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Dr. John Z. Kiss

Professor, Department of Biology
Dean of the Graduate School, University of Mississippi


Office: 100 Graduate House
Research Lab: 2052 Thad Cochran Research Center
Phone: (662) 915-7474


Research Interests:

Plant cell biology; physiology; space biology.

Plants rely on sophisticated mechanisms to interpret the constant bombardment of incoming signals so they can adjust their growth accordingly. In my laboratory, we are interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of gravitropism and phototropism (directed growth in response to gravity and light, respectively). In the gravitropism project, we have been studying how statoliths (structures that function in graviperception) interact with the cytoskeleton in gravitropic signal transduction. In terms of phototropism, we have been examining the role of the photosensitive pigment phytochrome in the regulation of this tropism in both roots and stems. We have had a series of past spaceflight projects which used microgravity as a tool to understand the mechanisms of tropistic responses. Currently, we have been approved by NASA for several new experiments on the International Space Station to investigate plant tropisms. Our long-term goal is to understand how plants integrate sensory input from multiple light and gravity perception systems. We welcome inquiries from both undergraduates and graduate students who are interested in these topics.
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Postdoctoral Fellow, Ohio State University
Ph.D., Rutgers University
B.S., Georgetown University
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Selected publications:

Kiss J.Z. 2015. Conducting plant experiments in space. Methods in Molecular Biology 1309: 255-283.

Vandenbrink J.P., J.Z. Kiss, R. Herranz, F.J. Medina. 2014. Light and gravity signals synergize in modulating plant development. Frontiers in Plant Science 5:563. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00563

Kiss J.Z. 2014. Plant biology in reduced gravity on the Moon and Mars. Plant Biology 16(S1): 12–17

Kiss J.Z., G. Aanes, M. Schiefloe, L.H.F. Coelho, K.D.L. Millar, R.E. Edelmann. 2014. Changes in operational procedures to improve spaceflight experiments in plant biology in the European Modular Cultivation System. Advances in Space Research 53: 818–827.

Correll M.J., T.P. Pyle, K.D.L. Millar, Y. Sun, J. Yao, R.E. Edelmann, J.Z. Kiss. 2013. Transcriptome analyses of Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings grown in space: implications for gravity-responsive genes. Planta 238: 519-533.

Millar K.D.L., J.Z. Kiss. 2013. Analyses of tropistic responses using metabolomics. American Journal of Botany 100: 79-90.

Kiss J.Z., K.D.L. Millar, R.E. Edelmann. 2012. Phototropism of Arabidopsis thaliana in microgravity and fractional gravity on the International Space Station. Planta 236:635–645

Hopkins J.A.**, J.Z. Kiss. 2012. Phototropism and gravitropism in transgenic lines of Arabidopsis altered in the phytochrome pathway. Physiologia Plantarum 145: 461–473.

Millar K.D.L., C.M. Johnson**, R.E. Edelmann, J.Z. Kiss. 2011. An endogenous growth pattern of roots is revealed in seedlings grown in microgravity. Astrobiology 11:787–797

Kiss J.Z., K.D.L. Millar, P. Kumar, R.E. Edelmann, M.J. Correll. 2011. Improvements in the re-flight of spaceflight experiments on plant tropisms. Advances in Space Research 47:545–552.

Millar K.D.L., P. Kumar, M.J. Correll, J.L. Mullen, R.P. Hangarter, R.E. Edelmann, J.Z. Kiss 2010. A novel phototropic response to red light is revealed in microgravity. New Phytologist 186 :648-656.

Reboulet J.C**., Kumar P., J.Z. Kiss. 2010. DIS1 and DIS2 play a role in tropisms in Arabidopsis thaliana. Environmental and Experimental Botany 67: 474–478.

Molas M.L.**, J.Z. Kiss. 2008. PKS1 plays a role in red-light-based positive phototropism in roots. Plant Cell Environment 31:842–849.

Kumar N.S.**, M.H.H. Stevens, J.Z. Kiss. 2008. Plastid movement in statocytes of the arg1 (altered response to gravity) mutant. American Journal of Botany 95:177–184.

Molas M.L.**, J.Z. Kiss, M.J. Correll. 2006. Gene profiling of the red-light signaling pathways in roots. Journal of Experimental Botany 57:3217–3229.

Kiss J.Z. 2006. Up, down, and all around: how plants sense and respond to environmental stimuli. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 103: 829–830

** = graduate student authors

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