Donna E. Fernandez

Donna E. Fernandez

Professor of Botany
B215 Birge Hall
Ph.D. (1987) University of Colorado-Boulder
Plant cell and developmental biology, molecular aspects of plant reproduction
Fernandez's Lab



My primary interest is in the molecular and cellular basis of developmental transitions in plants. We study both the changes themselves and the molecules that regulate or mediate them. Our approaches are varied, ranging from transcript profiling to immunoEM. Gene redundancy is one of the recurring challenges of our work, and we typically use Arabidopsis because of its power as a genetic system. It is not unusual for us to create quadruple or quintuple mutants in our efforts to unravel the threads and reveal the contributions of different gene products.


 diagram of flowering time regulation  pollen growth and development  plastid biogenesis
Regulation of
flowering time
Pollen growth and
Plastid biogenesis


I regularly teach Introductory Biology (Bio 151/153, Bio 152) and General Botany (Bot 130), as well as Plant Cell Biology (Bot 860, spring semester, even-numbered years) and Regulatory Aspects of Plant Development (Bot 840, fall semester, even-numbered years). Students interested in independent study opportunities in the lab should contact me at

Selected recent publications:

Adamczyk, B.J., and D.E. Fernandez (2009).  MIKC* MADS-domain heterodimers are required for pollen maturation and tube growth in Arabidopsis.  Plant  Physiol. 149: 1713-1723.

Martin, J.R., J. H. Harwood, M.W. McCaffery, D.E. Fernandez, K.C. Cline (2009).  Localization and integration of thylakoid protein translocase subunit cpTatC.  Plant J. 58: 831-842.

Adamczyk, B.J., M.D. Lehti-Shiu, and D.E. Fernandez (2007).  The MADS domain factors AGL15 and AGL18 act redundantly as repressors of the floral transition in Arabidopsis.  Plant J. 50: 1007-1019. 

Lehti-Shiu, M.D., B.J. Adamczyk, and D.E. Fernandez (2005).  Expression of MADS-box genes during the embryonic phase in Arabidopsis.   Plant Mol. Biol. 58: 89-107.