I grew up in Fairview, Utah, about 50 miles south of Provo. I earned my B.S. in microbiology from Brigham Young University in 1980. I then went to Oregon State University in Corvallis where I earned my Ph.D. in 1985 in microbiology studying bacterial RNA polymerase, with an emphasis in molecular biology. I conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California, Irvine, from 1985-1988, studying plant chloroplast DNA replication and associated enzymes. I was on the faculty at Auburn University in Alabama from 1988-2000, and then moved to BYU as a professor in 2000. I enjoy working with students in the classroom and the laboratory, and sharing my experience and knowledge of molecular biology. I enjoy reading, fishing, and gardening with my wife.
Molecular biology (general and advanced)
RNA-mediated gene regulation
Philosophy of biology
Plant molecular biology
DNA replication and recombination in chloroplasts and mitochondria
Transcriptomics of halophytes
Microbiomes of halophytes and salt-tolerant plant growth promoting bacteria
University of California, Irvine, Molecular Biology, Postdoctoral (1985-1988)
Oregon State University, Microbiology, Ph.D. (1985)
Brigham Young University, Microbiology, B.Sc. (1980)
Honors and Awards
BYU Office of Research and Creative Activity (ORCA) and College of Biology & Agriculture Mentoring Environment Grants
Auburn Alumni/Sigma Xi Research Award
U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Brooks Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas: Summer Faculty Research Associate
Oregon State University: Annual Outstanding Graduate Student Publication Award
Oregon State University: Tartar Competitive Research Fellowship in Microbiology
BYU Thermochemical Institute: Outstanding undergraduate research award
Morley S, Peralta-Castro A, Brieba LG, Miller J, Ong K, Ridge PG, Oliphant A, Aldous S, Nielsen B. 2019. Arabidopsis thaliana organelles mimic the T7 phage DNA replisome with specific interactions between Twinkle protein and DNA polymerases Pol1A and Pol1B. BMC Plant Biology. 19:16 pages.
Shoukat E, Abideen Z, Ahmed MZ, Gulzar S, Nielsen B. 2019. Changes in growth and photosynthesis linked with intensity and duration of salinity in Phragmites karka: A giant grass. Environmental and Experimental Botany. 162:504-514.
Chi P, Huang W, Chiu H, Li J, Nielsen B, Liu H. 2018. Avian reovirus σA-modulated suppression of lactate dehydrogenase and upregulation of glutaminolysis and the mTOC1/eIF4E/HIF-1α pathway to enhance glycolysis and the TCA cycle for virus replication. Cellular Microbiology. 20:18.
Chiu HC, Huang WR, Liao TL, Chi PI, Nielsen B, Liu JH, Liu HJ. 2018. Mechanistic insights into avian reovirus p17-modulated interaction of p53 and cyclin H and suppression of cell-cycle cyclin-dependent kinase activity and complex formation of CDK/cyclin enhancing virus replication. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 293(32):12542-12562.
Weber KS, Bridgewater LC, Jensen JL, Breakwell DP, Nielsen B, Johnson SM. 2018. Personal microbiome analysis improves student engagement and interest in Immunology, Molecular Biology, and Genomics undergraduate courses. PLoS One. 13(4):20 pages.
Asrar H, Hussain T, Gul B, Khan MA, Nielsen B. 2018. Differential protein expression reveals salt tolerance mechanism of Desmostachya bipinnata at moderate and high levels of salinity. Functional Plant Biology. 45(8):793-812.
Huang W, Chi P, Chiu H, Hsu J, Nielsen B, Liao T, Liu H. 2017. Avian reovirus p17 and A act cooperatively to downregulate Akt by suppressing mTORC2 and CDK2/cyclin A2 and upregulating proteasome PSMB6. Scientific Reports. 7.
Salehi AS, Smith MT, Schinn S, Hunt JM, Muhlestein C, Diray-Arce J, Nielsen B, Bundy BC. 2017. Efficient tRNA Degradation and Quantification in Escherichia Coli Cell Extract Using RNase‐Coated Magnetic Beads: A Key Step Towards Codon Emancipation. Biotechnology Progress. 33(5):1401-1407.
Asrar H, Hussain T, Hadi SM, Gul B, Nielsen B, Khan MA. 2017. Salinity induced changes in light harvesting and carbon assimilating complexes of Desmostachya bipinnata (L.) Staph. Environmental and Experimental Botany. 135:86-95.
Morley SA, Nielsen B. 2016. Plant Mitochondrial DNA. Frontiers in Bioscience. 22(Landmark Edition):1023-1032.
Nielsen B, Ahmad N, Burgess SJ. 2016. Advances in plastid biology and its applications. Frontiers in Plant Science. 2 pages.
Adnan MY, Hussain T, Asrar H, Hameed A, Gul B, Nielsen B, Khan MA. 2016. Desmostachya bipinnata manages photosynthesis and oxidative stress at moderate salinity. Flora. 225:1-9.
Perry CE, Gale SD, Erickson LD, Wilson E, Nielsen B, Kauwe JS, Hedges DW. 2016. Seroprevalence and Serointensity of Latent Toxoplasma gondii in a Sample of Elderly Adults With and Without Alzheimer Disease. Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders. 30(2):123-126.
