Elizabeth Haswell

Elizabeth Haswell

​Professor of Biology
Howard Hughes Medical Institute-Simmons Faculty Scholar
PhD, University of California-San Francisco

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
    CB 1137
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

Elizabeth Haswell is interested in the ways that molecules and cellular structures perceive force. Her laboratory's work promises novel insight into the strategies used by both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells to sense mechanical stimuli such as touch, osmotic pressure, or gravity—signals that are crucial for the normal growth and development of plants.

Little is known about signaling in response to stimuli that are mechanical in nature, such as touch, osmotic pressure, or gravity—signals that are crucial for the normal growth and development of plants. Her group is currently studying the structure, function, regulation, and evolution of several families of mechanosensitive ion channels, using live-imaging, single-channel patch clamp electrophysiology, and complementary biochemical and molecular genetic approaches. They are also engaged in functional and genetic screens designed to identify novel mechanosensory proteins, and in the development of new tools for the non-invasive analysis of membrane forces.


Selected Publications

Complete publications list

C. P. Lee, G. Maksaev, G. Jensen, M. Murcha, M. E. Wilson, M. Fricker, R. Hell, E. S. Haswell, A. H. Millar and L. Sweetlove. (2016). MSL1 is a mitochondrial mechanosensitive ion channel that dissipates membrane potential and maintains redox homeostasis in mitochondria during abiotic stress. Plant Journal, in press.

M. E. Wilson, Matt Mixdorf, R. H. Berg and E. S. Haswell. (2016). Plastid Osmotic Shock Influences Dedifferentiation at the Plant Shoot Apex. Development, in press.

D. R. Luesse, M. E. Wilson and E. S. Haswell. (2015). RNA-Sequencing Analysis of the msl2msl3crl, and ggps1 Mutants Indicates that Diverse Sources of Plastid Dysfunction do not Alter Leaf Morphology Through a Common Signaling Pathway. Frontiers in Plant Science 6:1148.

E. S. Hamilton, G. S. Jensen, G. Maksaev, A. Katims1, A.M. Sherpand E. S. Haswell. (2015). Mechanosensitive Ion Channel MSL8 Regulates Osmotic Forces During Pollen Hydration and Germination. Science 350:438-441.

S. M. Brady, M. Burow, W. Busch, O. Carlborg, K. J. Denby, J. Glazebrook, E. S. Hamilton, S. Harmer, E. S. Haswell, J. N. Maloof, D. Kliebenstein. (2015). Reassess the t-test: Interact With All Your Data Via ANOVA. Plant Cell 27:2088-94.

E. S. Haswell and P. E. Verslues. (2015). The Ongoing Search for the Molecular Basis of Plant Mechanosensing. Journal of General Physiology 145:398-394. Featured on the cover of the May 2015 issue.

E. S. Hamilton, A. Schlegel, and E. S. Haswell. (2015). United in Diversity: Plant Mechanosensitive Channels. Annual Review of Plant Biology 66:113-137.

K. M. Veley, G. Maksaev, S. M. Kloepper, E. M. Frick, E. January and E. S. Haswell. (2014). MSL10 has a Regulated Cell Death Signaling Activity that is Separable from its Mechanosensitive Ion Channel Activity. Plant Cell 26:3115-31.

S. Bell, J. Blumstein, K. Brose, A. Carroll, J. Chang, J. Charles, E. S. Haswell, M. Michelitsch, J. Owens, C. K. Patil, R. Smith, J. Tupy, E. Walsh, T. Ware. (2014). Defining Success in Graduate School. Molecular Biology of the Cell 25:1942-1944.

M. E. Wilson, M. R. Basu, G. B. Bhaskara, P. E. Verslues, and E. S. Haswell. (2014). Plastid Osmotic Stress Activates Cellular Osmotic Stress Responses. Plant Physiology 165:119-128. 

M.E. Wilson, G. Maksaev, and E. S. Haswell. (2013). MscS-like Mechanosensitive Ion Channels in Plants and Microbes. Biochemistry 52 (34): 5708–5722. 

From our podcast:

Hold That Thought Podcast

The secret lives of plants

Elizabeth Haswell wants to change the way that people think about plants. What do scientists know about how plants sense their environment, and what remains a mystery? The answers may surprise you.