skip to main content columnskip to left navigationskip to horizontal navigation

Biological Sciences

College of Arts & Sciences

Profile Image

Aruna  Kilaru 

Associate Professor
423-439-5601 /
Brown Hall, Room 427

Research Interest:

Our group aims to improve crop productivity by modifying lipid metabolism for storage oil biosynthesis and stress responses. To accomplish this, we study lipid synthesis and signaling at biochemical, cellular, physiological and molecular level. Specifically, our research aims to elucidate 1) the regulation of content and composition of nutritionally rich storage oils, and 2) lipid-mediated stress response pathways in plants. A wide range of tools from scanning electron microscopy to “omic” approaches is utilized to address our research questions. Our focus on understanding the central aspects of plant lipid synthesis and signaling is expected to generate tools necessary to develop crops that are stress tolerant and with improved oil and energy content and overall yield. For more information, please visit Dr. Kilaru's Laboratory Webpage

Graduate and undergraduate students interested in research in the areas of plant biochemistry and molecular biology are highly encouraged to contact me by email. 

Selected Publications:

Zhang Q-Y, Yu R, Xie L-H, Rahman MMd$, Kilaru A, Niu L-X and Zhang Y-L (2018) Fatty acid and associated gene expression analyses of three tree peony species reveals key genes for α-linolenic acid synthesis in seeds. Frontiers in Plant Science 9:106 DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2018.00106

Kilaru A#, Cao X, Dabbs PB, Sung H, Rahman MMd, Thrower N, Zynda G, Podicheti R, Ibarra-Laclette E, Herrera-Estrella L, Mockaitis K, and Ohlrogge JB (2015) Oil biosynthesis in a basal angiosperm: Transcriptome analysis of Persea americana mesocarp. BMC Plant Biology 15: 203 (**corresponding author)

Kilaru A#, Tamura P*, Isaac G, Welti R, Venables BJ, Seier E, and Chapman KD (2012) Lipidomic analysis of N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine molecular species in Arabidopsis suggests feedback regulation by N-acylethanolamines. Planta 236: 809-824 32 (* co-first author; #corresponding author)

Troncoso-Ponce M, Kilaru A*, Cao X, Durrett TP, Fan J, Jensen J, Thrower N, Pauly M, Wilkerson C and Ohlrogge J (2011) Comparative deep transcriptional profiling of four developing oilseeds. Plant Journal 68: 1014-27 32 (* co-first author)

Bourgis F, Kilaru A*, Cao X, Ngando G, Drira N, Ohlrogge J and Arondel V (2011) Comparative transcriptome and metabolite analysis of oil and date palm mesocarp that differ dramatically in carbon partitioning. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 108:12527-32 (* co-first author)

Kilaru A#, Herrfurth C, Keereetaweep J, Hornung E, Venables BJ, Feussner I and Chapman KD (2011) Lipoxygenase mediated oxidation of polyunsaturated N-acylethanolamines in Arabidopsis Journal of Biological Chemistry 286:15205-14 (#corresponding author)

Kilaru A and Hasenstein KH (2005) Development and pathogenicity of the fungus Crinipellis perniciosa on interaction with cacao leaves. Phytopathology 95: 101-107 (Featured cover)


  • Plant Biology (BIOL3420)
  • Biochemistry of Macromolecules (BIOL4147/5147)
icon for left menu icon for right menu