Institute for Integrative Genome Biology


Julia Bailey-SerresJulia Bailey-Serres

Distinguished Professor of Genetics;
Director, Center for Plant Cell Biology

Mailing Address:

Botany and Plant Sciences
Genomics Building /4119A
University of California
Riverside, CA 92521

Phone: (951) 827-3738
Fax: (951) 827-4437
Email: serres@ucr.edu

UCR Living the Promise Profile (2010)


PhD 1986 Edinburgh University
BS 1981 University of Utah

College/Division Affiliation:

College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

Center/Inst Affiliation(s):

Center for Plant Cell Biology

Areas Of Expertise:

Gene Regulation; Translational Control; Abiotic Stress Signaling/Response; Low Oxygen Sensing; Flooding/Submergence; Genome Technologies

Awards / Honors:

2016  Elected to the National Academy of Sciences
2015  Professor (honorary), Molecular Physiology of Rice, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
2014  Most Highly-Cited List, Thomson Reuters
2011  Elected Secretary of the American Society of Plant Biologists (2012)
2010  Fellow of ASPB (American Society of Plant Biologists)
2009  World Technology Award Finalist
2008  USDA National Research Discovery Award
2008  F.C. Donders Chair, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
2005  AAAS Fellow (American Association for the Advancement of Science)
2002  Outstanding Faculty Mentor, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research

Research Summary:

The primary focus of the Bailey-Serres group at UCR is to define mechanisms of signal transduction and gene regulation that are critical to the response of plants to suboptimal environmental growth conditions. Our research is largely focused on mechanisms of sensing and response to cellular oxygen deprivation (hypoxia/anoxia) that is a major consequence of flooding, submergence or high metabolic activity (i.e., in meristems). We wish to understand the molecular and physiological processes that can enable plants to tolerate or escape an abiotic stress such as flooding, from the single cell to the whole plant level. This knowledge is of vital importance to efforts that seek to stabilize crop yields as the World's population grows, arable land decreases, and climatic patterns changes.

Farmers of Bangladesh and India risk loosing over 4 million tons of rice each year to Monsoon floods. Fortunately, flood resilient rice has become a reality due to the identification of a naturally occurring rice gene that helps rice that is completely submerged survive a prolonged period of time underwater. New rice varieties have been bred for submergence tolerance and provided freely to farmers, primarily through the initiatives of the International Rice Research Institute.

Our team has elucidated the mechanism of function of the rice SUB1A gene that is used to alleviate crop loss due to complete submergence in Asia. We have also uncovered low oxygen sensing and response mechanisms that enable survival for a short period of oxygen deprivation in the model plant Arabidopsis. We have also studied extensively the regulation of gene expression that occurs after a gene transcript is produced, as the modulation of mRNA translation and storage provides a means to conserve energy when cells are deprived of oxygen. We use molecular-genetic, biochemical, chemical genomic and systems-biological approaches to study these processes. As much as possible, we seek to understand what occurs in specific cells, such as those of the root cortex or leaf mesophyll, to provide the plasticity necessary for survival. The long-term goal is to increase crop tolerance of flooding / submergence, combine stress tolerances, and to contribute to the general understanding of low-oxygen sensing and gene regulation in eukaryotic cells.

Current Lab Projects:

Sub1 Rice: Submergence tolerance and anaerobic germination tolerance in rice and maize. Rejbana Alam, Sonja Winte, Cynthia Larive (UCR Chemistry), Endang Septiningsih (Texas A&M University), Abdel Ismail (IRRI), Takeshi Fukao (Virginia Tech).

Low oxygen sensing and response mechanism studies in rice and maize. Researchers: Travis Lee, Rens Voesenek and Rashmi Sasidaharan (Plant Ecopysiology Group, Utrecht University).

mRNPome Project: Identification and characterization of RNA binding proteins that contribute to post-transcriptional gene regulation key to stress survival and developmental platsiticy in plants. Using genetics and biochemistry we are capturing and characterizing the RNAs associated with specific RNA binding proteins. Researchers: Maureen Hummel, Lauren Dedow, Thanin (George) Chantarachot and many undergraduates, Thomas Girke (UC Riverside); Leslie Sieburth and Reed Sorenson (University of Utah).

The translatome and beyond: Much gene regulation occurs at the cell specific and post-transcriptional levels. The Bailey-Serres lab has developed methods for analysis of mRNA associated with ribosomes or specific RNA binding proteins in individual cell types. Data for cell-specific translatomes of Arabidopsis can be viewed at http://efp.ucr.edu/. Methods for translatome isolation are available by download or request. Methods for ribosome footprinting are published and available by request. Most of the Arabidopsis lines and plasmids we developed for translating ribosome affinity purification (TRAP) are available through ABRC. Researchers: Maureen Hummel, Jérémie Bazin (Institute of Plant Sciences Paris Saclay).

