Wisconsin Discovery Portal

Researcher: John Ralph

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Areas of Expertise
  • Cellular regulation
  • Molecular genetics
  • Protein structure
  • Hormone action
  • Cell biology
  • Lignin biosynthesis (including pathway delineation)
  • Lignin structure, chemistry, and reactions
  • Delineation of effects of perturbing lignin biosynthesis
  • Redesigning lignins to be more readily degraded to improve lignocellulosics bioprocessing
  • Synthetic methods for biosynthetic products, precursors, intermediates, molecular markers, cell wall model compounds, etc
  • Solution-state NMR (particularly of cell wall components, especially lignins)
  • NMR methods applied to unfractionated cell walls
  • Cell wall cross-linking mechanisms
  • Methods for wall structural analysis
Web Site John Ralph's Department of Biochemistry Website
Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Issued Patent(s)
  • 8,685,672 - Incorporation of flavan-3-ols and gallic acid derivatives into lignin to improve biomass utilization, issued April 2014.
  • 8,569,465 - Method for modifying lignin structure using monolignol ferulate conjugates, issued October 2013.
USPTO Published Applications
  • 20160046955 - p-Coumaroyl-CoA:Monolignol Transferase, published February 2016.
  • 20150313221 - Antimicrobial ferulic acid derivatives and uses thereof, published November 2015.
  • 20150020234 - Hibiscus cannabinus feruloyl-coa:monolignol transferase, published January 2015.
  • 20140011984 - Method for modifying lignin structure using monolignol ferulate conjugates, published January 2014.
  • 20130219547 - Feruloyl-CoA:monolignol transferase, published August 2013.
Recent Publication(s)
  • Identification of 4-O-5-units in Softwood Lignins via Definitive Lignin Models and NMR. Yue F, Lu F, Ralph SA, Ralph J. Biomacromolecules. 2016 Apr 14. [Epub ahead of print]

  • An essential role of caffeoyl shikimate esterase in monolignol biosynthesis in Medicago truncatula. Ha CM, Escamilla-Trevino L, Serrani Yarce JC, Kim H, Ralph J, Chen F, Dixon RA. Plant J. 2016 Apr 2. doi: 10.1111/tpj.13177. [Epub ahead of print]

  • Structural and Biochemical Characterization of the Early and Late Enzymes in the Lignin β-aryl Ether Cleavage Pathway from Sphingobium sp SYK-6. Pereira JH, Heins RA, Gall DL, McAndrew RP, Deng K, Holland KC, Donohue TJ, Noguera DR, Simmons BA, Sale KL, Ralph J, Adams PD. J Biol Chem. 2016 Mar 3. pii: jbc.M115.700427. [Epub ahead of print]

  • BdCESA7, BdCESA8, and BdPMT Utility Promoter Constructs for Targeted Expression to Secondary Cell-Wall-Forming Cells of Grasses. Petrik DL, Cass CL, Padmakshan D, Foster CE, Vogel JP, Karlen SD, Ralph J, Sedbrook JC. Front Plant Sci. 2016 Feb 4;7:55. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00055. eCollection 2016.

View John Ralph's publications at PubMed.
Recent Artistic Works
  • USDA
  • S China University of Technology, State Key Lab Pulp & Paper Engineering
Research Tools
  • Synthesis
Research Facilities
  • Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center
E-mail Address [email protected]
Phone Number 608-890-2429
Current University UW–Madison
Department Biochemistry
Title Professor
Other Appointments
Affiliate, BSE (Biological Systems Engineering)
Address Line 1 2129 Wisconsin Energy Institute
Address Line 2 1552 University Avenue
City Madison
State WI
Zip Code 53726
Bachelor's Degree B.Sc. Hons, University of Canterbury (New Zealand), Chemistry, 1976
Master's Degree
PhD Ph.D., UW–Madison, Chemistry and Forestry, 1985
Other Degrees
Technologies Available for Licensing Grass Modified for Easier Bioprocessing

Improving Biomass Conversion Efficiency by Modifying Lignin so Plant Cell Walls Are More Digestible and Fermentable

A Method of Modifying Lignin to Improve Biomass Utilization

Natural Antimicrobial Agent Derived from Biomass

Lignin from Transgenic Poplar Is Easier to Process

Transgenic Lignin Easier to Break Down for Biofuel