Ana Paula Alonso

Associate Professor
Ana Paula Alonso obtained her B.S. in Biochemistry in 1998 and M.S. in Biological and Medical Sciences in 2000 from the Université Victor Segalen in Bordeaux, France. She received her Ph.D degree in 2003 from this same university, discovering a new substrate cycle in plants. After four years of postdoctoral training in seed metabolism (Michigan State University), and microbial metabolism (Institut National des Sciences Appliquées, Toulouse, France), she joined the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center in 2008 as a Visiting Assistant Professor to work in the exciting field of biofuel research. In 2010, Dr. Alonso moved to The Ohio State University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics; she was promoted to Associate Professor in 2016. Additionally, she is the Director of the Targeted Metabolomics Laboratory.
A major focus of the Alonso Lab is the regulation of carbon partitioning through central metabolism. In plants, central metabolism carries carbon to the production of valuable storage compounds, such as sugars, proteins, starch, oils, and cellulose. Therefore understanding carbon partitioning is of fundamental relevance to plant fitness, fruit quality, seed yield and germination, and to designing novel approaches for breeding and genetic engineering of crops. For this purpose, the Alonso Lab combines metabolomics and 13C-based metabolic flux analysis (aka fluxomics) - association of modern biochemistry with mathematical modeling. Their findings allowed a deeper understanding of abiotic stresses, and revealed new pathways and novel metabolic bottlenecks in important commodity crops.

Current research aims at:
i) enhancing the flow of carbon towards the production of unusual fatty acids - for biofuel and industrial applications - by metabolic engineering; 
ii) understanding the effect of biotic and abiotic stresses on plant metabolism.
Systems Approach to Understanding and Improving Industrial Oil Biosynthesis in an Emerging Crops Physaria fendleri
PI: Alonso; coPI: Bates
Sponsor: USDA-NIFA 
Period: December 15, 2015 - December 14, 2018
Setting the Basis for Engineering C3 and C4 Crops to Adapt to Scenarios of Future Climate Changes 
PI: Alonso; coPI: Buckeridge
Sponsor: OSU-FAPESP 
Period: January 1, 2016 - December 31, 2017
Functional Characterization of Acyl Carrier Protein (ACP) 4 in Repressing the Activity of a Conserved Virulent Factor of Bacteria Pseudomonas syringae pv Tomato DC3000
PI: Ye Xia; co-PIs: Alonso, Mackey
Sponsor: OARDC Interdisciplinary Grant Program
Period: July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2018
Development of Resources and Tools to Improve Oil Content and Quality in Pennycress
PI: Alonso; coPIs: Grotewold, Shah
Sponsor: USDA-DOE
Period: September 1, 2016 – August 31, 2019
Collaboratove Research: Dimensions: Secondary Metabolites as Drivers of Fungal Endophyte Community Diversity
PI: Slot; co-PIs: Alonso, Chaverri
Sponsor: NSF – DoB
Period: August 1, 2016 – July 31, 2021



  • Fan Yang, Ph. D. – Postdoctoral Researcher (Jan 2017 - )

  • Tyler Swanson, B.S. – Research Aide (Jan 2017 - )

  • Jean-Christophe Cocuron, B.S. – Research Associate 2 (Sept. 2010 - )

  • Michael Vaughan, Ph.D. – co-advised Postdoctoral Researcher (Jan 2013 – May 2016)

  • Mohamed Koubaa, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Researcher (Apr. 2012 - Oct. 2013), RFMF travel award (2013)

Graduate Students

  • Irene Gentzel – TPS program, co-advised with Dr. David Mackey (Aug 2014 - );

  • Pre-doctoral fellowship from USDA

  • Fernanda de Castro-Moretti – TPS dual degree program, co-advised with Dr. Luis Aranha Camargo (Jan. 2014 - Nov. 2017); International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions travel award (2016)

  • Enkhtuul (Tuli) Tsogtbaatar  – OSBP program (Jan. 2013 - Jul. 2017), Pan-American Congress in Plants and Bioenergy travel award (2014); ASPB Midwestern section travel award (2015)); Seminar presenter award at the ASPB Midwestern section (2015); $13,500 Research award from the OEE (2016)

Visiting Scholars

  • Veronika Osmark (Spring 2014 - Norway) Completion of the bachelor research project (June 2014)

  • Siri Taxerås (Spring 2016 – Norway) Completion of the bachelor research project (June 2016)


