Joanna C. Chiu

Joanna Chiu

Position Title
Associate Professor

Department of Entomology and Nematology, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Storer Hall 6348, Davis CA 95616

Profile Introduction

Molecular Chronobiology and Molecular Genetics of Animal Behavior

Research Interests

Molecular Genetics of Animal Behavior and Physiology; Circadian Rhythms; Posttranslational modifications of clock proteins; Insect Genomics and physiology

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.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Animal Behavior
  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology
  • Integrative Genetics and Genomics
  • Neuroscience

Specialties / Focus

  • Animal Genomics
  • Biochemistry
  • Gene Regulation
  • Genomics, Proteomics and Metabolomics
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Neurobiology
  • Physiology and Behavior


  • ENT 293N Insect Genomics and Biotechnology, Fall
  • ABI 50C Social Issues in Animal Biology, Spring
  • ENT 102 Insect Physiology, Winter


  • Chiu Lab
    • Yao Cai (Graduate Student)
    • Kyle Lewald (Graduate Student)
    • Xian Hui (Nitrol) Liu (Graduate Student)
    • Christine Tabuloc (Graduate Student)
    • Cindy Truong (UG Research Assistant)
    • Antoine Abrieux (Postdoctoral Scientist)
    • Dominik Aylard (UG Research Assistant)
    • Wenqi (Ailsa) Song (UG Research Assistant)
    • Danielle Eweis-Labolle (UG Research Assistant)
    • Nazmieh Kawasmi (UG Research Assistant)
    • Christian Attallah (UG Research Assistant)

Honors and Awards

  • NIH/NINDS Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • NIH/NINDS K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award
  • UC Davis Chancellor's Fellow (2019-2023)
  • Pacific Branch ESA Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology Research Award (2019)

    Professional Societies

    • The Society for Research on Biological Rhythms
    • Entomological Society of America
    • Genetics Society of America


    • 2004 Ph.D. Molecular Genetics, New York University

    Selected Publications

    Li, Y.H., X.H. Liu, J. T. Vanselow, H.Y. Zhang, A. Schlosser, J.C. Chiu (2019). O-GlcNAcylation of PERIOD regulates its interaction with CLOCK and timing of circadian transcriptional repression. PLOS Genetics 15(1): e1007953.

    Xue, Y., J.C. Chiu, Y. Zhang (2019). SUR-8 interacts with PPI-78B to stabilize PERIOD and regulate circadian rhythms in Drosophila. PLOS Genetics 15(11): e1008475.

    Liu, Z., C.A. Tabuloc, Y. Xue, Y. Cai, P. McIntire, Y. Niu, V.H. Lam, J.C. Chiu, Y. Zhang (2019). Splice variants of DOMINO control Drosophila circadian behavior and pacemaker neuron maintenance. PLOS Genetics 15(10): e1008474.

    Tabuloc, C.A., K.M. Lewald, W.R. Conner, Y.S. Lee, E.K. Lee, A.B. Cain, K.E. Godfrey, J. Arnot, N. Nuria, C.R. Perini, J.C. Guedes, F.G. Zalom, J.C. Chiu (2019). Sequencing of Tuta absoluta genome to develop SNP genotyping assays for species identification. J Pest Sci. 92(4): 1397-1407.

    Lam, V.H., Y.H. Li, X. Liu, K.A. Murphy, J.S. Diehl, R.S. Kwok, J.C. Chiu (2018). CK1alpha collaborates with DOUBLETIME to regulate PERIOD function in the Drosophila circadian clock. J Neurosci 38(50):10631-10643.

    Lam, V.H., J.C. Chiu (2017). Evolution and design of invertebrate circadian clocks. In "Oxford Handbook of Invertebrate Neurobiology", ed. J. H. Byrne. Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190456757.013.25.

    Fu, J., K.A. Murphy, M. Zhou, Y.H. Li, V.H. Lam, C.A. Tabuloc, J.C. Chiu*, and Y. Liu* (2016). Codon usage affects the structure and function of the Drosophila circadian clock protein PERIOD. Genes & Dev. 30:1761-1775. (* co-corresponding authors).

    Abrieux, A., J.C. Chiu (2016). Oral delivery of dsRNA by microbes: beyond pest control. Commun. Inter.  Biol. 9(6):

    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.

    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.

    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

    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.

    Murphy, K.A., J.D. West, R.S. Kwok, J.C. Chiu (2016). Accelerating research on Spotted Wing Drosophila management using genomic technologies. J. Pest Sci. DOI 10.1007/s10340-016-0741-z.

