Skip to main content

Shawn Christensen

Director of Chromatography Center
Nutrition, Dietetics & Food Science

S125 ESC


Ph.D. Genetics, Biochemistry and Biophysics, Texas A&M University
M.S. Genetics and Biotechnology, Plant and Animal Sciences, Brigham Young University
B.S. Zoology, Brigham Young University


Ochola, J., Cortada, L., Mwaura, O., Chernet, M, Christensen, S.A., Ng'ang'a, M., Hassanali, A., Pirzada, T., Khan, S., Pal, L., Mathew, R., Guenther, D., Davis, E., Sit, T., Coyne, D., Opperman, C., and Torto, B. (2022). Wrap-and- plant technology to manage sustainably potato cyst nematodes in East Africa. Nature Sustainability. 5:425-433

Abraham-Juárez MJ, Busche M, Anderson AA, Lunde C, Winders J, Christensen SA, Hunter CT, Hake S, Brunkard JO (2022). Liguleless narrow and narrow odd dwarf act in overlapping pathways to regulate maize development & metabolism. Plant J. doi: 10.1111/tpj.15988

Tang, H.V., Berryman, D.L., Mendoza, J., Yactayo-Chang, J.P., Li, Q.-B., Christensen, S.A., Hunter, C.T., Best, N., Soubeyrand, E., Akhtar, T.A., Basset, G.J. and Block, A.K. (2022). Dedicated farnesyl diphosphate synthases circumvent isoprenoid-derived growth-defense tradeoffs in Zea maysPlant J.

Souza, D., Christensen, S.A., Wu, K. et al. (2022) RNAi-induced knockdown of white gene in the southern green stink bug (Nezara viridula L.). Sci Rep 12, 10396.

Yactayo-Chang, J.P.; Hunter, C.T.; Alborn, H.T.; Christensen, S.A.; Block, A.K. (2022). Production of the Green Leaf Volatile (Z)-3-Hexenal by a Zea mays Hydroperoxide Lyase. Plants 11, 2201

Christensen, S.A., Santana, E., Alborn, H.A., Block, A.K., and Chamberlain, C. (2021). Metabolomics by UHPLC-HRMS reveals the impact of heat stress on pathogen- elicited immunity in maize. Metabolomics 17(1):1-11

Block A.K., Tang H.V., Hopkins D., Mendoza J., Solemslie R.K., du Toit L.J., Christensen S.A. (2021). A maize leucine-rich repeat receptor-like protein kinase mediates responses to fungal attack. Planta. 16;254(4):73

Park Y.S., Borrego E.J., Gao X., Christensen S.A., Schmelz E., Lanubile A., Drab D.A., Cody W., Yan H., Shim W.B., Kolomiets M.V. (2021). Fusarium verticillioides Induces Maize-Derived Ethylene to Promote Virulence by Engaging Fungal G-Protein Signaling. Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 34(10):1157-1166

Pant, SR, Irigoyen, S, Liu, J, Bedre, RH, Christensen, S.A., Schmelz, EA, Sedbrook, J, Scholthof, KBG, and Mandadi, KK. (2021). Brachypodium phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) promotes antiviral defenses against Panicum mosaic virus and its satellites. Mbio 12(1)

Kim, S.B., Karre, S., Choi, H., Christensen, S.A., Wang, G.F., Jo, Y., Cho, W.K., Balint-Kurti, P. (2021). The transcriptomic and metabolomic response to Puccinia sorghi in near-isogenic resistant and susceptible maize lines. Molecular Plant Pathology 4:465-479

Ding, Y., Weckworth, P., Poretsky, E., Murphy, K., Sims, J., Saldivar, E., Christensen S.A., Yang, B., Char, S.N. Tong, A-D., Shen, Z., Kremling, K.A., Buckler, E.S., Kono, T., Nelson, D.R., Bohlmann, J., Bakker, M.G., Vaughan, M., Khalil, A.S., Betsiashvili, M., Zerbe, P., Schmelz, E.A., and Huffaker, A. (2020). Genetic elucidation of interconnected antibiotic pathways mediating maize innate immunity. Nature Plants 6(11):1375-1388

Block, A.K, Xin, Z., and Christensen, S.A. (2020). The 13-lipoxygenase MSD2 and the ω-3 fatty acid desaturase MSD3 impact Spodoptera frugiperda resistance in Sorghum. Planta 252(4):1-4

Yactayo Chang, J., Tang, H.V., Mendoza, J.S., Christensen, S.A., and Block, A.K. (2020). Plant defense chemicals against insect pests. Agronomy 10(8):1156

