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Amy Marshall-Colon

Profile picture for Amy Marshall-Colon

Contact Information

1201 W. Gregory Dr.
Urbana, IL 61801

Associate Professor

Research Description

Integrative modeling to investigate the multi-scale regulation of crop response to genetic and environmental perturbations.

A critical problem facing crop science today is determining and predicting the effects of environmental stress on important plant traits. Nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) is an important crop trait defined as the ratio between the amount of N fertilizer removed from the field by a crop and the amount of N fertilizer applied. Currently, major crops in managed systems only take up 30-50% of the applied N fertilizer, and the rest is lost to evaporation and leaching leading to both air and water pollution. Recent studies have shown that crop NUE will decline even further due to factors associated with global climate change such as higher temperatures and atmospheric CO2 and extremes in water availability (drought and floods). To fully understand and manage environmental impacts on NUE and other important crop traits such as biomass and yield, integrative approaches are needed to identify the underlying genetics contributing to NUE and explore the molecular mechanisms by which it is regulated. To address these questions and better understand how plant genotype translates to observed molecular phenotypes and traits, I apply a systems biology approach to explore two distinct but connected focus areas:

  1. cross-communication among signaling pathways; and
  2. integrative and multiscale modeling to analyze gene-by-environment interactions.


NIH-NRSA Fellow, 2010-2013, New York University, New York, NY
Ph.D. 2009, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
M.S. 2002, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
B.S. 2000, Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN

Awards and Honors

List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students
Teaching Tools in Plant Biology Competition winner
Joseph B. Hawkes Research Award, University of Illinois
National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) Faculty Fellowship, University of Illinois

Additional Campus Affiliations

Associate Professor, Plant Biology
Assistant Professor, Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment
Associate Professor, National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA)
Affiliate, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Recent Publications

Fu, J., McKinley, B., James, B., Chrisler, W., Markillie, L. M., Gaffrey, M. J., Mitchell, H. D., Riaz, M. R., Marcial, B., Orr, G., Swaminathan, K., Mullet, J., & Marshall-Colon, A. (Accepted/In press). Cell-type-specific transcriptomics uncovers spatial regulatory networks in bioenergy sorghum stems. Plant Journal.

Eckardt, N. A., Cutler, S., Juenger, T. E., Marshall-Colon, A., Udvardi, M., & Verslues, P. E. (2023). Focus on climate change and plant abiotic stress biology. The Plant cell, 35(1), 1-3. Article koac329.

Batstone, R. T., Lindgren, H., Allsup, C. M., Goralka, L. A., Riley, A. B., Grillo, M. A., Marshall-Colon, A., & Heath, K. D. (2022). Genome-Wide Association Studies across Environmental and Genetic Contexts Reveal Complex Genetic Architecture of Symbiotic Extended Phenotypes. mBio, 13(6).

Eshel, G., Duppen, N., Wang, G., Oh, D. H., Kazachkova, Y., Herzyk, P., Amtmann, A., Gordon, M., Chalifa-Caspi, V., Oscar, M. A., Bar-David, S., Marshall-Colon, A., Dassanayake, M., & Barak, S. (2022). Positive selection and heat-response transcriptomes reveal adaptive features of the Brassicaceae desert model, Anastatica hierochuntica. New Phytologist, 236(3), 1006-1026.

Hetti-Arachchilage, M., Challa, G. S., & Marshall-Colón, A. (2022). Rewiring Network Plasticity to Improve Crops. In Plant Breeding Reviews (pp. 143-183). (Plant Breeding Reviews; Vol. 45). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd..

View all publications on Illinois Experts