Judy Brusslan

Professor, Principal Investigator of Bridges to the Doctorate

I am a Full Professor at CSULB. I recognize that race is a cultural construct, that sexual orientation has a genetic contribution (we are born that way), and that every person deserves to be heard, and treated with respect and kindness.


  • Postdoctoral Fellow: UCLA
  • Ph.D, Genetics, University of Chicago

Courses Taught

I aim to make my classes engaging, relevant and challenging. I ask students to work with content on a weekly basis: using concepts is the best way to understand concepts. Since writing is a skill that improves with practice, students in my smaller classes write every week. I also include primary literature in all my courses.

  • General Genetics (BIOL 370)
  • Molecular Plant Physiology (BIOL 447)
  • Cell and Molecular Biology Lab Course (first six weeks of BIOL 440L)
  • Research Design and Ethics (BIOL 696A)
  • Biomedical Research Colloquium (BIOL 663)


Please see my profile on ResearchGate: Judy Brusslan for a list of my publications.

Research Interests

The Brusslan Lab is interested in the early events that regulate leaf senescence. Leaf senescence is the regulated break down of proteins and chlorophyll that occurs in older leaves and the subsequent export of these nutrients to growing and storage tissue. Understanding and optimizing nutrient recycling during leaf senescence could reduce the use of polluting and energy-intensive fertilizers.

The Brusslan Lab takes a genetic approach using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Many projects in the lab aim to generate experimental evidence to support a gene regulatory network proposed in Hinckley and Brusslan, 2020. Other projects in the lab are exploring the role of apoplast vesicles (secreted vesicles similar to exosomes) in leaf senescence.

The Brusslan Lab welcomes motivated graduate (Masters level) and undergraduate students. Students begin in lab by isolating genomic DNA and running PCR reactions to determine the genotype of T-DNA insertion mutants. Students then map T-DNA insertion sites, design PCR primers, isolate RNA, and synthesize cDNA to determine if T-DNA insertions disrupt gene expression. Once mutant lines are verified, students evaluate leaf senescence as it occurs in relationship to bolting (production of the reproductive inflorescence). Our most reliable and robust molecular marker for leaf senescence is NIT2 gene expression. Students master plant growth, leaf harvesting, real-time qPCR reactions and statistical analysis. We are also starting to use CRISPR-Cas9 to produce frameshift mutations in genes of interest.

We welcome all students.

Bridges to the Doctorate

I am the Principal Investigator for the Bridges to the Doctorate program, which was funded by the NIH in August of 2021. This five-year grant supports underrepresented and underserved graduate students who want to transition to PhD programs in biomedical research. The Bridges to the Doctorate program partners with UCI for a seamless, supported bridge to the PhD.