Susanne Widell

Professor emerita

Research

My PhD is from the Department of Plant Physiology, Lund University and was obtained in 1980. I spent one year during my education at Carnegie Institution of Washington, Plant Biology, Palo Alto, USA. The thesis work was on the role of blue light photoperception of plants. The work led me into pioneering work on plant plasma membrane processes that I still conduct, especially with regard to how biotic and abiotic signals are perceived and transduced in plants. Already during my early undergraduate studies, I was fascinated by plants and the ways they respond to their environment. In the beginning, I focussed on light and temperature control. The later years my research follow two separate but related paths, calcium signalling and resistance to antimicrobial peptides.

We depend on plants or plant products at all levels in our lives: to produce oxygen that we respire, as nutrition, or as wood in our homes and for heating. In contrast to us, however, plants usually cannot move but have to be able to respond to the environment and modulate their development accordingly. Understanding the cellular signalling mechanisms behind such plasticities help us understand also how plant performance can change in a changing environment.

I work on signaling between benevolent fungal species of Trichoderma and plants. These fungi protects the plants from pathogenic organisms, for example by inducing different defence responses in the plant or by excreting antimicrobial lytic peptides. In specific we study how plants are protected from the lytic compounds.

The use of benevolent organisms in crop cultivation is becoming an environmentally-friendly and efficient alternative to pesticides in many countries.

I teach Cell Biology (twice a year), Plant Anatomy and Physiology (once a year), and a Bachelor thesis course (1-2 a year). Right now, I am involved in the Advanced Plant Biology course. In these courses, I work at all levels, and with both theoretical and practical parts.

Recent research outputs

Schopper, S., Mühlenbock, P., Sörensson, C., Hellborg, L., Lenman, M., Susanne Widell, Fettke, J. & Andreasson, E., 2015, In : Plant Biology. 17, 1, p. 74-80

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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