Joshua Widhalm

Joshua Widhalm Profile Picture

Assistant Professor
Ph.D. Agronomy via the Center for Plant Science Innovation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2011

Contact Info:
HORT 112

Training Group(s):
Plant Biology

Active Mentor - currently hosting PULSe students for laboratory rotations and recruiting PULSe students into the laboratory; serves on preliminary exam committees

Current Research Interests:

Plant natural product metabolism, synthetic biology, functional genomics.

Selected Publications:

Auber, R. P., Suttiyut, T., McCoy, R. M., Ghaste, M., Crook, J. W., Pendleton, A. L., Widhalm, J.R., & Wisecaver, J. H. (in press) Hybrid de novo genome assembly of red gromwell (Lithospermum erythrorhizon) reveals evolutionary insight into shikonin biosynthesis. Horticulture Research.

McCoy, R. M., Meyer, G. W., Rhodes, D., Murray, G. C., Sors, T. G., & Widhalm, J. R. (2020). Exploratory Study on the Foliar Incorporation and Stability of Isotopically Labeled Amino Acids Applied to Turfgrass. Agronomy, 10(3), p. 358. MDPI AG.

Li, Y., Brooks, M., Yeoh-Wang, J., McCoy, R. M., Rock, T. M., Pasquino, A., ... Coruzzi, G. M. (2020). SDG8-Mediated Histone Methylation and RNA Processing Function in the Response to Nitrate Signaling. Plant physiology, 182(1), pp. 215-227.

Block, A. K., Yakubova, E., & Widhalm, J. R. (2019). Specialized naphthoquinones present in Impatiens glandulifera nectaries inhibit the growth of fungal nectar microbes. Plant Direct, 3(5), p. e00132.

Smith, S. D., Angelovici, R., Heyduk, K., Maeda, H. A., Moghe, G. D., Pires, J. C., ... Wisecaver, J. (2019). The renaissance of comparative biochemistry. American Journal of Botany, 106(1), pp. 3-13.

McCoy, R. M., Utturkar, S. M., Crook, J. W., Thimmapuram, J., & Widhalm, J. R. (2018). The origin and biosynthesis of the naphthalenoid moiety of juglone in black walnut. Horticulture Research, 5, p. 67.

Adebesin, F., Widhalm, J. R., Lynch, J. H., McCoy, R., & Doudareva, N. (2018). A peroxisomal thioesterase plays auxiliary roles in plant β-oxidative benzoic acid metabolism. Plant Journal, (pp. 905-916).

Henry, L. K., Thomas, S. T., Widhalm, J. R., Lynch, J. H., Davis, T. C., Kessler, S. A., ... Dudareva, N. (2018). Contribution of isopentenyl phosphate to plant terpenoid metabolism. Nature Plants, 4(9), pp. 721-729.

Adebesin, F., Widhalm, J. R., Boachon, B., Lefèvre, F., Pierman, B., Lynch, J. H., ... Doudareva, N. (2017). Emission of volatile organic compounds from petunia flowers is facilitated by an ABC transporter. (cover article). Science, 356(6345), pp. 1386-1388.

Widhalm, J. R., & Rhodes, D. (2016). Biosynthesis and molecular actions of specialized 1,4-naphthoquinone natural products produced by horticultural plants. Horticulture Research, 3, p. 16046.

Widhalm JR, Jaini, R, Morgan JA, and Dudareva N. (2015) Rethinking how volatiles are released from plant cells. Trends in Plant Science, 20(9):545-550.

Press release:,-not-just-physics,-controls-release-of-scent-compounds-from-plants.html

Widhalm JR, Gutensohn M, Yoo H, Adebesin F, Qian Y, Guo L, Jaini R, Lynch JH, McCoy RM, Shreve JT, Thimmapuram J, Rhodes D, Morgan JA, and Dudareva N. (2015) Identification of a plastidial phenylalanine exporter that influences flux distribution through the phenylalanine biosynthetic network. Nature Commun, 6:8142, DOI:10.1039/ncomms9142.

Widhalm JR and Dudareva N. (2015) A familiar ring to it: biosynthesis of plant benzoic acids. Mol Plant, 8(1):83-97.

Block A, Widhalm JR, Fatihi A, Cahoon RE, Wamboldt Y, Elowsky C, Mackenzie SA, Cahoon EB, Chapple C, Dudareva N, and Basset GJC (2014) The origin and biosynthesis of the benzenoid moiety of ubiquinone (coenzyme Q) in arabidopsis.  Plant Cell, 26(5):1938-1948.

Yoo, H, Widhalm JR, Qian Y, Maeda H, Cooper BR, Jannasch AS, Gonda I, Lewinsohn E, Rhodes D, Dudareva N (2013) A microbial-like pathway contributes to phenylalanine biosynthesis in plants via a cytosolic tyrosine:phenylpyruvate aminotransferase. Nature Commun, 4:2833, DOI:10.1038/ncomms3833.

Press release:

Furt F, Allen WJ, Widhalm JR, Madzelan P, Rizzo RC, Basset G, Wilson MA (2013) Functional convergence of structurally distinct thioesterases from cyanobacteria and plants involved in phylloquinone biosynthesis. Acta Crystallogr, Sect D: Biol Crystallogr (research paper), 69(Pt 10):1876-88.

Qualley AV, Widhalm JR, Adebesin F, Kish CM, Dudareva N (2012) Completion of the core b-oxidative pathway of benzoic acid biosynthesis in plants. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 109(40): 16383-8.     

Press release:

Widhalm JR, Ducluzeau AL, Buller NE, Elowsky CG, Olsen LJ, and Basset GJC (2012) Phylloquinone (Vitamin K1) biosynthesis in plants: two peroxisomal thioesterases of Lactobacillales origin hydrolyze 1,4-dihydroxy-2-naphthoyl-CoA. Plant J, 71(2): 205-15.

Klempien A, Kaminaga Y, Qualley A, Nagegowda DA, Widhalm JR, Orlova I, Shasany AK, Taguchi G, Kish CM, Cooper BR, D’Auriae JC, Rhodes D, Pichersky E, and Dudareva N (2012) The contribution of CoA ligases to the biosynthesis of benzenoids in petunia flowers. Plant Cell, 24(5): 2015-30.

Xu YZ, Arrieta-Montiel MP, Wamboldt YJ, Virdi K, de Paula WBM, Widhalm JR, Basset GJ, Davila JI, Elthon TE, Elowsky CG, Sato SJ, Clemente TE, and Mackenzie SA (2011) MSH1 is a nucleoid protein that alters mitochondrial and plastid properties and plant response to high light. Plant Cell, 23: 3428-41.

van Oostende C, Widhalm JR, Furt F, Ducluzeau AL, Basset GJC (2011) Phylloquinone (Vitamin K1): function, enzymes and genes. in Advances in Botanical Research, eds Fabrice Rébeillé and Roland Douce, 59: 229-61, Academic Press (Amsterdam).

Furt F, van Oostende C, Widhalm JR, Dale MA, Wertz J, and Basset GJC (2010) A bimodular oxidoreductase mediates the specific reduction of phylloquinone (vitamin K1) in chloroplasts.  Plant J, 64: 38-46.

Widhalm JR, van Oostende C, Furt F, and Basset GJC (2009) A dedicated thioesterase of the Hotdog-fold family is required for the biosynthesis of the naphthoquinone ring of vitamin K1. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 106(14): 5599–5603.

van Oostende C*,Widhalm JR*,and Basset GJC(2008)Detection and quantification of vitamin K1quinol in leaf tissues.Phytochemistry,69:2457–2462.  (*co-first author)

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