371c Bond Life Sciences Center
Walter Gassmann is director of Bond LSC, a professor in plant sciences and part of the Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG). Gassmann focuses on the inner workings of the plant immune system. In particular, he is interested in how it is activated and how it is kept in check to prevent harmful side effects such as stunted growth and reduced seed yield when the immune system is overactive.
More specifically, his lab’s current interests include the regulation of immune protein complexes by post-translational protein modifications and regulation of transcriptional networks. This builds on the discovery of new components of a plant’s immune machinery that contribute to tight control of immune responses. These advances were made with the commonly used research plant, Arabidopsis. Off-shoots of this research include projects such as characterization of immune system components in Norton grapes, a native Missouri grape variety resistant to the fungus powdery mildew, which is responsible for costly damage to grape crops world-wide. More recently that work has extended to similar research in lettuce.
Gassmann is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.