Department of Crop Science
Dr. Ron Qu

Professor of Crop Science

Partners II 1200
Campus Box 7287
Raleigh, NC 27695-7287

Office: 1200 Partners II
Phone: 919.515.7616
Fax: 919.515.7618

Ron Qu
Dr. Ron Qu

Dr. Qu's graduate training was in plant cell and molecular biology. Prior to coming to NC State, Dr. Qu worked in rice and wheat biotechnology at the Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, CA) and Montana State University (Bozeman, MT). Dr. Qu is co-teaching CS720 (Molecular Biology in Plant Breeding) with Dr. R. Dewey.

Dr. Qu serves as an advisor to graduate students, conducts research in genetic transformation for improvement of turfgrass and other crops, and in transgene expression in monocot plants.

Current Lab Group

Dr. Minesh Patel, Researcher
Dr. Wan Jun Zhang, Research Associate
Dr. Ruyu Li, Research Associate
Dr. Sang Yoon Lee, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Dr. Bingwu Wang, Visiting Scientist
Binbin Zhou, Ph.D. student
Kaimei Xu, Research Assistant
Jin Tong, Research Assistant

lab group Dec 2013

Current Projects

Tall fescue transformation for fungal disease resistance

FIG 1: Tall fescue transformation for fungal disease resistance Dr. Shujie Dong developed an efficient Agrobacterium-mediated transformation protocol for tall fescue transformation. She introduced fungal disease resistance genes and observed transgenic plants resistant to both brown patch (Rhizoctonia solani) and gray leaf spot (Magnaporthe grisea) diseases. Shown in the figure is the resistance of transgenic plants to the gray leaf spot disease (right panel) with control (left panel). Binbin Zhou is continuing this project more focused on brown patch resistance.

Perennial ryegrass transformation for improved agronomic traits

FIG 2: Perennial ryegrass transformation for improved agronomic traits Drs. Minesh Patel and Wanjun Zhang, and Kaimei Xu and Jin Tong, are working on this collaborative project. We are interested in improving agrobacterium transformation of perennial ryegrass and introducing transgenes for its improvement. Figure shows putative transgenic plants in selection.

Switchgrass transformation to improve ethanol production efficiency

FIG 3: Switchgrass transformation to improve ethanol production efficiency Dr. Ruyu Li developed a high-throughput transformation system for switchgrass transformation. Up to 50% transformation efficiency was achieved with cv. Alamo and Colony and 95% for cv. Performer. In this collaborative project, she is trying to reduce lignin content and alter lignin structure to improve ethanol production using lignocellulosic materials from switchgrass. The figure shows cell clusters with GFP transgene in selection medium.

Improve drought tolerance of cereal crops

FIG 4: Improve drought tolerance of cereal crops In this collaborative project, Dr. Sang Yoon Lee, is evaluating transgenic rice plants with individual and combined transgenes for drought tolerance. Preliminary results showed that over-expression of the calcium binding domain (CBP) of a maize calreticulin gene improved drought tolerance in transgenic rice.

Isolation and characterization of transcription factors regulating nicotine biosynthesis

FIG 5: Isolation and characterization of transcription factors regulating nicotine biosynthesis Dr. Bingwu Wang cloned and evaluated transcription factors that regulate nicotine biosynthesis. Over-expression and RNAi approach revealed that some of them affected pathway gene expression and nicotine level.

Improvement of bombardment transformation by coating DNA with protamine

FIG 6: Improvement of bombardment transformation by coating DNA with protamine By replacing spermidine with protamine when coating plasmid DNA onto gold particles, Dr. Elumalai Sivamani improved bombardment transformation efficiency by 3 to 5 fold. He demonstrated that protamine protects the coated DNA better and its degradation is delayed.