Gorman, Z., Christensen, S.A. Yan, Y., Ye, Y., Borrego, E. and Kolomiets, M.V. (2020). Green Leaf volatiles and jasmonic acid enhance susceptibility to anthracnose diseases caused by Colletotrichum graminicola in maize. Molecular Plant Pathology 21(5):702-715

Dampanaboina, L., Jiao, Y., Chen, J., Gladman, N.P., Burow, G.B., Yates, C.M., Christensen S.A., Burke, J.J., Ware, D., and Xin, Z. (2020). Sorghum MSD3 encodes omega-3 fatty acid desaturase that regulates grain number by reducing jasmonic acid levels. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 20:197

Hunter, C.T., Block, A., Christensen, S.A., Li, Q.B., Rering, C., Alborn, H.T., Beck, J. (2020). Setaria viridis as a model for translational genetic studies of jasmonic acid-dependent insect defenses in Zea mays. Plant Science 291:110329

Block, A., Hunter, C.T., Sattler, C.E., Rering, C., McDonald, S., Basset, G. and Christensen, S.A. (2020). Fighting on two fronts: Elevated insect resistance in flooded maize. Plant Cell and Environment 43(1):223-234

Block A.K., Vaughan M.M., Schmelz E.A. and Christensen S.A. (2019). Biosynthesis and function of terpenoid defense compounds in maize (Zea mays). Planta 249(1):21-30

Gladman, N.P., Jiao, Y., Lee, Y.K., Zhang, L., Chopra, R., Regulksi, M., Burow, G.B., Hayes, C.M., Christensen S.A., Dampanaboina, L., Chen, J., Burke, J.J., Ware, D., and Xin, Z. (2019). MSD2 controls spikelet fertility in Sorghum bicolor and is regulated by MDSD1. International Journal of Molecular Science 20(19):4951

Dampanaboina, L., Jiao, Y., Chen, J., Gladman, N.P., Burow, G.B., Yates, C.M., Christensen S.A., Burke, J.J., Ware, D., and Xin, Z. (2019). Sorghum MSD3 encodes omega-3 fatty acid desaturase that regulates grain number by reducing jasmonic acid levels. International Journal of Molecular Science 20(21):5359

Ding, Y., Murphy, K., Poretsky, E., Mafu, S., Yang, B., Char, S.N. Christensen S.A., Saldivar, E., Wu, M., Wang, Q., Ji, L., Schmitz, R.J., Kremling, K.A., Buckler, E.S., Shen, Z., Briggs, S.P., Bohlmann, J., Sher, A., Castro-Falcon, G., Hughes, C.C., Huffaker, A., Zerbe, P., and Schmelz, E.A. (2019). Multiple genes recruited from hormone pathways partition maize diterpenoid defenses. Nature Plants. DOI:10.1038/s41477-019-0509-6

He, Y., Christensen, S.A., Karre, S., Johal, G. and Balint-Kurti, P. (2019). A maize polygalacturonase functions as a suppressor of the hypersensitive response and programmed cell death in maize. BMC Plant Biology 19:310 DOI: 10.1186/s12870-019-1897-5

Jiao, Y., Lee, Y.K., Gladman, N., Chopra, R., Christensen, S.A., Burow, G., Hayes, C.M., Burke, J.J., Ware, D., Xin, Z., Refulski, M. (2018). MSD1 regulates pedicellate spikelet fertility through the jasmonic acid pathway in sorghum. Nature Communications DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03238-4.

Christensen, S.A., Sims, J., Vaughan, M., Hunter, C.T., Block, A., Willett, D., Alborn, H.T., Huffaker, A., and Schmelz, E.A. (2018). Commercial hybrids and mutant genotypes reveal complex protective roles for inducible terpenoid defenses in maize. Journal of Experimental Botany 69(7):1693-1705. 2018.

Chandrasekhar K., Distelfeld A., Christensen S.A., and Tzin V. (2018). Exploring the metabolic variation between domesticated and wild tetraploid wheat genotypes in response to corn leaf aphid infestation. Plant Signal. Behav. 13(6):e 1486148

Block A.K., Vaughan M.M., Schmelz E.A. and Christensen S.A. (2018). Biosynthesis and function of terpenoid defense compounds in maize (Zea mays). Planta doi: 10.1007/s00425-018-2999-2

Christensen, S.A., Hunter, C.T., and Block, A. (2018). “Pesticides on the inside: exploiting the natural chemical defenses of maize against insect and microbial pests” for Roles of Natural Products for Biorational Pesticides in Agriculture. American Chem. Soc. Symp. Book Series 1294 (6): 47-68.

