Dr. Marna Yandeau-Nelson

Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology

Dr. Yandeau-Nelson received her B.S. in Biology from Drake University in 1998 and her Ph.D. in Genetics in 2005 from Iowa State University. Her graduate thesis work characterized meiotic recombination in maize. As a postdoctoral scholar at Penn State University from 2005-2008, her work focused on the genetics of starch biosynthesis in maize.  In 2009, she returned to Iowa State University as an Associate Scientist and Graduate Faculty in the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology, and the NSF-Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC).  She is a co-founder of two biotechnology start-up companies.  She joined the faculty of the Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology Department in 2014.

Research in the Yandeau-Nelson group focuses on the dissection of genetic networks that underlie metabolic processes in plants (maize) and microbes (yeast and bacteria). We aim to understand how natural genetic variation in or manipulation of these networks impact how organisms respond to environmental cues. Our interdisciplinary research directions integrate classical and molecular genetics, plant biology and genetics, biochemistry, metabolomics, computational biology and bioinformatic approaches. Our work has potential practical applications in the development of biorenewable fuels and chemicals, as well as plant breeding for protection of crops against environmental stresses.


Surface Lipid Metabolome on Maize Silks

NSF Engineering Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC)


Area of Expertise: 
Genetic and Metabolic Networks
Maize Genetics
B.S., Biology, Drake University
Ph.D., Genetics, Iowa State University
4138 Biorenewables Lab