Jake Brunkard

Position title: Assistant Professor

Email: brunkard@wisc.edu

Website: Brunkard Lab Website

Phone: 608-890-4874

Plant Biology, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Genomics

Office Address
425 Henry Mall, room 3106
Lab Address
425 Henry Mall, room 3360
History and Biology, B.A. with High Honors, Swarthmore College; Plant Biology, Ph.D., UC Berkeley
Research Interests
My lab investigates the evolution and regulation of metabolism in plants at molecular, cellular, physiological, and genomic scales, focusing on the TARGET OF RAPAMYCIN (TOR) signaling network.
Plant Genetics & Development (Gen631), Domestication Genetics (Gen701), and Grant Writing for Geneticists (Gen993).

Mapping the plant TARGET OF RAPAMYCIN signaling network

The Brunkard Lab studies how plants sense and respond to nutrients.  We are especially focused on the TARGET OF RAPAMYCIN (TOR) signaling network that monitors availability of life’s “building blocks” (e.g., amino acids, nucleotides, sugars) to coordinate growth & development with metabolism.  TOR signaling is under intense investigation among biomedical researchers because dysregulation of the TOR network causes or contributes to a wide range of diseases, including cancers and age-related disorders.  Much less is known about the TOR signaling pathway outside of mammals and yeast.

Our  lab is investigating TOR signaling in diverse plant model species, including Arabidopsis, tomato, Nicotiana benthamiana, and maize, to understand how TOR networks have evolved in eukaryotes.  We use multidisciplinary approaches, including methods from genetics, genomics, biochemistry, cell biology, and physiology, among others.  Long-term, we aim to harness TOR signaling pathways to improve agricultural crop resilience and yields while reducing reliance on costly, unsustainable fertilizers.

Please visit the Brunkard Lab Website for more about our group.