Douglas G. Bielenberg

Associate Professor

Contact Information



  • Ph.D. Plant Physiology, The Pennsylvania State University, 2000
  • B.S. Biology, University of Northern Iowa, 1995

Research Interests

My primary research interests are in the physiological and molecular mechanisms of plant interactions with the physical environment.  Past research subjects have included air pollutant injury, root cell plasticity in response to nutrient deficiency, plant behavioral movements in response to light and temperature, and plant response to global change (elevated CO2).  Currently my program is focused on understanding the physiological and genetic basis for within-species variations in phenological traits such as spring bloom.  Despite being one of the most dramatic landscape and ecosystem events of the annual cycle, very little is known about the physiological and genetic regulation of dormancy in perennial species. My group has employed classical genetics and modern genomics to uncover important regulators of the developmental events associated with growth cessation, bud formation and endodormancy development.  Our approaches have made use of recent advances in high-throughput sequencing technology for global gene expression and molecular marker development.

Selected Publications

  • Bielenberg DG. 2011. Knowing when not to grow. New Phytologist 189(1): 3-5.
  • Jiménez S, Reighard GL, Bielenberg DG. 2010. Gene expression of DAM5 and DAM6 is suppressed by chilling temperatures and inversely correlates with bud break rate. Plant Molecular Biology 73(1-2): 157-167.
  • Jiménez S, Li Z, Reighard GL, Bielenberg DG. 2010. Identification of genes associated with growth cessation and bud dormancy release using a dormancy-incapable tree mutant. BMC Plant Biology 10(25).
  • Fan S, Bielenberg DG, Zhebentyayeva TN, Reighard GL, Okie WR, Holland D, Abbott AG. 2010.  Mapping quantitative trait loci associated with chilling requirement, heat requirement and bloom date in peach (Prunus persica).  New Phytologist 185(4): 917-930.
  • Olukolu BA, Trainin T, Fan S, Kole C, Bielenberg DG, Reighard GL, Abbott AG, Holland D.  2009.  Genetic linkage mapping for molecular dissection of chilling requirement and budbreak in apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.).  Genome 52: 819-828.
  • Jiménez S, Lawton-Rauh AL, Reighard GL, Abbott AG, Bielenberg DG. 2009. Phylogenetic analysis and molecular evolution of the dormancy associated MADS-box genes from peach. BMC Plant Biology 9(81): doi:10.1186/1471-2229-1189-1181.
  • Li Z, Reighard GL, Abbott AG, Bielenberg DG. 2009. Dormancy-associated MADS genes from the EVG locus of peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] have distinct seasonal and photoperiodic expression patterns. Journal of Experimental Botany 60(12): 3521-3530.
  • Bielenberg DG, Wang Y, Li Z, Zhebentyayeva T, Fan S, Reighard GL, Scorza R, Abbott AG (2008) Sequencing and annotation of the evergrowing locus in peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] reveals a cluster of six MADS-box transcription factors as candidate genes for regulation of terminal bud formation. Tree Genetics and Genomes DOI: 10.1007/s11295-007-0126-9
  • BassiriRad H and Bielenberg DG. 2005. Nutrient acquisition of terrestrial plants in a changing climate. In: Nutrient uptake by plants: an ecological perspective. BassiriRad H, ed. Springer-Verlag, Inc., New York.
  • Bielenberg DG, Wang Y, Fan S, Reighard GL, Scorza R, and Abbott AG. 2004. A deletion affecting several gene candidates is present in the peach Evergrowing mutant. Journal of Heredity 95 (5): 436-444. PDF Download
  • Bielenberg DG, Miller JD, Berg VS. 2003. Combined effects of PPFD and pulvinus temperature upon paraheliotropic leaf movements and implications for leaf gas exchange in two Phaseolus species. Environmental and Experimental Botany. 49 (2), 95-105. PDF Download
  • Pell EJ, Miller JD, Bielenberg DG. 2003. Effects of Airborne Pollutants. In: Plant Cell Death Processes. Noodén LD, ed. Academic Press, Inc., New York.
  • Bielenberg DG, Lynch JP, Pell EJ. 2002. Nitrogen dynamics during O3-induced accelerated senescence and related compensation in hybrid poplar. Plant, Cell & Environment 25 (4), 501-512. PDF Download
  • Bielenberg DG, Lynch JP, Pell EJ. 2001. A Decline in Nitrogen Availability Affects Plant Responses to O3. The New Phytologist. 151 (2), 413-425. PDF Download
  • Ma Z, Bielenberg DG, Brown KM, Lynch JP. 2001. Regulation of root hair density by phosphorus availability in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant, Cell & Environment 24 (4), 459-467. PDF Download

Recent Courses

  • BIOL 200 Biology in the News 
  • BIOSC 401/401H/601 - Plant Physiology
  • BIOSC 402/602 - Plant Physiology Laboratory
  • BOT 821 - Inorganic Plant Metabolism

Past Graduate Students

  • Jennie Kill-Bowden, M.S., Biological Sciences
  • Yuhui Xie, Ph.D., Plant & Environmental Sciences
  • Sergio Jimenez, Postdoctoral Scholar 

Professional Affiliations

  • American Society of Plant Biologists
  • American Society of Horticultural Science
  • Sigma Xi