James Umen

James Umen

Adjunct Professor of Biology
research interests:
  • Evolution
  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Size Control
  • Cell Division
  • Sexual Dimorphism

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
  • Campus Box 1137
  • One Brookings Drive
  • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
image of book cover

Using algae as a primary experimental system, Professor Umen's researches cell size control, cell growth regulation and carbon partitioning, and evolution of multicellularity.

He utilizes the unique properties of the model green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and its multicellular relatives, including Volvox carteri, to investigate questions at the interfaces of evolution, developmental biology, cell biology, and metabolism. 

Selected Publications:

Geng S, Miyagi A, Umen JG. (2018) Evolutionary divergence of the sex-determining gene MID uncoupled from the transition to anisogamy in volvocine algae. Development, doi: 10.1242/dev.162537. 

Matt GY, Umen JG. (2018) Cell-Type Transcriptomes of the Multicellular Green Alga
Volvox carteri Yield Insights into the Evolutionary Origins of Germ and Somatic
Differentiation Programs. G3 (Bethesda), 8(2):531-550. doi: 10.1534/g3.117.300253. 

Hamaji, T., Kawai-Toyooka, H., Uchimura, H., Suzuki, M., Noguchi, H., Minakuchi, Y., Toyoda, A., Fujiyama, A., Miyagishima, S.-Y., Umen, J. G., and Nozaki, H. (2018) Anisogamy Evolved with a Reduced Sex-Determining Region in Volvocine Green Algae. Communications Biology, 1(1):247. doi:10.1038/s42003-018-0019-5.

Werth, E. G., McConnell, E. W., Gilbert, T. S. K., Couso Lianez, I., Perez, C. A., Manley, C. K., Graves, L. M., Umen, J. G., and Hicks, L. M. (2017) Probing the Global Kinome and Phosphoproteome in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii via Sequential Enrichment and Quantitative Proteomics. Plant J., 89(2):416-426. doi: 10.1111/tpj.13384.

López-Paz C, Liu D, Geng S, Umen JG. (2017) Identification of Chlamydomonas
reinhardtii endogenous genic flanking sequences for improved transgene
expression. Plant J., 92(6):1232-1244. doi: 10.1111/tpj.13731.

Couso, I., Evans, B. S., Li, J., Liu, Y., Ma, F., Diamond, S., et al. (2016). Synergism between Inositol Polyphosphates and TOR Kinase Signaling in Nutrient Sensing, Growth Control, and Lipid Metabolism in Chlamydomonas. The Plant Cell, 28(9), 2026–2042. http://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.16.00351

Matt, G., & Umen, J. G. (2016). Volvox: A simple algal model for embryogenesis, morphogenesis and cellular differentiation. Developmental Biology. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2016.07.014

Hamaji, T., Mogi, Y., Ferris, P. J., Mori, T., Miyagishima, S., Kabeya, Y., et al. (2016). Sequence of the Gonium pectorale Mating Locus Reveals a Complex and Dynamic History of Changes in Volvocine Algal Mating Haplotypes. G3 (Bethesda, Md.), 6(5), 1179–1189. http://doi.org/10.1534/g3.115.026229

Hamaji, T., Lopez, D., Pellegrini, M., & Umen, J. G. (2016). Identification and Characterization of a cis-Regulatory Element for Zygotic Gene Expression in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. G3 (Bethesda, Md.), 6(6), 1541–1548. http://doi.org/10.1534/g3.116.029181

Li, Y., Liu, D., Lopez-Paz, C., Olson, B. J., & Umen, J. G. (2016). A new class of cyclin dependent kinase in Chlamydomonas is required for coupling cell size to cell division. eLife, 5, 2104. http://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.10767