Dr. Nicholas J. Ruppel


  • Postdoc, University of California, Davis, 2009-2011
  • Ph.D., Indiana University, 2008
  • B.S., Miami (OH) University, 2001


BIOL 121 Integrative Biology I
BIOL 122 Integrative Biology II
BIOL 200 Genetics
BIOL 204 Plant Physiology 
BIOL 202 Plant Taxonomy
BIOL 353L Molecular Genetics lab
BIOL 499 Biology Capstone
HONR 106 Our Green Allies: The Plant-Human Relationship
HONR 201 Higher Education and the Liberal Arts


Lab Research

The current research in my lab is focused on chloroplast development in plants. There are two ongoing projects:

1. The role of GERANYLGERANYL DIPHOSPHATE SYNTHASE gene homologs in plant isoprenoid biosynthesis. The goal of this work is to gain a better understanding of how plants produce and maintain isoprenoids and their precursors by using genomic, biochemical, and genetic approaches. Isoprenoids encompass a functionally diverse family of molecules that are ultimately required for photosynthesis, structural support, reproduction, and defense.

2. Genetic and molecular analysis of plastid development in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings. The objective of this research is to determine and characterize the gene products that regulate plastid interconversion processes in plants. ‘Plastid’ is a general term for a class of cellular structures in plants that evolved from an endosymbiotic cyanobacterium. One type of plastid is the chloroplast where the photosynthetic light reactions occur. Other essential reactions taking place in some or all of the different plastid types include the storage of high-energy compounds as well as the synthesis and accumulation of amino acids, nucleic acids, and other plant growth regulators. The variety of plastid types and the complexity of their individual functions make focused research on plastid dynamics critical to the advancement of key issues in plant science.


Ruppel NJ, Kropp KN, Davis PA, Martin AE, Luesse DR, Hangarter RP. 2013. Mutations in GERANYLGERANYL DIPHOSPHATE SYNTHASE 1 affect chloroplast development in Arabidopsis thaliana. American Journal of Botany 100: 2074-2084.

Hsu S-C, Endow JK, Ruppel NJ, Roston RL, Baldwin AJ, Inoue K. 2011. Functional diversification of thylakoid processing peptidases in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLoS One 6(11): e27258.

Ruppel NJ, Logsdon CA, Whippo CW, Inoue K, Hangarter RP. 2011. A mutation in Arabidopsis thaliana SEEDLING PLASTID DEVELOPMENT 1 affects plastid differentiation in embryo-derived tissues during seedling growth. Plant Physiology 155: 342-353.

Endow JK, Ruppel NJ, and Inoue K. 2010. Keep the balloon deflated: The significance of protein maturation for thylakoid flattening. Plant Signaling and Behavior 5: 721-723.

Shipman-Roston RL, Ruppel NJ, Damoc C, Phinney BS, Inoue K. 2010. The significance of protein maturation by plastidic type I signal peptidase 1 for thylakoid development in Arabidopsis thaliana chloroplasts. Plant Physiology 152: 1297-1308.

Ruppel NJ, Hangarter RP. 2007. Mutations in a plastid-localized elongation factor G alter early stages of plastid development in Arabidopsis thaliana. BMC Plant Biology 7: 37.

Ybe JA, Ruppel NJ, Mishra S, VanHaaften E. 2003. Contribution of cysteines to clathrin trimerization domain stability and mapping of light chain binding. Traffic 4: 850-856.

Ruppel NJ, Hangarter RP, Kiss JZ. 2001. Red-light-induced positive phototropism in Arabidopsis roots. Planta 212: 424-430.

Kiss JZ, Ruppel NJ, Hangarter RP. 2001. Phototropism in Arabidopsis roots is mediated by two sensory systems. Advances in Space Research 27: 877-885.