Jennifer Normanly
Professor, Department Head
(413) 545-3422
Metabolic regulation and engineering
Background and Training

PhD: California Institute of Technology

Postdoctoral training: The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Research Summary


Engineering monoterpene synthesis in Camelina sativa; a non-food biofuels crop Omics approaches to characterizing Taxol synthesis Auxin biosynthesis in plants and microbes We use a variety of plant systems including the model flowering plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, the non-food crop Camelina sativa and Nicotiana benthamiana to either engineer plant metabolism or study the biosynthesis of plant specialized metabolites. Mass spectrometry features prominently in our experimental approaches. For example, we use stable isotope labeling and metabolite profiling to examine the regulation of plant growth and development by the signaling molecule indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), also known as auxin and to examine flux through the 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP; aka the non-mevalonate pathway) in Camelina sativa lines engineered to produce monoterpenes for biofuels applications. We are working with campus colleagues to mine a recently acquired plant cell culture collection for new molecules with industrial, pharmaceutical and agricultural applications.


Patil, R. A., Lenka, S. K., Normanly, J., Walker, E. L., Roberts, S. C. Methyl jasmonate represses growth and affects cell cycle progression in cultured Taxus cells, Plant Cell Rep. (2014) Sep;33(9):1479-92. doi: 10.1007/s00299-014-1632-5. Epub 2014 May 16. [Pubmed]

Normanly, J., (ed.), High-Throughput Phenotyping in Plants: Methods and Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology, vol 918, (2012) Springer, New York, DOI 10.1007/978-1-61779-995-2

Yousef M. Abu-Zaitoon, Heather M. Nonhebel, Karina Bennett and Jennifer Normanly, A large increase in IAA during development of rice grains correlates with expression of tryptophan aminotransferase OsTAR1 and two grain-specific YUCCAs. Physiologia Plantarum (2012) 146, 487-499 and doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3054.2012.01649.x  [Pubmed]

Lenka, S. K., Boutaoui, N., Paulose, B., Vongpaseuth, K., Normanly, J., Roberts, S. C., Walker, E. Identification and expression analysis of methyl jasmonate responsive ESTs in paclitaxel producing Taxus cuspidata suspension culture cells, BMC Genomics (2012) 13:148 [Pubmed]

Patil, R. A., Kolewe, M. E., Normanly, J., Walker, E. L., Roberts, S. C. Contribution of taxane biosynthetic pathway gene expression to observed variability in paclitaxel accumulation in Taxus suspension cultures, Biotechnology Journal (2012) 7, 418–427 [Pubmed]

Nonhebel, H. M., Yuan, Y., Al-Amier, H., Pieck, M., Akor, E., Ahamed, A., Cohen, J.D., Celenza, J., Normanly, J., Redirection of Trp metabolism in tobacco by ectopic expression of an Arabidopsis indolic glucosinolate biosynthetic gene, Phytochemistry 72:37-48 (2011) [Pubmed]

Barkawi, L.S., Tam, Y.-Y., Tillman, J. A., Normanly, J., Cohen, J. D., A High Throughput Method for the Quantitative Analysis of Auxins, Nature Protocols 5: 1609-1618 (2010) [Pubmed]

Prusty Rao, R., Hunter, A., Kashpur, O., Normanly, J. Aberrant synthesis of indole-3-acetic acid in Saccharomyces cerevisiae triggers morphogenic transition, a virulence trait of dimorphic pathogenic fungi, Genetics 185: 211-220 (2010). [Pubmed] 

Normanly, J. Approaching cellular and molecular resolution of auxin biosynthesis and metabolism in Cold Spring Harbor Lab Perspectives: Auxin Signaling, eds. M. Estelle, D. Weijers, K. Ljung, O. Leyser, doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a001594 (2009).

Kramer, E.M., Lewandowski, M., Beri, S., Bernard, J., Borkowski, M. Burchfield, L. A., Mathisen, B., Normanly, J. Auxin gradients are associated with polarity changes in trees, Science 320:1610 (2008). [Pubmed]

Barkawi, L., Tam, Y., Tillman, J., Calio, J., Al-Amier, H., Emerick, M., Normanly, J., Cohen, J., A high-throughput method for the quantitative analysis of indole-3-acetic acid and other auxins from plant tissue, Analytical Biochemistry 372: 177-188 (2008). [Pubmed] 

Calio, J., Tam, Y.Y., and Normanly, J. Auxin Biology and Biosynthesis in Recent Advances in Phytochemistry: Integrative Plant Biochemistry, ed, J. Romeo, Elsevier, vol 40: 287-305 (2006).

Ljung,K.,  Hull, A., Celenza, J., Yamada, M., Estelle, M., Normanly, J., and Sandberg, G. Sites and regulation of auxin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis roots.Plant Cell, 17:1090-1140 (2005). [Pubmed]

Celenza, J.L., Quiel, J.A., Smolen, G.A., Merrikh, H., Silvestro, A., Normanly, J., and  Bender J. The Arabidopsis ATR1 Myb transcription factor controls indolic glucosinolate homeostasis.Plant Physiology, 137:253-262 (2005)  [Pubmed]

Normanly, J, Sovin, JP, and Cohen, JD Auxin Metabolism in Plant Hormones: Biosynthesis, Signal Transduction, Action! 3rd edition. P.J. Davies, ed. Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht, The Netherlands. pp 36-62 (2004)

Zhao, Y., Hull, A. K., Gupta, N., Goss, K. A., Alonso, J., Ecker, J. R., Normanly, J., Chory, J., and Celenza, J. L. Trp-dependent auxin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis: involvement of cytochrome P450s CYP79B2 and CYP79B3. Genes and Development 16:3100-3112 (2002). [Pubmed]

Tam, Y. Y., and Normanly, J. Overexpression of a bacterial indole-3-acetyl-L-aspartic acid hydrolase in Arabidopsis thaliana Physiologia Plantarum 115:513-522 (2002). [Pubmed]