Department of Biology

Dr. Alan Jones

Kenan Distinguished Professor

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

I am currently accepting applications for PhD students for scientific exchange (J-1 visa status).  Students who apply must have received a scholarship from the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC) to support their stay in the US and to work in my laboratory for 6-24 months. 

G-protein Signaling in Arabidopsis


My lab uses the model organism,  Arabidopsis, to understand signal transduction mechanisms involving heterotrimeric G proteins.  G proteins couple signaling in a wide variety of biological contexts such as guard cell physiology, multi-signal regulation of seed germination, root development, stress responses, and auxin-regulated cell proliferation. The Arabidopsis G protein pathway has several unique properties that make it ideal for understanding general principles of G signaling in eukaryotes (human health) as well as the plant-specific aspects that are important for agriculture.

My lab uses a multidisciplinary approach: Combinatorial Chemistries, Cell Biology, Protein Modeling, Protein Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physiology, Pharmacology, and Genetics. For example, we use biochemistry and protein modeling to determine the requisite structure for the unique properties of plant G protein elements. This includes obtaining crystal structures of worthwhile proteins or protein domains. We also use sophisticated microscopies to study how the spatial and temporal changes in G protein elements lead to signaling or desensitization. We take genetic approaches using Arabidopsis, including forward, reverse genetics and suppressor screens.

Applicants should apply to Dr. Alan Jones at: alan_jones at

The University of North Carolina is located in Chapel Hill NC.  The very brightest students attend this university. UNC is ranked 5th best public university in the United States (out of ~600).  Facts about Carolina can be found at:


Chapel Hill NC is a great place to live.  The climate is temperate with four lovely seasons.  Chapel Hill is located 2 hours from the beaches and 2 hours from the mountains.  Chapel Hill and the surrounding area have a multitude of recreational opportunities.   More about Chapel Hill and the nearby area can be found at:


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