Larson MJ, Clayson PA, Keith CM, Hunt IJ, Hedges DW, Nielsen B, Call VR. 2016. Cognitive Control Adjustments in Healthy Older and Younger Adults: Conflict Adaptation, the Error-Related Negativity (ERN), and Evidence of Generalized Decline with Age. Biological Psychology. 115:50-63.
Morley S, Nielsen B. 2016. Chloroplast DNA copy number changes during plant development in organelle DNA polymerase mutants. Frontiers in Plant Science. 7:57 (10 pages).
Diray-Arce J, Clement MJ, Gul B, Khan A, Nielsen B. 2015. Transcriptome Assembly, Profiling and Differential Gene Expression Analysis of the Halophyte Suaeda fruticosa Provides Insights into Salt Tolerance. BMC Genomics. 16:353:24 pages.
Gul B, Ansari R, Ali H, Adnan Y, Weber DJ, Nielsen B, Koyro HW, Khan MA. 2014. The sustainable utilization of saline resources for livestock feed production in arid and semi-arid regions: A model from Pakistan. Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture. 26(12):1032-1045.
Cupp JD, Nielsen B. 2014. DNA Replication in Plant Mitochondria. Mitochondrion.
Diray-Arce J, Liu B, Cupp JD, Hunt T, Nielsen B. 2013. The Arabidopsis At1g30680 gene encodes a homologue to the phage T7 gp4 protein that has both DNA primase and DNA helicase activities. BMC Plant Biology. 13:36; 11 pages.
Cupp JD, Nielsen B. 2012. A Shift in Cellular Dynamics Occurs in an Arabidopsis Organellar DNA Polymerase IB Mutant. Physiologia Plantarum. DOI: 10.1111/ppl.12009.
Lassen MG, Kocchar S, Nielsen B. 2011. Identification of a soybean chloroplast DNA replication origin-binding protein. Plant Molecular Biology. 76(3-5):463-471.
Nielsen B, Cupp JD, Brammer J. 2010. Mechanisms for maintenance, replication, and repair of the chloroplast genome in plants. Journal of Experimental Botany. 61(10):2535-2537.
Manchekar M, Scissum-Gunn KD, Hammett LA, Backert S, Nielsen B. 2009. Mitochondrial DNA recombination in Brassica campestris. Plant Science. 177:629-635.
Khan MA, Ansari R, Ali H, Gul B, Nielsen B. 2009. Panicum turgidum, a potentially sustainable cattle feed alternative to maize for saline areas. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 129:542-546.
Nielsen B, Willis VC, Lin CY. 2007. Western blot analysis to illustrate relative control levels of the lac and ara promoters in Escherichia coli. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education. 35:133-137.
Manchekar M, Scissum-Gunn K, Song D, Khazi F, McLean SL, Nielsen B. 2006. DNA recombination activity in soybean mitochondria. Journal of Molecular Biology. 356:288-299.
Edmondson AC, Song D, Alvarez LA, Wall MK, Almond D, McClellan DA, Maxwell A, Nielsen B. 2005. Characterization of a mitochondrially targeted single-stranded DNA binding protein in Arabidopsis thaliana. Molecular Genetics and Genomics. 273:115-122.
Lugo SK, Kunnimalaiyaan M, Singh NK, Nielsen B. 2004. Required sequence elements for chloroplast DNA replication activity in vitro and in electroporated chloroplasts. Plant Science. 166:151-161.
Khazi FR, Edmondson AC, Nielsen B. 2003. An Arabidopsis homologue of bacterial RecA that complements an E. coli recA deletion is targeted to plant mitochondria. Molecular Genetics and Genomics. 269:454-463.
Nielsen B, Echols S. 2002. Use of a chloroplast rRNA gene to introduce basic molecular biology techniques. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education. 30:408-413.
Yang W, Qiu J, Nielsen B, Weaver DB. 2000. A preliminary genetic linkage map of soybean using an intraspecific cross of two cultivars: Peking and Lee. Soybean Genetics Newsletter.
Ahmad N, Burgess SJ, Nielsen B. 2016. Advances in Plastid Biology and its Applications. 161 pages p.
Nielsen B. 2008. Student Study Guide to Accompany Genes IX. Cathleen Sether, editor. Sudbury, Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. 194 p.
Nielsen B, Grebenok R, Kilpatrick S. 2006. Test Item File for Essential Genes by Benjamin Lewin. Brent Nielsen, editor. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. 212 p.
Diray-Arce J, Gul B, Khan A, Nielsen B. 2015. HALOPHYTE TRANSCRIPTOMICS: UNDERSTANDING MECHANISMS OF SALINITY TOLERANCE. M.A. Khan, M. Ozturk, B. Gul, & M.Z. Ahmed (Eds), editors. Halophytes for Food Security in Dry Lands. p. 19 pages
Nielsen B, Cherry JH. 2004. Metabolic Engineering of Chloroplasts for Abiotic Stress Tolerance, in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology of Plant Organelles. H. Daniell and C.D. Chase, editors. Metabolic Engineering of Chloroplasts for Abiotic Stress Tolerance, in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology of Plant Organelles. Berlin, Germany: Kluwer Academic Press. p. 14