Credits: 4 (3 lecture hours, 3 lab hours)

Terms Offered: Spring

Instructors: Ruth Grene, Erik Nilsen


  1. PPWS 5304 is a graduate-level course for students in the life sciences with an interest in contemporary plant biology.
  2. The course will take the form of lectures, class discussions, a take-home final, a take-home midterm, and student presentations.
  3. Participation in class is an essential part of learning. Consistent attendance and informed contributions are expected of all students. Many of the classes will take the form of student presentations in which a pair of students will present the paper and all other members of the class will be called upon to discuss the paper assigned for that day. A grade will be assigned for each student for each discussion period.
  4. The instructor, in one-on-one sessions, will work on the first oral presentation with each student. Students are required to prepare the last four presentations on their own.
  5. Assignment of grades is on the following basis:

Take-home midterm


Take-home final


Oral presentations (5)


Class participation


Team work


Lecture Topics

  • Introduction, Signal Transduction
  • Survey of abiotic stress responses
  • Responses to extremes of temperature
  • Gene expression responses to stress
  • Heat Stress
  • Cold-CBF regulon
  • Cold-HOS9
  • Cold-ICE1
  • Drought
  • Cross-Talk
  • Salt Stress
  • Ozone Effects on Plants
  • Nutrient Stress
  • Adaptation in Trees
  • Plant-Pathogen Interactions


  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plants. B. Buchanan, W. Gruissem, and R. Jones. This book is on two hour reserve in Newman Library. I also have a personal copy, which students may read in my lab.
  • The primary reading material in the course will be papers and reviews from the literature. These will be posted on the Scholar site.