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Richard Meilan

Forestry and Natural Resources 

  • Professor of Genetics
PFEN Room G021E
715 West State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907

Dr. Richard Meilan's website

Research Group - Ecology of Natural Systems, Forest Biology, Genetics

Facilities - Forest Ecology, Soils, and Silviculture Lab, Genetics Lab, John S. Wright Center, Molecular Tree Physiology Lab

Related Centers - Energy Center, Natural Resources Leadership Development Institute, Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center

Richard “Rick” Meilan is an Professor in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) at Purdue University. Rick received his B.S. (summa cum laude) in Forest Science from Humboldt State University (HSU) in 1983, his M.S. in Forestry from HSU in 1985, and a joint Ph.D. (with honors) in Botany (Physiology and Molecular Biology) and Forestry (Forest Biology) from Iowa State University in 1990. He worked four years as a Rockefeller Foundation post-doctoral research fellow before joining the faculty in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He was on the faculty in the Forest Science Department at Oregon State University for nine years before coming to Purdue in October 2003.

The Meilan laboratory utilizes molecular tools to investigate the genetic mechanisms by which key aspects of tree growth and development are controlled.  He is also attempting to domesticate and add value to various tree species by genetically engineering them to express genes that impart environmentally beneficial and commercially important traits.  Active research projects include efforts to insert into poplar genes that affect cell-wall properties (e.g., lignin content and composition, and cellulose configuration); water-use efficiency; and poplar’s ability to remediate contaminated sites.  In addition, he and his group are trying to identify genes that regulate the formation of figured wood and the initiation of lateral and adventitious roots.

Awards & Honors

(2008) Editorial Board Member. Tree Physiology.

(2007) Seed for Success Award. Office of the Provost, Purdue University.

(2006) Exceptional Departmental Service Award. Department of Forestry and Natural Resources.

(2005) Associate Director. NSF (I/UCRC) Center for Tree Genetics.


Meilan, R. Poplar Tree Named "Curly Poplar". U.S. Patent No. PP17,525. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Selected Publications

Klocko, A., Meilan, R., James, R., Viswanath, V., Huso, M., Ma, C., . . . Strauss, S. (in press). Bt-Cry3Aa expression reduces insect damage and improves growth in field-grown hybrid poplar. Canadian Journal of Forest Research.

Fan, Y., Rupert, R., Wiedenhoeft, A., Woeste, K., Lexer, C., & Meilan, R. (2013). Figured grain in aspen is heritable and not affected by graft-transmissible signals. TreesäóñStructure and Function, 27(4), 973-983.

French, D., & Meilan, R. (2013). Germination trials for Asian and North American ash species. Tree Plantersäó» Notes, 56(1), 27-34.

Trupiano, D., Yordanov, Y., Regan, S., Meilan, R., Tschaplinski, T., Scippa, G., & Busov, V. (2013). Identification and characterization of an AP2/ERF transcription factor that promotes adventitious and lateral root formation in Populus. Planta, 238(2), 271-282.

Huang, Z., Zhao, P., Medina, J., Meilan, R., & Woeste, K. (in press). Roles of JnRAP2.6-like from the transition zone of black walnut in hormone signaling. PLOS ONE.

Harfouche, A., Meilan, R., Kirst, M., Morgante, M., Boerjan, W., Sabatti, M., & Scarascia-Mugnozza, G. (2012). Accelerating the domestication of forest trees in a changing world. Trends in Plant Science, 17(2), 64-72.

Rubinelli, P., Chuck, G., Li, X., & Meilan, R. (in press). Constitutive expression of microRNA Corngrass1 in poplar affects axillary meristem outgrowth, internode length, and lignin quantity and composition. Biomass and Bioenergy.

Fan, Y., Rupert, K., Wiedenhoeft, A., Woeste, K., Lexer, C., & Meilan, R. (in press). Figured grain in aspen is heritable and not affected by graft-transmissible signals. TreesäóîStructure and Function.

French, D., & Meilan, R. (in press). Germinating seeds from Asian and North American ash species (genus Fraxinus) Tree Plantersäó» Notes.

Hsu, C., Adams, J., No, K., Liang, H., Meilan, R., Pechanova, O., . . . Yuceer, C. (2012). Overexpression of CONSTANS homologs CO1 and CO2 fails to alter normal reproductive onset, spring bud break, and fall bud set in woody perennial poplar. PLoS ONE, 7(9), e45448.

Forestry and Natural Resources, 715 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061 USA, (765) 494-3590

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