Melissa S. Hillwig, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology (Science)
412-397-6053 phone (M)
412-397-4075 fax
John Jay 221

Educational Background

  • Bachelor of Science, Biology - Focus on Cell/Molecular, Genetics, and Biochemistry, Penn State Erie, 2003
  • Doctor of Science, Genetics, Iowa State University, 2009

Area of Expertise/Research

  • My research involves studying the function and regulation of a class of enzymes known as nucleases. I am investigating their role in plant nectar. I have studied ribonucleases for 8 years and I am expanding my area of interest.


  • Hillwig MS, Contento AL, Meyer A, Ebany D, Bassham DC, MacIntosh GC. (2001) RNS2, a conserved member of the RNase T2 family, is necessary for ribosomal RNA recycling in plants.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) 108(3): 1093-1098.
  • Haud N, Kara F, Diekmann S, Henneke M, Willer JR, Hillwig MS, Gregg RG, MacInosh GC, Gartner J, Alia A, Hurlstone AF. (2011) rnaset2 mutant zebrafish model familial cystic leukoencephalopathy and reveal a role for RNase T2 in degrading ribosomal RNA. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) 108(3):1099-1103.
  • Hillwig MS, Kanobe C, Thornburg RW, MacIntosh GC. (2010) Functional proteomics identifies S-RNases in petunia nectar. Journal of Plant Physiology 168(7):734-8.
  • Hillwig MS, Liu X, Liu G, Thornburg RW, MacIntosh GC. (2010) Petunia nectar proteins have ribonuclease activity. Journal of Experimental Botany 61(11):2951-65.
  • MacIntosh GC, Hillwig MS, Meyer A, Flagel L. (2010) RNase T@ genes from rice and the evolution of secretory ribonucleases in plants. Molecular Gentetics and Genomics 283(4):381-96.
  • Hillwig MS, Lebrasseur ND, Green PJ, MacIntosh GC. (2008) Impact of transcriptional, ABA-dependent and ABA-independent pathways on wounding regulation of RNS1 expression. Molecular Genetics and Genomics 280(3):249-61.