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Contact Information

P: 864-656-6237

Campus Location

D153 Poole Agricultural Center


Monday - Friday:
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


Profile Photo

Julia Frugoli

Genetics and Biochemistry

Alumni Professor

AG Biotech/Biosystems Research Complex / BRC 204 [Lab]
AG Biotech/Biosystems Research Complex / BRC 204A [Research Laboratory Service]
AG Biotech/Biosystems Research Complex / BRC 206 [Office]

Educational Background

PPhD, Plant Pathology & Microbiology, Texas A&M University, 2000
PhD, Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College, 1998
BS/BS, Biology/Chemistry, Gordon College, 1988

Research Interests

Plants Sense, Decide, and Respond!

Nitrogen makes up over 70% of the air around us but is unavailable to living organisms to use to make proteins and DNA until it is reduced ("fixed"). Legume plants set up a symbiosis with bacteria that can fix nitrogen, supplying carbon from photosynthesis to the bacteria while the bacteria fix nitrogen from the air for the plant. The bacteria live inside the plant in special root structures called nodules. Legumes provide 33% of human nutrition in the world, and our research is designed to understand nodule development and the plant control of nodulation to benefit agricultural production, both in legumes and other plants. We use molecular genetic tools in the legume model system Medicago truncatula.

Our goal is to identify the plant genes, hormones and environmental signals involved in nodule number regulation and construct a signal transduction pathway for the long distance communication pathway between the roots and shoots. Many of the genes involved plant control of nodulation are genes involved in general plant growth and development, making our findings applicable to all plants. All plants can sense nitrogen needs and balance those needs with carbon resources; in legumes the perception and processing of these signals influences nodule number. Discovering how the plant regulates nodule number will also help determine how the plant senses the environment around and within it, “makes decisions” based on the information and acts on those decisions.

Research Group (Lab)

Jacklyn Thomas-PhD student
Rakshya Shah-MS student

Courses Taught

GEN 4930 Senior seminar

GEN 4200/6200 Molecular Genetics and Gene Regulation

Selected Publications

Gao, Y.1, Selee, B. 1, Schnabel, E., Poelman, W. 1, Chavan, S. 3, Frugoli, J., Feltus, F.A.* (2022) Time Series Transcriptome Analysis in Medicago truncatula Shoot and Root Tissue During Early Nodulation, Frontiers in Plant Science 13: 861639—861639. doi:10.3389/fpls.2022.861639

Chaulagain, D. and Frugoli, J. (2021) The Regulation of Nodule Number in Legumes Is a Balance of Three Signal Transduction Pathways, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, doi:10.3390/ijms22031117

Freese, N., Schnabel, E. and Frugoli, J. (2020) Whole Genome Bisulfite Sequencing of Medicago truncatula A17 wild type and lss mutants, BMC Research Notes, doi:10.1186/s13104-020-05012-6

Roy, S., Liu, W., Nandety, R.S., Crook, A., Mysore, K.S., Pislariu, C., Frugoli, J., Dickstein ,R., Udvardi, M. (2020) Celebrating 20 years of genetic discoveries in legume nodulation and symbiotic nitrogen fixation, Plant Cell, doi:10.1105/tpc.19.00279.

Poehlman, W, Schnabel, E., Chavan, S., Frugoli, J. and Feltus, F.A. (2019) Identifying Temporally Regulated Root Nodulation Biomarkers Using Time Series Gene Co-expression Network Analysis, Frontiers in Plant Science, doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01409

Müller, L.M., Flokova, K. Schnabel, X., Sun, E., Fei, Z. Frugoli, J., Bouwmeester, H.J., Harrison, M.J. (2019) A CLE-SUNN module regulates strigolactone content and fungal colonization in arbuscular mycorrhiza, Nature Plants, 5:933-939, doi:10.1038/s41477-019-0501-1.

Nowak, S, Schnabel, E. and Frugoli, J. (2019) The Medicago truncatula CLAVATA3-LIKE CLE12/13 signaling peptides regulate nodule number depending on the CORYNE but not the COMPACT ROOT ARCHITECTURE2 receptor, Plant Signaling and Behavior, DOI: 10.1080/15592324.2019.1598730

Wen, L., Chen, Y., Schnabel, E., Crook, A., Frugoli, J. (2019) Comparison of Efficiency and Time to Regeneration of Agrobacterium-mediated transformation methods in Medicago truncatula, Plant Methods, 15:20

Chavan, S., Schnabel, E., Saski, C., Frugoli, J. (2018) Fixation and Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM) of plant tissue for RNA extraction and RNASeq library preparation, Current Protocols in Plant Biology,3:14-32.

Kassaw, T., Nowak, S., Schnabel, E., and Frugoli, J. (2017) ROOT DETERMINED NODULATION1 is required for M. truncatula CLE12, but not CLE13 peptide signaling through the SUNN receptor kinase, Plant Physiology. 174: 2445-2456.

Selected Talks

(2022) MtTML1 and MtTML2 Function Synergistically in Medicago Nodule Number Regulation, invited speaker for 25th North American Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation Conference, Madison, WI June 5-9.
(2021) Using Lasercapture Microdissection to Unravel Nodulation Signaling, keynote address at 3rd International Conference on Plant Science and Research, online meeting May 10-12.
(2021) Multivariate RNASeq reveals the depth and breadth of the transcriptional response of Medicago truncatula to its rhizobial symbiont Southern Section ASPB meeting, online April 17-18.
(2020) Insights into the autoregulation of nodulation (AON) pathway gained by transcriptomics of the maturation zone of M. truncatula wild type and mutant plant roots in the first 3 days post inoculation with rhizobia, invited virtual presentation at American Society of Plant Biology World Wide Summit, online meeting July 27-31.

(2019) The early transcriptomes of M. truncatula wild type and hypernodulation mutant plants inoculated with rhizobia implicate targets of the autoregulation of nodulation (AON) pathway" invited presentation at the International Conference on Legume Genomics and Genetics, Dijon, France May 15.

(2018) Root to shoot signaling in symbiosis, invited presentation at Southern Section Meeting of American Society of Plant Biologists, New Orleans, LA, March 24-26.

(2017) “Spatial and Temporal Resolution of mRNA Profiles During Early Nodule Development” invited talk for American Society of Plant Biologists meeting, Honolulu, Hawaii, June 24-28.


I am a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Plant Biologists, the International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, the Society for Experimental Biology, the Genetics Society of America and the Association for Women in Science.


Visit our lab research site

Contact Information

P: 864-656-6237

Campus Location

D153 Poole Agricultural Center


Monday - Friday:
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.