Plasticity Project: An NSF-PGRP project (MCB-1238243) has developed nuclear isolation (INTACT) and ribosome immunopurification (TRAP) technologies for isolation of chromatin, nuclear RNA and ribosome-associated mRNA in rice, tomato and Medicago to study responses to drought and submergence. A collection of lines to access cell-specific nuclei and translatomes has been established and is now being employed. Our collaborators are the Brady and Sinha labs at UC Davis and the Deal lab at Emory University. Researchers: Germain Pauluzzi, Mauricio Reynoso and many undergraduates Project Website: http://plant-plasticity.github.io/.

SECRETome Project: The Systematic Evaluation of CellulaR ExporT from plant cells is a new NSF-PGRP project (MCB-1546879) in which we will explore gene activity and function of cells of rice that are involved in diverse secretory processes.  Collaborators: Thomas Girke (UC Riverside); Wolf Frommer (Carnegie Institution for Science); Bing Yang (Iowa State University).

Related Press Releases:

Selected Publications:

List of publications from PubMed

Lab Personnel: 

Bazin, Jérémie (Marie Curie Fellow)
Postdoctoral Researcher — TransPho – Elucidation of the role of non-protein coding RNAs in phosphate starvation using advanced tools for cell-specific gene regulation analyses
Brinton, Erin (NSF Predoctoral Fellow)
PhD Student — Characterization of anaerobic germination and submergence responses in maize; Group VII ERFs
Chantarachot, Thanin (George) (Royal Thai Fellow)
PhD Student —  The RNPome Project: Identification and characterization of RNA binding proteins that sequester mRNAs during low oxygen stress
Dedow, Lauren (NSF Predoctoral Fellow)
PhD Student — The RNPome Project: Deciphering roles of cytosolic RNA binding proteins in gene regulation
Hummel, Maureen
Postdoctoral Researcher — The RNPome Project: Deciphering roles of cytosolic RNA binding proteins in gene regulation
Huynh, Ngoc
PhD Student — The Sub1 Project: Metabolite profiling; development of new methods for metabolite analysis including resolution, identification and quantitation
Lee, Travis
PhD Student —  Sensing, signaling and response mechanisms to low-oxygen and flooding in Arabidopsis; characterization of proteins of unknown function
Locke, Anna
Postdoctoral Researcher— The Sub1 Project: Roles of rice SUB1A in regulation of post-submergence recovery
Pauluzzi, Germain
Postdoctoral Researcher — The Plasticity Project: Rice root developmental plasticity; tools for gene regulation studies in rice
Rejbana, Alam (Beachell-Borlaug International Scholar)
PhD Student —  Molecular characterization of anaerobic germination, submergence tolerance, and salt tolerance interactions in rice
Reynoso, Mauricio
Postdoctoral Researcher — The Plasticity Project: Rice shoot developmental plasticity; tools for gene regulation studies in rice
Schreiber, Kristin
PhD Student — Mechanisms of control by the SUB1A gene of rice; environmental toxicology
Sorenson, Reed
Postdoctoral Researcher — The RNPome Project: Identification and characterization of RNA binding proteins that sequester mRNAs during low oxygen stress

Visiting Researcher:
Choi, Dongsu
Visiting Research Professor from Kunsan National University, Republic of Korea— Signaling and response to low oxygen stress in Arabidopsis and rice
Undergraduate Student Researchers:
Chen, Daniel and Fischer, Michael
Our undergraduates assist lab members in rice, maize and Arabidopsis research, gaining hands-on experience in molecular biology and plant physiology

Recent Lab Members:
Branco-Price, Cristina — Researcher, Cambridge University, England
Chang, Ruth — Invitrogen
Fukao, Takeshi — Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech University
Kawaguchi, Riki — Assistant Researcher, UCLA
Juntawong, Piyada — Lecturer, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailan
Barding, Greg — Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Washington, Seattle
Jang, Charles — Instructor, local community colleges
Kaiser, Kayla — Instructor, Cal State Northridge
Lee, Seung Cho — Postdoctoral Researcher, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York 
Mustroph, Angelika — Junior Professor, Bayreuth University, Germany
Oosumi, Teruko — Research Associate, JR Simplot Plant Sciences, Idaho
Pena Castro, Julián — Faculty, University of Papaloapan, Mexico
Yeung, Elaine — PhD Student, Plant Ecophysiology Group, Utrecht University
Werner Fraczek, Joanna — Professor, Moreno Valley College, California
Zanetti, Eugenia —  Professor, Instituto de Biotecnología y Biología Molecular, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

Genomics Information

Institute of Integrative Genome Biology
2150 Batchelor Hall

Tel: (951) 827-7177
E-mail: Aurelia Espinoza, Managing Director