Beck J.J., Alborn H.T., Block A., Christensen S.A., Hunter C.T., Rering C. C., Seidl-Adams I., Stuhl C.J., Torto B., and Tumlinson J.H. (2018). Interactions Between and Among Plants, Insects, and Microbes: Elucidation of Inter-Organismal Chemical Communications in Agricultural Ecology. J. Agric. Food. Chem 66, 26, 6663-6674

Veenstra A., Moola N., Wighard S., Korsman J., Christensen S.A. (2018). Rafudeen M. S., Murray S.L. Kauralexins and zealexins accumulate in sub-tropical maize lines and play a role in seedling resistance to Fusarium verticillioides. Eur. J. Plant Pathol.

Block, A., Hunter, C.T., Rering, C., Christensen, S.A. and Meagher, R.L. (2018). Contrasting Insect Attraction and Herbivore Induced Plant Volatile Production in Maize Inbred Lines. Planta (

Hunter C.T., Saunders, J., Magallanes-Lundback, M., Christensen, S.A., Willett, D., Stinard, P.S., Li, Q., Lee, K., Della Penna, D., Koch, K.E. (2018). Maize white seedling 3 results from disruption of homogentisate solanesyl transferase and reveals an alternative pathway for phytoene desaturation independent of plastoquinone-9. Plant Journal 93(5):799-813.

A Block, SA Christensen, CT Hunter, H Alborn. (2018). Herbivore derived fatty acid-amides elicit reactive oxygen species burst in plants. Journal of Experimental Botany 69(5):1235-1245

Christensen, S.A., Huffaker, A., Sims, J., Hunter, C.T., Block, A., Vaughan, M., Willett, D., Mylroie, J.E., Williams, W.P., and Schmelz, E.A. (2017). Fungal and herbivore elicitation of the novel maize sesquiterpenoid, zealexin A4, is attenuated by elevated CO2. Planta 247(4):863-873.

J Meyer, D Berger, SA Christensen, S Murray (2017). RNA-Seq analysis of resistant and susceptible sub-tropical maize lines reveals a role for kauralexins inresistance to grey leaf spot disease, caused by Cercospora zeina. BMC Plant Biol 17(1):1-20

V Tzin, Y Hojo, SR Strickler, LJ Bartsch, CM Archer, KR Ahern, Z Shaoqun, SA Christensen, I Galis, LA Mueller, G Jander (2017). Spodoptera exigua caterpillar feeding induces rapid defense responses in maize leaves Journal of Exp Bot. 68:4709-4723

MM Vaughan, A Block, SA Christensen, LH Hartwell, EA Schmelz (2017). The effects of climate change associated abiotic stresses on maize phytochemical defenses. Phytochemistry DOI 10.1007/s11101-017-9508-2

A Block, MM Vaughan, SA Christensen, HT Alborn and JH Tumlinson (2017). Reduced Stomatal Conductance in Plants Grown Under Elevated Carbon Dioxide Leads to Lower Emission of Herbivore Induced Volatiles. Plant Cell and Environ. 40:1725-1734.

N. Christie, A.A. Myburg, F Joubert, SL Murray, M Carstens, Y Lin, J Meyer, BG Crampton, S.A. Christensen, J F Ntuli, SS Wighard, YV Peer, DK Berger (2017). Systems genetics reveals a transcriptional network associated with susceptibility in the maize-gray leaf spot pathosystem. Plant Journal. 89:746-763

S.A. Christensen, A., Huffaker CT, Hunter HT Alborn, and EA Schmelz (2016). A maize death acid, 10-oxo-11-phytoenoic acid, is the predominant cyclopentenone signal present during multiple stress and developmental conditions. Plant Signaling & Behavior 11: e1120395

Vaughan, M.M., Huffaker, A., Schmelz, E.A., Dafoe, N.J., Christensen, S.A., McAuslane, H.J., Alborn, H.T., Allen, L.H., Teal, P.E.A. (2016). Interactive effects of elevated [CO2] and drought on the maize phytochemical defense response against mycotoxigenic Fusarium verticillioides. PLoS One.

