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Scholarly Interest Report
Wassim Chehab
Faculty Fellow
Faculty Fellow in Biochemistry and Cell Biology
  • Ph.D. Biochemistry (2003) University of Nevada, Reno, NV
  • B.S. Chemistry (1998) American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Primary Department
   Department of BioSciences
 Faculty Web Page
Research Areas
 Identifying the role jasmonates play in plant responses to mechanical stimulation. Investigating the relation between jasmonates and circadian clock regulation in plant immunity. Identifying fungal elicitors and their corresponding plant receptors crucial in launching the jasmonate mediated defenses. Unraveling the role jasmonates play in mediating plant fertility

Research Statement




Plants, like other non-motile organisms, cannot change location to escape stressful environments. Therefore, plants evolved to respond and acclimate to diverse stimuli, including the seemingly innocuous touch stimulus. Although some species, such as Venus flytrap, have fast touch responses, most plants display more gradual touch-induced morphological alterations, called thigmomorphogenesis. Thigmomorphogenesis may be adaptive; trees subjected to winds develop less elongated and thicker trunks and thus are less likely damaged by powerful wind gusts. Despite the widespread relevance of thigmomorphogenesis, the regulation that underlies plant mechanostimulus-induced morphological responses remains largely unknown. Furthermore, whether thigmomorphogenesis confers additional advantage is not fully understood. One aspect of my research is focused on unraveling the mechanostimulus-induced signaling and response mechanisms in Arabidopsis and whether mechanical stimulations lead to cross-protection of crops against insect and pathogen invaders.


Another area of research I am interested in is jasmonic acid signaling in plant defenses. Jasmonic acid is a plant hormone known to regulate diverse aspects of plant life such as development and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. Despite significant advances in unravelling the jasmonic acid signaling in response to stresses, crucial and fundamental questions remain incompletely understood. There is mounting evidence that plants are capable of differentiating fungal infection from insect attack and wounding, and thus launching the appropriate response to the pathogen infection even though responses to wounding and insect herbivory are at least in part mediated by jasmonic acid. Therefore, I am interested in identifying the signaling mechanisms that lead to jasmonic acid induction specifically following fungal infection. 

Selected Publications
 Refereed articles

Koo Y, Wang J, Zhang Q, Zhu H, Chehab EW, Colvin VL, Alvarez PJ, Braam J. "Fluorescence reports intact quantum dot uptake into roots and translocation to leaves of Arabidopsis thaliana and subsequent ingestion by insect herbivores.." Environ Sci Technol, 49 (2014) : 626-632.


Tatyana Savchenko, Venkat Apparao Kolla, Chang-Quan Wang, Zainab Nasafi, Bpantamars Phadungchob, E. Wassim Chehab, Federica Brandizzi, John E. Froehlich, and Katayoon Dehesh "Functional convergence of oxylipin and ABA pathways controls stomatal closure in response to drought." Plant Physiology, 164 (2014) : 1151-1160.


Goodspeed D, Chehab EW, Covington MF, Braam J. "Circadian control of jasmonates and salicylates: The clock role in plant defense." Plant Signal Behav, 8(2) (2013) : e23123.


Goodspeed D, Liu JD, Chehab EW, Sheng Z, Francisco M, Kliebenstein DJ, Braam J. "Postharvest circadian entrainment enhances crop pest resistance and phytochemical cycling." Curr Biol , 23(13) (2013) : 1235-41.

doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.05.034

Danielle Goodspeed, E. Wassim Chehab, Amelia Min-Vinditti, Janet Braam, and Micheal Covington. Arabidopsis synchronizes jasmonate-mediated defense with insect circadian behavior. 2012. PNAS.109:4674-4677


E. Wassim Chehab, Chen Yao, Zachary Henderson, Se Kim, and Janet Braam. Arabidopsis touch-induced morphogenesis is jasmonate mediated and protects against pests. 2012. Curr. Biol. 22:701-706.


Yanme Xiao, Tatyana Savchenko, Edward Baidoo, E. Wassim Chehab, Daniel M. Hayden, Vladimir Tolstikov, Jason A. Corwin, Daniel J. Kliebenstein, Jay D. Keasling, Katayoon Dehesh. Retrograde signaling by the plastidial metabolite MEcPP regulates expression of nuclear stress-response genes. 2012. Cell. 149:1525-1535.


E. Wassim Chehab, Se Kim, Tatyana Savchenko, Daniel Kliebenstein , Katayoon Dehesh, and Janet Braam "Intronic T-DNA insertion renders Arabidopsis opr3 a conditional jasmonic acid-producing mutant." Plant Physiol., 156(2) (2011) : 770-778.


Kalie Van Ree, Bernadette Gehl, E. Wassim Chehab, Yu-Chang Tsai, Janet Braam "Nitric Oxide Accumulation is Independent of NOA1 in the Presence of Sucrose." Plant J., 68 (2011) : 225-233.


Yichuan Wang, Bochu Wang, E. Wassim Chehab, and Janet Braam "CML24 is involved in directional growth control of Arabidopsis roots on hard-agar surfaces and regulation of cortical microtubule orientation." J Plant Growth Regul. online


Savchenko T., Walley J.W., Chehab E.W., Kaspi R., Pye M.F., Bostock R.M. and Dehesh K. "Arachidonic acid: an ancient signaling molecule modulates plant stress signaling networks" Plant Cell 10.1105/tpc. 110.073858 (2010)

 Book chapters

E. Wassim Chehab and Janet Braam. “ Jasmonates in plant defense responses.” Biocommunication of plants. Eds. Guther Witzany, Burmoos: Springer, 2012. 67-88.


E. Wassim Chehab, Yichuan Wang, and Janet Braam "Mechanical Force Responses of Plant Cells and Plants." Mechanical Integration of Plant Cells and Plants (2011) : 173-194.


"Pre- and Post-Harvest Treatments To Reduce Crop Biotic Stress." Gates Foundation, ARC workshop, Nairobi, Kenya. (August 2013) With Janet Braam