gametogenesis, sporophyte development, and complex assembly in Arabidopsis". The Plant Cell 21: 460-478. [PubMed]

Jenik PD, CS Gillmor and W Lukowitz. 2007. "Embryonic patterning in Arabidopsis". Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology 23: 207-236 (Review Article). [PubMed]

As post-doc:

Jenik PD, REJ Jurkuta and MK Barton. 2005. "Interactions between the cell cycle and embryonic patterning in Arabidopsis uncovered by a mutation in DNA polymerase epsilon". The Plant Cell 17: 3362-3377 (“Recommended” by the Faculty of 1000 Biology). [PubMed]

Jenik PD and MK Barton. 2005. "Surge and destroy: the role of auxin in plant embryogenesis". Development 132: 3577-3585. (Review Article). [PubMed]

As a Ph.D. student:

Irish VF and PD Jenik. 2001. "Cell lineage, cell signaling and the control of plant morphogenesis". Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 11: 424-430. (Review Article). [PubMed]

Jenik PD and VF Irish. 2001. "The Arabidopsis floral homeotic gene APETALA3 differentially regulates intercellular signaling required for petal and stamen development". Development 128: 13-23. [PubMed]

Jenik PD and VF Irish. 2000. "Regulation of cell proliferation patterns by homeotic genes during Arabidopsis floral development". Development 127:1267-1276. [PubMed]

Irish V, C Day, K Bouhidel, B McGonigle, S Carr, T Hill, E Wright and P. Jenik. 1996. "Genetic analysis of petal and stamen development in Arabidopsis". Flowering Newsletter 21: 3-9. (Review Article).

As an undergraduate student:

Rossi C, O Rey, P Jenik and MT Franze-Fernandez. 1996. "Immunological identification of Tacaribe virus proteins". Research in Virology 147: 203-211. [PubMed]


Course Information

BIO 305 Genetics (Every Fall)

NSP 170 (ex-FND 171) Human Evolution and its Consequences (Fall 2010, Spring 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2016)

BIO 352 Advanced Genetics and Epigenetics (Spring 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019)

BIO 331 Evolutionary Developmental Biology (Spring 2013, 2016, 2021)

BIO 230 Cell Biology (Spring 2009, 2010)

BIO 379 The Molecular Plant (Spring 2008, 2020)