Jose Ramon Planta, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Michigan State University, MI USA

PhD Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Rutgers University, NJ USA

MSc Applied Bioscience, Hokkaido University, Japan

BS Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Philippines 




Plant Integrative Genomics and Genetics Laboratory

The Plant Integrative Genomics and Genetics Laboratory seeks to gain understanding of the mechanisms behind plant responses to stress for eventual varietal improvement. At the molecular level, plants respond to abiotic stress by altering gene expression and the abundances of proteins and metabolites. Recent advances in the omics fields have enabled the manipulation of stress-responsive genes in plants, and overexpression of several genes (e.g., transcription factors) leads to stress tolerance in transgenic plants. To gain detailed information on the stress-response mechanisms of plants, the lab looks at the molecular processes occurring in plants during transition from a normal state to stress conditions, with the stress intensity becoming gradually greater. Our aim is to identify regulatory genes involved in stress perception and signaling.

Research Area

The lab integrates genomic and genetic approaches to elucidate the plant responses to stress. In relation to abiotic plant stressors, we are currently utilizing select plant species to: (i) understand the mechanisms of pigment accumulation for possible use as markers of gene expression in plant transformation and (ii) determine the regulatory gene networks under drought stress.

  1. Regulatory gene networks in the drought stress response of abaca
  2. Transcriptome analysis clarifies the biosynthesis and evolution of the pigment betalain in Basella alba (Order Caryophyllales)

Selected Publications

Planta J, Messing J. Quality Protein Maize Based on Reducing Sulfur in Leaf Cells. Genetics. 2017 Dec;207(4):1687-1697. doi: 10.1534/genetics.117.300288. Epub 2017 Oct 20. PMID: 29054859; PMCID: PMC5714473.

Planta J, Xiang X, Leustek T, Messing J. Engineering sulfur storage in maize seed proteins without apparent yield loss. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Oct 24;114(43):11386-11391. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1714805114. Epub 2017 Oct 9. PMID: 29073061; PMCID: PMC5664557.