Michael J. Scanlon
Professor of Plant Biology
Michael J. Scanlon




Department of Plant Biology
140 Emerson Hall (Office)
412 Mann Library (Mailing Address)
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853


Web Sites

Lab Website

Department Profile


Mike Scanlon received his Ph.D. in Genetics in 1993 from Iowa State University, and was an NSF postdoctoral fellow at University of California-Berkeley from 1993-1997. Mike joined the faculty of the Plant Biology Department at the University of Georgia in September 1997, and moved his lab to the Department of Plant Biology at Cornell University in January 2006.

Research Description

Research in the Scanlon lab focuses on mechanisms of plant development and the evolution of plant morphology. The development of all above ground (shoot) organs in plants is dependent upon the activity of shoot meristems, small populations of pluripotent stem cells that are established in the embryo and maintained throughout the plant life cycle. Utilizing comparative developmental genetics and functional genomics, we are especially interested in understanding the evolution of developmental mechanisms whereby meristems make leaves and embryos make meristems. Our lab exploits leaf and embryo mutants of maize, Arabidopsis and tomato as the foundation for comparative studies of these fundamental processes in plant development.


  • Woodward, J. B., Abeydeera, D., Paul, D., Phillips, K., Rapala-Kozik, M., Freeling, M., Begley, T. P., Ealick, E. E., McSteen, P., Scanlon, M. J. A maize thiamine auxotroph is defective in shoot meristem maintenance. In review.
  • Douglas, R. N., *Wiley, D., Springer, N., Scanlon, M. J. 2010. ragged seedling2 encodes an ARGONAUTE7-like protein that is required to localize miR390 in the maize shoot apex. Plant Cell 10.1105/tpc.109.071613
  • Ji, J., Strable, J., Shimizu, R., Koenig, D., Sinha, N., Scanlon, M. J. 2010. WOX4 promotes procambial development. Plant Physiology 152: 1346-1356.
  • Petsch, K. A., Ma, C., Scanlon, M. J#., and Jorgensen, R. A. 2009. Targeted forward mutagenesis by transitive RNAi. The Plant Journal 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2009.04104.
  • Yi Jia, Y., Lisch, D. R., Ohtsu, K., Scanlon, M. J., Nettleton, D., Schnable, P. S. (2009) Loss of RNA-dependent RNA Polymerase 2 (RDR2) Function Causes Widespread and Unexpected Changes in the Expression of Transposons, Genes and 24-nt small RNAs. PLoS Genetics 5:| e1000737.
  • Brooks, L., Strable, J., Elshire, R.J., Zhang, X., Ohtsu, K., Sarkar, A., Hargreaves, S., *Eudy, D., Pawlowska, T., Nettleton, D., Buckner, B., Janick-Buckner, D., Timmermans, M., Schnable, P. S. and Scanlon, M. J. 2009. Microdissection of shoot meristem functional domains. PLoS Genetics 5: e1000476.
  • Strable. J. and Scanlon, M. J 2009. "Zea mays: a model organism for basic and applied research in plant biology." in Cold Spring Harbor Protocols, Cold Spring Harbor Press, Cold Spring Harbor, USA. doi:10.1101/pdb.emo132.
  • Scanlon, M. J., Ohtsu, K., Timmermans, M. C. P. and Schnable, P. S. 2009. "Chapter 25A: Laser Microdissection-Mediated Isolation and in vitro Transcriptional Amplification of Plant RNA.” Chapter 25: Unit 25 A.3 in Current Protocols in Molecular Biology. F. M. Ausubel et al., Eds. John Wiley and Sons, Malden, USA.
  • Shimizu, R., Ji, J.,*Kelsey, E. and Scanlon, M. J. 2009. Tissue specificity and evolution of meristematic WOX3 function. Plant Physiology 149: 841-850.
  • Woodward, J. B. and Scanlon, M. J. 2009. "Apical Development in Plants" pp. 23-26 in McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology 2009. J. Weil Ed. McGraw-Hill, New York, USA
  • Zhang X, Madi S, Borsuk L, Nettleton D, Elshire RJ, Buckner B, Janick-Buckner D, Beck J, Timmermans M, Schnable PS, Scanlon MJ 2007. Laser microdissection of narrow sheath mutant maize uncovers novel gene expression in the shoot apical meristem. PLoS Genet 3(6):e101.
  • Henderson, D. C., Zhang, X., Brooks, L. and Scanlon, M. J. 2006. RAGGED SEEDLING2 is Required for Normal Expression of KANADI2 and REVOLUTA homologues in the Maize Shoot Apex. Genesis: J of Genetics and Development 44: 372-382.
  • Fu, S., Rogowsky, P., Lutz, N., Scanlon, M.J. 2006. The maize heat shock factor-binding protein paralogs EMP2 and HSBP2 interact non-redundantly with specific heat shock factors.Planta 22: 42-52.
  • Henderson, D.C., Muehlbauer, G.J., Scanlon, M.J. 2005. Radial leaves of the maize mutantragged seedling2 retain dorsiventral anatomy. Developmental Biology 282: 455-466.
  • Nardmann, J. and Ji, J., Werr, W. and Scanlon, M. J. 2004. The maize duplicate genes narrow sheath1 and narrow sheath2 encode a conserved homeobox gene function in a lateral domain of shoot apical meristems. Development 13: 2827.
  • Fu, S. and Scanlon, M. J. 2004. Clonal Mosaic Analysis of EMPTY PERICARP2 Reveals Nonredundant Functions of the Duplicated HEAT SHOCK FACTOR BINDING PROTEINs During Maize Shoot Development. Genetics 167:1381.
  • Scanlon, M. J. 2003. The Polar Auxin Transport Inhibitor NPA Disrupts Leaf Initiation, KNOX Protein Regulation, and Formation of Leaf Margins in Maize. Plant Phys. 133: 597.
  • Fu, S., Meeley, R. and Scanlon, M. J. 2002. empty pericarp2 encodes a negative regulator of the heat shock response and is required for early stages of maize embryogenesis. Plant Cell 14:3119.
  • Scanlon, M. J., Henderson, D. C. and Bernstein, B. 2002. SEMAPHORE1 functions during the regulation of ancestrally-duplicated knox genes and polar auxin transport in maize. Development 129: 2663.
  • Scanlon, M. J. 2000. NARROW SHEATH1 functions from discrete meristematic foci during recruitment of leaf founder cells in maize. Development 127: 4573-4585.