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Genetics and Biochemistry Profiles

Julia Frugoli

Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence and Graduate Education, College of Science
Alumni Distinguished Professor of Genetics
Genetics and Biochemistry Department

Office: 206 Biosystems Research Complex
Phone: 864-656-1859
Fax: 864-656-0393

Personal Website:

 Educational Background

PPhD Plant Pathology & Microbiology
Texas A&M University 2000

PhD Biological Sciences
Dartmouth College 1998

BS/BS Biology/Chemistry
Gordon College 1988

 Courses Taught

In my current 50% administration position I am only teaching research courses.


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.

 Research Interests

Legume plants set up a symbiosis with nitrogen fixing bacteria, supplying carbon from photosynthesis to the bacteria while the bacteria fix nitrogen from the air for the plant inside special plant root structures called nodules. My lab focuses on molecular genetics 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 this process. These signals are part of a long distance communication pathway between the roots and shoots and many of the genes involved in plant control of nodulation are genes involved in general plant growth and development, making our findings applicable to all plants. The components of our model include multiple genes identified by forward genetics and the plant hormones auxin, cytokinin and ethylene. Because the plant can sense its nitrogen needs and balance those needs with its carbon resource, perception and processing of these signals also influences nodule number. Thus discovering how the plant regulates nodule number will also help determine how the plant "thinks" and "decides" when confronted with the challenge of being a sessile organism that must find and respond to nutrient sources.

 Extension and Outreach

My research is my passion, but I also have a professional interest in research ethics, specifically the encouragement and transmission of ethical research practices (often called "best practices") to graduate students,I am a member of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics and Sigma Xi. I also am an advocate for Inclusive Excellence, especially women in science.


(last 10 years-apologies on the format-our new system does not allow even italics)
Roy, S., Liu, W., Nandety, R.S., Crook,A., Mysore, K., Pislariu, C. Frugoli, J. ,Dickstein, R. and Udvardi, M. (2019) Celebrating 20 years of genetic discoveries in legume nodulation and symbiotic nitrogen fixation, The Plant Cell, DOI:

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

Mulller, L.M., Flokova, K., Schnabel, E., Sun, X., Fei, Z., Frugoli, J., Bouwmeester, H.J., Harrison, M.J. (2019) A CLE-SUNN module regulates strigoractone 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.

Crook, A., Schnabel, E., and Frugoli, J. (2016) The systemic nodule number regulation kinase SUNN in Medicago truncatula interacts with MtCLV2 and MtCRN, The Plant Journal, 88: 108-119. doi: 10.1111/tpj.13234.

Kassaw, T., Schnabel, E., Bridges, W. and Frugoli, J. (2015) Multiple autoregulation of nodulation (AON) signals identified through split root analysis of M. truncatula sunn and rdn1 mutants, Plants 4:209-224.

Kassaw, T. and Frugoli, J. (2013) Journey to Nodule Formation: From Molecular Dialogue to Nitrogen Fixation, Symbiotic Endophytes, R. Aroca, ed, Springer Soil Biology series Vol 37 pp 3-24.

Kassaw, T. and Frugoli, J, (2012) Simple and efficient methods to generate split roots and grafted plants useful for long-distance signaling studies in Medicago truncatula and other small plants, Plant Methods, 8:38

Frugoli, J., (2012) Be Careful What You Wish For: Research Ethics Education in the University Setting, A Response to NIH and NSF Regulations, Teaching Ethics, 12:2, 103-105.

Schnabel, E., Karve, A., Kassaw, T., Mukherjee, A., Zhou, X., Hall, T., and Frugoli, J. (2012) The M. truncatula SUNN gene is expressed in vascular tissue, similarly to RDN1, consistent with the role of these nodulation regulation genes in long distance signaling, Plant Signaling and Behavior, 7:1-3.

Schnabel, E., Kassaw, T., Smith, L. Marsh, J., Oldroyd, G., Long, S. and Frugoli, J. (2011) ROOT DETERMINED NODULATION 1 regulates nodule number in M. truncatula and defines a highly conserved, uncharacterized plant gene family, Plant Physiology, 157: 328-340.

Schnabel, E., Smith, C., Long, S. and Frugoli, J. (2010) Transcript profiling in M. truncatula lss and sunn-1 mutants reveals different expression profiles despite disrupted SUNN gene function in both mutants, Plant Signaling and Behavior, 5:1657-1659.

Schnabel, E., Mukherjee, A., Smith, L. Kassaw, T. Long, S. and Frugoli, J. (2010) The lss supernodulation mutant of Medicago truncatula reduces expression of the SUNN gene, Plant Physiology 154: 1390-1402.

Frugoli, J., Etgen, A. M. and Kuhar, M. (2010) Developing and Communicating Responsible Data Management Policies to Trainees and Colleagues, Science & Engineering Ethics, 16:753-762.


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