Joanna Chiu, Ph.D.

 Joanna   Chiu, Ph.D.


  • Associate Professor
  • Entomology and Nematology

Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Chronobiology

Research Summary

Research in my laboratory focuses on animal circadian clock and its control over organismal physiology. Besides being indispensable for the control of daily activities, such as the sleep-wake cycle, locomotor activity, hormone circulation and food intake, defects in circadian rhythms and clock genes have also been implicated in a wide range of human disorders, including chronic sleep orders, various forms of depression, metabolic syndromes, as well as susceptibility to cancer and drug and alcohol addiction. Using a combination of biochemical, molecular genetics, and proteomic approaches, our goal is to dissect the molecular network and cellular mechanisms that control the circadian oscillator in animals, and investigate how this molecular oscillator interact with the environment and cellular metabolism to drive rhythms of physiology and behavior.

Selected Publications

Kwok, R.S., V.H. Lam, J.C. Chiu (2016). Understanding the role of chromatin remodeling in the regulation of circadian transcription in Drosophila. FLY; DOI: 10.1080/19336934.2016.1143993.

Shearer, P.W., J.D. West, V.M. Walton, P.H. Brown; N. Svetec, J.C. Chiu (2016). Seasonal cues induce phenotypic plasticity of Drosophila suzukii to enhance winter survival. BMC Ecology 16:11. doi:10.1186/s12898-016-0070-3

Maliti D.V., C.D. Marsden, B.J. Main, N.J. Govella, Y. Yamasaki, T.C. Collier, K. Kreppel, J.C. Chiu, G.C. Lanzaro, H.M. Ferguson, Y. Lee (2016). Investigating associations between biting time in the malaria vector Anopheles arabiensis Patton and single nucleotide polymorphisms in circadian clock genes: support for sub-structure among An. arabiensis in the Kilobero valley of Tanzania. Parasites & vectors 9(1):109.

Yildirim, E., J.C. Chiu, I. Edery (2016). Identification of light-sensitive phosphorylation sites on PERIOD that regulate the pace of circadian rhythms in Drosophila. Mol. Cell. Biol. 36(6): 855-870.

Murphy, K.A., C.A. Tabuloc, K.R. Cervantes, J.C. Chiu (2016). Ingestion of genetically modified yeast symbiont reduces fitness of an insect pest via RNA interference. Sci. Rep. 6, 22587; DOI: 10.1038/srep22587.

Kwok, R.S., Y.H. Li, A.J. Lei, I. Edery, J.C. Chiu (2015). The catalytic and non-catalytic functions of the Brahma chromatin-remodeling protein collaborate to fine-tune circadian transcription in Drosophila. PLoS Genetics 11(7):e1005307.

Svetec, N., L. Zhao, P. Saelao, J.C. Chiu, D.J. Begun (2015). Evidence that natural selection maintains genetic variation for sleep in Drosophila melanogaster. BMC Evol. Biol. 15(1):316. doi: 10.1186/s12862-015-0316-2

Neafsey, D.E., R.M. Waterhouse, M.R. Abai, [.........], J.C. Chiu, [........], N.J. Besansky (2015). Highly evolvable malaria vectors: The genomes of 16 Anopheles mosquitoes. Science 347(6217):1258522.

Chiu, J. C., X. Jiang, L. Zhao, C. A. Hamm, J. M. Cridland, P. Saelao, K. A. Hamby, E. K. Lee, R. S. Kwok, G. Zhang, F. G. Zalom, V. M. Walton, and D. J. Begun (2013). Genome of Drosophila suzukii, the Spotted Wing Drosophila. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 3(12):2257-71. doi: 10.1534/g3.113.008185.

Johnson, B. R., M. L. Borowiec, J. C. Chiu, E. K. Lee, J. Atallah, and P. S. Ward (2013). Phylogenomics resolves evolutionary relationships among ants, bees, and wasps. Curr. Biol. 23(20):1-5.

Hamby, K. A., R. S. Kwok, F. G. Zalom, and J. C. Chiu (2013). Integrating circadian activity and gene expression profiles to predict chronotoxicity of Drosophila suzukii response to insecticides. PLoS ONE 8(7): e68472. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068472.

Chiu, J. C., H. W. Ko, and I. Edery (2011). NEMO/NLK phosphorylates PERIOD to initiate a time-delay phosphorylation circuit that sets circadian clock speed. Cell 145(3):357-370.

Chiu, J. C., K. H. Low, D. H. Pike, E. Yildirim, and I. Edery (2010). Assaying locomotor activity to study circadian rhythms and sleep parameters in Drosophila. J Vis. Exp. 43.

Ko, H. W., E. Y. Kim, J. C. Chiu, J. T. Vanselow, A. Kramer, and I. Edery (2010). A hierarchical phosphorylation cascade that regulates the timing of PERIOD nuclear entry reveals novel roles for proline-mediated kinases and GSK-3ß/SGG in circadian clocks. J. Neurosci. 30:12664-12675.

Chiu, J. C., J. T. Vanselow, A. Kramer, and I. Edery (2008). The phospho-occupancy of an atypical SLIMB binding site on PERIOD that is phosphorylated by DOUBLETIME controls the pace of the clock. Genes. Dev. 22(13):1758-1772.


UC Davis Genome Center

Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (BMCDB)

Integrated Genetics and Genomics (IGG)

Animal Behavior Graduate Group (ABGG)

Neurosicence Graduate Group