Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Meet the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s
Michael Sussman
Professor of Biochemistry
College of Agricultural & Life Sciences 


Research area Developing and applying new genomic technologies to reveal mechanistic information on how proteins in the plasma membrane sense and respond to changes in the environment, both externally (e.g., hormones, temperature, light, etc.) and internally (i.e., developmentally).

What excites you about your work? 

“In animals, almost every receptor is incredibly important. Most are involved in pathways that regulate oncogenes, which are targets for cancer drugs. In plants, the large family of receptors and their hormones play critical roles in many aspects of plant metabolism, growth and development, although cell expansion is one of the more obvious. Plant cells are long, and they have to regulate their expansion very carefully, so they obtain sufficient sunlight and nutrients.”

What do you hope to achieve? 

“The discovery of a plant cell growth pathway typified by our discovery of the Feronia/RALF receptor/hormone pair is the tip of the iceberg. There are another 430 receptor protein kinase regulated pathways that we don’t know anything about.

Mike’s work is visionary – when you hear from him about a new direction, it’s usually the first time you hear about it. Then you notice the growing buzz around that topic. We’re excited to work with Mike on the cutting edge.

– Jennifer Gottwald, WARF, Director of Licensing

Want to learn more?

Jennifer Gottwald, [email protected], 608.960.9854