Undergraduate Assistants

  • Andrew Cypcar (Jan 2017 -  May 2017)

  • Kyrstin Cramer (Sept 2015 - May 2016) CAS Research Scholarchip winner (2015), Recipient of the Gary Booth Scholarship (2016)

  • Gabriella Kratzer (Sept 2015 - May 2016) CAS Research Scholarship winner (2015)

  • Davesh Chauhan (Jan 2015 - May 2017) Mayers Research Scholarship Winner (2015), CAS Research Scholarship winner (2015), Recipient of the Gary Booth Scholarship (2016)

  • Erin Ponting (Jan. 2015 - May 2016) Mayers Research Scholarship Winner (2015), CAS Research Scholarship winner (2015); Honors Thesis in Molecular Genetics (2016)

  • Tamara McClure (Jan. 2014 - May 2015) CAS Research Scholarship winner (Jan. 2014 - May 2015) CAS Research Scholarship winner (2014), 1st place poster presentation award at the 8th Tripartite Meeting (Rutgers); Honors Thesis in Biochemistry (2015)

  • Zach Ross, OSU (May 2013 - May 2015) CAS Research Scholarship winner (2014)

  • Brooke Anderson, OSU (Sept. 2012 - May 2015), CAS Research Scholarship winner (2013 & 2014); 4th place Denman Forum Award (2013); Biochemistry Research Scholarship winner (2014); 1st place Denman Forum Award (2014 & 2015); Outstanding poster Award at the NMS Forum (2014); 1st place poster presentation award at the ASPB (2014); Honors Thesis in Biochemistry (2015)

  • Rebecca Kimmelfield, OSU (Feb. 2011 - May 2015), 3rd place Denman Forum Award (2013)

  • Derek Jahn, OSU (Aug. 2011 - May 2012)

  • Rachel Leist, OSU (Jan. 2012 - Aug. 2012) 

  • Yowkung Feng, OSU (Aug. 2011 - Nov. 2012)

  • Alison Boyd (Jan. 2011 - Aug. 2011)


  • Erika Weiskopf, REU from Swarthmore (Summer 2015)

  • Marcos Corchado Sonera, REU from Puerto Rico (Summer 2014)

  • Alejandro Gozalo, REU from Rice University (Summer 2013)

  • Sonya Maher, K12 (Spring 2013)

  • Rebecca Kimmelfield, REU from OSU (Summer 2012)

  • Sean Carpenter, K12 (Spring 2012)

  • Sandra Escobar, REU from California State University (Summer 2011)

  • Zach Ross, K12 (Mar. 2011 - Jul. 2011) 


Publications (Past 10 Years)

  • Santosh D, Balasubramaniam V.M, Cocuron J-C, Alonso A.P, Egcam E., Kamat S. (2017) Pressure-thermal kinetics of furan formation in selected fruit and vegetable juices. Food and Bioprocess Technology 19(11), 1959-1969.

  • McClure T, Cocuron J-C, Osmark V, McHale L, Alonso A.P (2017) Impact of environment on the biomass composition of soybean (Glycine max) seeds. J Agric Food Chem. 65(32), 6753-6761.

  • Corkins M.E, Wilson S, Cocuron J-C, Alonso A.P, Bird A.J. (2017) The gluconate shunt is an alternative route for directing glucose into pentose phosphate pathway in fission yeast. J Biol Chem. 292(33), 13823-13832.

  • Casas M.I, Vaughan MJ, Bonello P, McSpadden-Gardener B, Grotewold E, Alonso A.P. (2017) Identification of biochemical features of defective Coffea arabica L. beans. Food Res Int. 95, 59-67.

  • Cocuron J-C, Tsogtbaatar E, Alonso A.P. (2017) High-throughput quantification of the levels and labeling abundance of free amino acids by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr A. 1490, 148-155.

  • Horn P.J, Liu J, Cocuron J.C, McGlew K, Thrower N.A, Larson M, Lu C, Alonso A.P, Ohlrogge J (2016) Identification of multiple lipid genes with modifications in expression and sequence associated with the volution of hydroxyl fatty acid accumulation in Physaria fendleri. Plant J. 86(4), 322-348.

