Allan Rasmusson

Allan Rasmusson


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Personal profile


I was born in 1965 and grew up in the Skåne countryside. Among many interests, biology took over during the studies at Lund University. In my degree project at Imperial College, London, I became interested in plant respiration, redox and energy efficiency. This, I have further investigated as a PhD student in Lund and Adelaide, as PostDoc at the Institut für Genbiologische Forschung Berlin, and since 1996 as reasearcher at Lund University. Gradually, I changed methodologies, biochemical, molecular biological and physiological, and I have had the pleasure of being part of how plant respiration over time has proven to be involved in many fundamental life processes, developing a more integrated view of plant metabolism. With time, the research has lead to new topics mainly relating to the control of whole cell redox levels and plant acclimation to soil pH, and nitrogen. Lately, the research has been largely oriented on what functions that plants need to engage in order to be efficiently promoted by growth- and protection-promoting fungal symbionts.

One of the most central nodes of plant function is the distribution of energy and redox via the molecules NADPH and NADH, because this connects both to growth and to the many systems that protect plants. Also, NADPH and NADH are central components in the cytosolic metabolic pathways, which connect the two largest biochemical processes on earth, photosynthesis and respiration in plants. Especially the latter has been difficult to predict in relation to CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, and another mind-thrilling issue is that a substantial part of plant respiration takes place via the “wasteful” energy-bypass pathways. These pathways give plants a great metabolic flexibility, which we have studied regarding especially energetic efficience and how it way compensate for differences in nutrient access.

A second central issue lies in the functions of the biological membranes. How they delineate compartments and form complexity in the cell. Their integrity is essential for life functions, yet they are exposed and dynamic. Membranes are targets for destruction or modification by competing species, pathogens and abiotic stress conditions in all organisms. Yet among the large number of different molecules making up a membrane relatively little is known about which of them carry protective functions and how they work together. Among thousands of antimicrobial peptides, we found that the most studied membrane-attacking type is beeing actively counteracted by plant cells. Identifying the membrane components needed for protection against this peptide type can therefore clarify how a complex vulnerable structure can be modified to be fit for a different functional scenario. Further, we analyse what role that the cellular changes to the plant, and the plant genes doing it, have for the ability of plants to be promoted by growth- and protection-promoting fungi. The knowledge of the genes involved could open up for novel concepts in plant breeding; adapting the crop plants for taking best use of biological pest management approaches.


I am deeply involved in several undergraduate courses, at basic and advanced level. Major assignments (including course design, coordination and much of the teaching) include the 15 credits advanced course in Plant Biology, the 15 credits basic course in Molecular Biology, and the 15 credits advanced course in Methods in Molecular Biology. I also teach smaller parts of the 12 credits basic course in Botany, and the 15 credits advanced courses in Molecular Genetics and Molecular Genetics of Eukaryotic Organisms. Within postgraduate training, I co-organise the 1-week methods course Quantitative PCR Methods within the Postgraduate Courses in Life Science program. In both undergraduate and postgraduate education I also supervise and examine students.

Connected to education, I am also involved in textbook development, being a principal contributor to 4 editions of the internationally dominant textbook of Plant Physiology, Taiz et al. Plant Physiology and Development (Oxford University Press' website), which has been issued in at least eleven different languages.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

UKÄ subject classification

  • Botany
  • Cell Biology


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