Dr. Vollbrecht received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1997, studying genetic mechanisms of plant reproduction and molecular genetic regulation of plant development. He was then a DOE-Energy Biosciences post doctoral fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. At Iowa State, Vollbrecht is studying plant developmental mechanisms.
My research interests include understanding molecular mechanisms of plant development and their evolution, and developing genomics tools to advance that goal. We focus on floral shoot branching in maize as an experimental system. The tassel and ear of maize are attractive for this research because they produce grain that is an important food and industrial commodity, because they are excellent models for other cereals and because of the research tools available in maize. We identify genes important for floral branching in maize by a variety of approaches, use molecular techniques to understand the function of the gene product, and examine gene function in a broad, comparative context to evaluate its relevance to changes in crops during evolution, domestication and breeding. The genetic pathway regulating floral shoot branching that we identified is unique to and conserved among the cereal crops. Current work elucidates genes involved in that pathway, and how they function in different grasses. Much of this work relies an the analysis of mutants to determine gene function. In a separate project, we are generating a large collection of transposon-induced, sequence-indexed, non-transgenic, single gene knockout lines in maize. These gene knockouts are publicly available to all researchers.
- Dong Z, Li W, Unger-Wallace E, Yang J, Vollbrecht E, Chuck G. (2017). Ideal crop plant architecture is mediated by tassels replace upper ears1, a BTB/POZ ankyrin repeat gene directly targeted by TEOSINTE BRANCHED1. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 114(41), E8656-E8664.
- Strable J, Wallace JG, Unger-Wallace E, Briggs S, Bradbury PJ, Buckler ES, Vollbrecht E. (2017). Maize YABBY Genes drooping leaf1 and drooping leaf2 Regulate Plant Architecture. Plant Cell, 29(7), 1622-1641.
- Char SN, Unger-Wallace E, Frame B, Briggs SA, Main M, Spalding MH, Vollbrecht E, Wang K, Yang B. (2015). Heritable site-specific mutagenesis using TALENs in maize. Plant Biotechnol J 13(7), 1002-10.
- Pautler M, Eveland AL, LaRue T, Yang F, Weeks R, Lunde C, Je BI, Meeley R, Komatsu M, Vollbrecht E, Sakai H, Jackson D. (2015). FASCIATED EAR4 encodes a bZIP transcription factor that regulates shoot meristem size in maize. Plant Cell 27(1), 104-20.
- Yi G, Neelakandan AK, Gontarek BC, Vollbrecht E, Becraft PW. (2015). The naked endosperm genes encode duplicate INDETERMINATE domain transcription factors required for maize endosperm cell patterning and differentiation. Plant Physiol 167(2), 443-56.
- Chettoor AM, Givan SA, Cole RA, Coker CT, Unger-Wallace E, Vejlupkova Z, Vollbrecht E, Fowler JE, Evans MM. (2014). Discovery of novel transcripts and gametophytic functions via RNA-seq analysis of maize gametophytic transcriptomes. Genome Biol 15(7), 414.
- Eveland AL, Goldshmidt A, Pautler M, Morohashi K, Liseron-Monfils C, Lewis MW, Kumari S, Hiraga S, Yang F, Unger-Wallace E, Olson A, Hake S, Vollbrecht E, Grotewold E, Ware D, Jackson D. (2013). Regulatory modules controlling maize inflorescence architecture. Genome Res 24(3), 431-43.
- McGrail M, Hatler JM, Kuang X, Liao HK, Nannapaneni K, Watt KE, Uhl JD, Largaespada DA, Vollbrecht E, Scheetz TE, Dupuy AJ, Hostetter JM, Essner JJ. (2011). Somatic mutagenesis with a Sleeping Beauty transposon system leads to solid tumor formation in zebrafish. PLoS ONE 6(4), e18826.
- Gallavotti A, Long JA, Stanfield S, Yang X, Jackson D, Vollbrecht E, Schmidt RJ. (2010). The control of axillary meristem fate in the maize ramosa pathway. Development 137(17), 2849-56.
- Vollbrecht E, Duvick J, Schares JP, Ahern KR, Deewatthanawong P, Xu L, Conrad LJ, Kikuchi K, Kubinec TA, Hall BD, Weeks R, Unger-Wallace E, Muszynski M, Brendel VP, Brutnell TP. (2010). Genome-wide distribution of transposed Dissociation elements in maize. Plant Cell 22(6), 1667-85.
- Sigmon B, Vollbrecht E. (2010). Evidence of selection at the ramosa1 locus during maize domestication. Mol Ecol 19(7), 1296-311.
- Ahern KR, Deewatthanawong P, Schares J, Muszynski M, Weeks R, Vollbrecht E, Duvick J, Brendel VP, Brutnell TP. (2009). Regional mutagenesis using Dissociation in maize. Methods 49(3), 248-54.
- Vollbrecht E, and RJ Schmidt. 2009. Development of the Inflorescences. In Handbook of Maize: Its Biology (New York: Springer) pp. 13-40.
- Bortiri E, Chuck G, Vollbrecht E, Rocheford T, Martienssen R, Hake S. (2006). ramosa2 encodes a LATERAL ORGAN BOUNDARY domain protein that determines the fate of stem cells in branch meristems of maize. Plant Cell 18(3), 574-85.
- Vollbrecht E and B Sigmon (2005). Amazing grass: developmental genetics of maize domestication. Biochem Soc Trans 33(6):1502-6.
- Vollbrecht E, Springer PS, Goh L, Buckler ES, Martienssen R. (2005). Architecture of floral branch systems in maize and related grasses. Nature 436:1119-26.
- Bommert P, Lunde C, Nardmann J, Vollbrecht E, Running M, Jackson D, Hake S, Werr W. (2005). thick tassel dwarf1 encodes a putative maize ortholog of the Arabidopsis CLAVATA1 leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase. Development 132(6): 1235-45.
- May BP, Liu H, Vollbrecht E, Senior L, Rabinowicz PD, Roh D, Pan X, Stein L, Freeling M, Alexander D, Martienssen R. (2003). Maize-targeted mutagenesis: A knockout resource for maize. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100(20): 11541-6.
- Vollbrecht E, Reiser L, Hake S. (2000). Shoot meristem size is dependent on inbred background and presence of the maize homeobox gene, knotted1. Development 127(14): 3161-72.
- Vollbrecht E and S Hake. 1995. Deficiency analysis of female gametogenesis in maize. Developmental Genetics 16:44-63.
- Kerstetter R, Vollbrecht E, Lowe B, Veit B, Yamaguchi J, Hake S. (1994). Sequence analysis and expression patterns divide the maize knotted1-like homeobox genes into two classes. Plant Cell 6(12): 1877-87.
- Vollbrecht E, Veit B, Sinha N, and S Hake. 1991. The developmental gene Knotted-1 is a member of a maize homeobox gene family. Nature 350:241-243.