  • de Souza A.P, Cocuron J-C, Garcia A.C, Alonso A.P*, Buckeridge M*(2015) Changes in whole-plant metabolism during grain-filling stage in Sorghum bicolor L. (Moench) grown under elevated CO2 and drought. Plant Physiol. 69(3), 1755-1765. (* co-corresponding authors)

  • Tsogtbaatar E, Cocuron J-C, Corchado Sonera M, Alonso A.P (2015) Metabolite fingerprinting of pennycress (Thlaspi arvense L.) embryos to assess active pathways during oil synthesis. J Exp Bot. 66(14), 4267-4277.

  • Cocuron J-C, Anderson B, Boyd, A, Alonso A.P (2014) Targeted metabolomics of Physaria fendleri, an industrial crop producing hydroxy fatty acids. Plant Cell Physiol. 55(3), 620-633

  • Dieaude-Noubhani M, Alonso A.P (2014) Plant Metabolic Flux Analysis - Methods and Protocols. Methods Mol Biol. 1090, Humana Press

  • Dieuaide-Noubhani M, Alonso A.P (2014) Application of metabolic flux analysis to plants. Methods Mol Biol. 1090, 1-17

  • Cocuron J.C, Alonso A.P (2014) Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry for measuring 13C-labeling in intermediaries of the glycolysis and pentose-phosphate pathway. Methods Mol Biol. 1090, 131-42

  • Chen X, Alonso A.P, Shachar-Hill Y (2013) Dynamic metabolic flux analysis of plant cell wall synthesis. Metab Eng. 18, 78-85

  • Koubaa M, Cocuron J.C, Thomasset B, Alonso A.P (2013) Highlighting the tricarboxylic acid cycle: liquid and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses of 13C labeled organic acids. Anal Biochem. 436(2), 151-159.

  • Wang Y, Alonso A.P, Wilkerson C.G, Keegstra K (2012) Deep EST profiling of developing fenugreek endosperm to investigate galactomannan biosynthesis and its regulation. Plant Mol Biol 79(3), 243-258.

  • Alonso A.P, Val D and Shachar-Hill Y (2011) Central metabolic fluxes in the endosperm of developing maize seeds and their implications for metabolic engineering. Metab Eng. 13(1), 96-107

  • Chen X, Alonso A.P, Allen D.K, Reed J.L and Shachar-Hill Y (2011) Synergy between 13C-Metabolic Flux Analysis and Flux Balance Analysis for understanding metabolic adaption to anaerobiosis in E. coli. Metab Eng. 13(1), 38-48

  • Alonso A.P, Piasecki B, Wang Y, LaClair R and Shachar-Hill Y (2010) Quantifying the labeling and the levels of plant cell wall precursors using ion chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Plant Physiol. 153, 915-924

  • Alonso A.P, Val D and Shachar-Hill Y (2010) Understanding fatty acid synthesis in developing maize embryos using metabolic flux analysis. Metab Eng. 12, 488-497

  • Alonso A.P, Raymond P, Hernould M, Rondeau-Mouro C, de Graaf A, Chourey P, Lahaye M, Shachar-Hill Y, Rolin D and Dieuaide-Noubhani M (2007) A metabolic flux analysis to study the role of sucrose synthase in the regulation of the carbon partitioning in central metabolism in maize root tips. Metab Eng. 9, 419-32

  • Alonso A.P, Goffman F.D, Ohlrogge J.B and Shachar-Hill Y (2007) Carbon conversion efficiency and central metabolic fluxes in developing sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) embryos. Plant J. 52(2), 296-308

  • Alonso A.P, Raymond P, Rolin D and Dieuaide-Noubhani M (2007) Substrate cycles in the central metabolism of maize root tips under hypoxia. Phytochemistry 68(16-18), 2222-31

  • Dieuaide-Noubhani M, Alonso A.P, Rolin D, Eisenreich W and Raymond P (2007) Metabolic flux analysis: recent advances in carbon metabolism in plants. Plant Systems Biology, EXS 97, 213-43.

  • Cocuron J.C, Lerouxel O, Drakakaki G, Alonso A.P, Liepman A.H, Keegstra K, Raikhel N and Wilkerson C.G (2007) A gene from the cellulose synthase-like C family encodes a beta-1,4 glucan synthase. PNAS 104(20), 8550-5.


Areas of Expertise
  • Metabolic flux analysis; carbohydrate metabolism in plants;
Ana Alonso
054 Rightmire Hall
1060 Carmack Road
Columbus, OH 43210