    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.

    Hamby, K.A., D.E. Bellamy, J.C. Chiu, J.C. Lee, V.M. Walton, N.G. Wiman, R.M. York, A. Biondi (2016). Biotic and abiotic factors impacting development, behavior, phenology, and reproductive biology of Drosophila suzukii. J. Pest Sci. DOI: 10.1007/s10340-016-0756-5.

    Wiman, N.G., D.T. Dalton, G. Anfora, A. Biondi, J.C. Chiu, K.M. Daane, [....] V.M. Walton (2016). Drosophila suzukii population response to environment and management strategies. J. Pest Sci. DOI: 10.1007/s10340-016-0757-4.

    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

    Borowiec, M.L., E.K. Lee, J.C. Chiu, D.C. Plachetzki (2015). Extracting phylogenetic signal and accounting for bias in whole-genome data sets supports the Ctenophora as sister to remaining Metazoa. BMC Genomics 16:987.

    Murphy, K.A., T.R. Unruh, L.M. Zhou, F.G. Zalom, P.W. Shearer, E.H. Beers, V.M. Walton, B. MIller, J.C. Chiu (2015). Using comparative genomics to develop a molecular diagnostic for the identification of an emerging pest Drosophila suzukii. Bull. Entomol. Res. 105:364-372.

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

    Jasper, W.C., T.A. Linksvayer, J. Atallah, D. Friedman, J.C. Chiu, and B.R. Johnson (2015). Large scale coding sequence change underlies the evolution of post-developmental novelty in honey bees. Mol. Biol. Evol. 32(2):334-346.

    Wiman, N.G., V.M. Walton, D.T. Dalton, G. Anfora, H.J. Burrack, J.C. Chiu, K.M. Daane, A. Grassi, B. Miller, S. Tochen, X. Wang, C. Ioriatti (2014). Integrating temperature-dependent life table data into a matrix projection model for Drosophila suzukii population estimation. PLoS ONE 9(9):e106909.

    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, 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., K. Kaub, S. Zou, P. Liedo, L. Altamirano-Robles, D. Ingram, and J. Carey (2013). Deleterious effect of suboptimal diet on rest-activity cycle in Anastrepha ludens manifests itself with age. Sci. Rep. 3:1773; DOI:10.1038/srep01773.

    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.

    Lee, E.K., A. Cibrian-Jaramillo, S.O. Kolokotronis, M.S. Katari, A. Stamatakis, M. Ott, J.C. Chiu, D.P. Little, D.W. Stevenson, W.R. McCombie, R.A. Martienssen, G. Coruzzi, R. Desalle (2011). A functional phylogenomic view of the seed plants. PLoS Genet. Dec;7(12):e1002411.

    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., doi: 10.3791/2157

    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-3β/SGG in circadian clocks. J. Neurosci. 30:12664-12675.

    Egan, M., E. K. Lee, J. C. Chiu, G. Coruzzi, and R. DeSalle (2009). Gene orthology assessment with OrthologID. Methods Mol. Biol. 537:23-38.

    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.

    Chiu, J. C., E. K. Lee, M. G. Egan, I. N. Sarkar, G. M. Coruzzi, and R. DeSalle (2006). OrthologID: Automation of genome scale ortholog identification within a parsimony framework. Bioinformatics 22(6):699-707.

    Chiu, J. C., E. Brenner, R. DeSalle, M. N. Nitabach, T. C. Holmes, and G. Coruzzi (2002). Phylogenetic and expression analysis of the glutamate-receptor-like gene family in Arabidopsis thaliana. Molecular Biology and Evolution 19(7):1066-1082.

    Lacombe, B., D. Becker, R. Hedrich , R. DeSalle, M. Hollmann, J. Kwak, J. I. Schroeder, N. Le Novere, G. N. Hong, E. P. Spalding, M. Tester, F. J. Turano, J. Chiu, and G. Coruzzi (2001). The identity of plant glutamate receptors. Science 292:1486-1487.

    Chiu, J., R. DeSalle, H. M. Lam, L. Meisel, and G. Coruzzi (1999). Molecular evolution of glutamate receptors: a primitive signaling mechanism that existed before plants and animals diverged. Molecular Biology and Evolution 16(6): 826-838.

    Lam, H. M., J. Chiu, M. H. Hsieh, L. Meisel, I. C. Oliveira, M. Shin, and G. Coruzzi (1998). Glutamate receptor genes in plants. Nature 396:125-126.