St. Augustinegrass breeding

FIG 7: St. Augustinegrass breedingIn this collaborative project, Dr. Ruyu Li, when being a graduate student in the lab, collected germplasm, and used tissue culture and irradiation mutagenesis to develop somaclonal variations and mutations of St. Augustinegrass for cold tolerance and finer leaf texture (as shown in the figure). The promising lines are in field trials.
Publications (past five years)


Minesh Patel, Ralph E. Dewey and Rongda Qu
Enhancing Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation efficiency of perennial ryegrass and rice using heat and high maltose treatments during bacterial infection
Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult (2013) 114:19–29
DOI 10.1007/s11240-013-0301-7

Wan-Jun Zhang, Ralph E. Dewey, Wendy Boss, Brian Q. Phillippy and Rongda Qu
Enhanced Agrobacterium-mediated transformation efficiencies in monocot cells is associated with attenuated defense responses
Plant Mol Biol (2013) 81:273–286
DOI 10.1007/s11103-012-9997-8


Ruyu Li and Rongda Qu
High throughput Agrobacterium-mediated switchgrass transformation
Biomass and Bioenergy (2010), doi: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2010.11.025 (online)

R. LI, A. H. BRUNEAU and R. QU
Tissue culture-induced morphological somaclonal variation in St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze]
Plant Breeding 129, 96—99 (2010)

R. LI, A. H. BRUNEAU and R. QU
Morphological mutants of St. Augustinegrass induced by gamma ray irradiation
Plant Breeding 129, 412—416 (2010)

Selection for freezing tolerance in St. Augustinegrass through somaclonal variation and germplasm evaluation
Plant Breeding 129, 417—421 (2010)


William Casey Reynolds, Ruyu Li, Kanishka de Silva, Arthur H. Bruneau, and Rongda Qu
International Turfgrass Society Research Journal Volume 11, 2009

Elumalai Sivamani, Joshua D. Starmer and Rongda Qu
Sequence analysis of rice rubi3 promoter gene expression cassettes for improved transgene expression
Plant Science 177 (2009) 549-556

Sivamani E., R. K. DeLong and R. Qu
Protamine-mediated DNA coating remarkably improves bombardment transformation efficiency in plant cells
Plant Cell Rep (2009) 28:213–221
DOI 10.1007/s00299-008-0636-4


Qu, Rongda, Hong Luo, Virgil D. Meier (2008)
Turfgrass, in Kole, C. and Hall, T. C. (eds.),
“Compendium of Transgenic Crop Plants: Transgenic Plantation Crops, Vol. 8. Ornamentals and Turf Grasses”,
Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK, 2008, pp 177-218

Jianli L., E. Sivamani, X. Li and R. Qu
Activity of the 5' regulatory regions of the rice polyubiquitin rubi3 gene in transgenic rice plants as analyzed by both GUS and GFP reporter genes
Plant Cell Rep (2008) 27:1587–1600
DOI 10.1007/s00299-008-0577-y

Jianli L., E. Sivamani, K. Azhakanandam, P. Samadder, X Li and R Qu
Gene expression enhancement mediated by the 5' UTR intron of the rice rubi3 gene varied remarkably among tissues in transgenic rice plants
Mol Genet Genomics (2008) 279:563–572
DOI 10.1007/s00438-008-0333-6

Samadder, P., E. Sivamani, J. Lu, X. Li, and R. Qu
Transcriptional and post- transcriptional enhancement of gene expression by the 5’ UTR intron of rice rubi3 gene in transgenic rice cells.
Mol Genet Genomics (2008) 279: 429-438
DOI 10.1007/s00438-008-0323-8

Dong, S., H. D. Shew, L. P. Tredway, J. Lu, E. Sivamani, E. S. Miller, and R. Qu
Expression of the bacteriophage T4 lysozyme gene in tall fescue confers resistance to gray leaf spot and brown patch diseases.
Transgenic Res. (2008) 17: 47-57
DOI 10.1007/s11248-007-9073-3


Dong, S., L. P. Tredway, H. D. Shew, G.-L. Wang, E. Sivamani, and R. Qu (2007) Resistance of transgenic tall fescue to two major fungal diseases. Plant Sci. 173: 501-509

Azhakanandam, K., S. M. Weissinger, J. Nicholson, R. Qu and A. K. Weissinger (2007) Amplicon-plus Targeting Technology (APTT) for rapid production of a highly unstable vaccine protein in tobacco plants. Plant Mol. Biol. 63: 393-404


E. Sivamani, and R. Qu (2006) Expression enhancement of a rice polyubiquitin promoter PlantMol. Biol. 60: 225-239.

R. Li, A. H. Bruneau, and R. Qu (2006) In vitro somatic embryogenesis and improved plant regeneration of St. Augustinegrass [Stanotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze] by 6-benzyladenine in callus induction medium. Plant Breed. 125: 52-56.

Connect to Crop Science
Crop Science Facebook Crop Science Twitter Crop Science Instagram Crop Science YouTube Channel Email Crop Science