S. A. Christensen, A. Huffaker, F Kaplan, J. Sims, S. Ziemann, G. Doehlmann, L Ji, R.J. Schmitz, M.V. Kolomiets, H.T. Alborn et al (2015) Maize death acids, 9- lipoxygenase-derived cyclopente(a)nones, display activity as cytotoxic phytoalexins and transcriptional mediators. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 112, 11407-11412

V. Tzin, P.L. Lindsay, S.A. Christensen, L.N. Meihls, L.B. Blue, G. Jander (2015). Genetic mapping shows intraspecific variation and transgressive segregation for caterpillar-induced aphid resistance in maize. Mol Ecol. 24:5739- 5750

M. Vaughan, S.A. Christensen, E.A. Schmelz, A. Huffaker, J. McAuslane, H.T. Alborn, M. Romero, L.H. Allen, and P.E.A. Teal (2015). The accumulation of terpenoid phytoalexins in maize roots is associated with drought tolerance Plant, Cell & Environ 11:2195-2207

S.A. Christensen, A. Nemchenko, Y.S. Park, E.A. Schmelz, S. Kunz, I. Feussner, R. Meeley., and M.V. Kolomiets. (2014). A novel 9-lipoxygenase ZmLOX12 is essential in maize to mount an effective defense against Fusarium verticillioides. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 11;1263-1276

E.A. Schmelz, A. Huffaker, J. Sims, S.A. Christensen, X. Lu,; K. Okada, and R. Peters (2014). Biosynthesis, regulation and roles of monocot terpenoid phytoalexins. Plant Journal 79:658-678

M.M. Vaughan, A. Huffaker, E.A. Schmelz, N.J. Dafoe, S.A. Christensen, J. Sims, V.F. Martins, J. Swerbilow, M. Romero, H.T. Alborn, L. Hartwell Allen and P.E.A. Teal (2014). Effects of elevated [CO2] on maize defense against mycotoxigenic Fusarium verticillioides. Plant, Cell, and Environ 37:2691-2706

R.Ozalvo, J. Cabrera, C. Escobar, S.A. Christensen, M. Kolomiets, C. Castresana, I. Iberkleid, and S. H. Brown, (2014). Two closely related members of Arabidopsis 13-LOXs, LOX3 and LOX4, reveal distinct functions in response to plant-parasitic nematode infection. Mol. Plant Path 15:319-332.

V. Martins, M.M. Vaughan, A. Huffaker, E. A. Schmelz, S.A. Christensen, Sims, N. D. Benda, J. Swerbilow, H. Alborn, P.E. Teal (2013). Seed treatment with live or dead Fusarium verticillioides equivalently reduces the severity of subsequent stalk rot. Journal of Phytopathology 162:201-204.

S.A. Christensen, A. Nemchenko, S. Islam, M. Erb, C. Robert, T. Turlings, L. Bozak, J. Tumlinson, C. Nansen, I. Feussner, J. Engelberth, R. Meeley and M.V. Kolomiets (2013). The maize lipoxygenase, ZmLOX10, mediates GLV, JA, and HIPV production for defense against insect attack. Plant Journal 74:59-73.

S.A. Christensen, E. Borrego, W. Shim, T. Isakeit, and M.V. Kolomiets (2012). Quantification of fungal colonization, sporogenesis, and production of mycotoxins using kernel bioassays. Journal of Visual Experiments. doi: 10.3791/3727

Y. Yan, S.A. Christensen, T. Isakeit, J. Engleberth, R. Meeley, and M.V. Kolomeits (2012). Disruption of OPR7 and OPR8 reveals the versatile functions of JA in maize development and defense. Plant Cell 24(4):1420-36

V. Kumar, V. Parkhi, S. Joshi, S.A. Christensen, M.V. Kolomiets, and K. S. Rathore (2012). A novel, conditional, lesion mimic phenotype in cotton cotyledons due to the expression of an endochitinase gene from Trichoderma virens. Plant Science. 183:86-95

S.A. Christensen and Mike Kolomiets (2011). The lipid language of plant-fungal interactions. Fungal Genetics and Biology, 48:4-14

S.A. Christensen, D.B. Pratt, C. Pratt, P.T. Nelson, M.R. Stevens, E.N. Jellen, C.E. Coleman, D.J. Fairbanks, A. Bonifacio, and P.J. Maughan (2007). Assessment of genetic diversity in the USDA and CIP-FAO international nursery collections of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) using microsatellite markers. Plant Genetic Resources, 5(2); 82–95

N.D. Coles, C.E. Coleman, S.A Christensen, E.N. Jellen, M.R. Stevens, A. Bonifacio, J.A. Rojas-Beltran, D.J. Fairbanks, and P.J. Maughan (2005). Development and use of an expressed sequenced tag library in quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) for the discovery of single nucleotide polymorphisms. Plant Science, 168: 439-447