Dr. Muthu Venkateshwaran, PhD

Soil and Crop Science Program Coordinator and Associate Professor

212 Pioneer Tower

Dr. Muthu Venkateshwaran is an Associate Professor of Crop Physiology and Molecular Biology in the School of Agriculture at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.  Muthu earned his Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, India and his Master’s degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in Plant Pathology from ANGR Agricultural University, India.  He earned his Doctoral degree in Plant Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Before joining UW-Platteville, Muthu worked as postdoctoral research associate in the Biotechnology Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Muthu joined the School of Agriculture in August 2013.  His teaching areas of focus include Plant Physiology, Plant Breeding, Plant Biotechnology, Plant Pathology, Pest Identification and Management, Crop Science and undergraduate research in crop science and environmental horticulture.  Muthu’s research interests include plant-microbe symbioses (legume-rhizobia symbiosis, arbuscular mycorrhization and ectomycorrhization), plant defense signaling, plant disease management, rhizosphere microbiome and sustainable agricultural practices.  He co-advices Agronomy-Soil and Water Conservation club and CERES fraternity. Muthu has received several distinguished fellowships and awards, including 2019 UW-Platteville Outstanding Faculty Academic Advisor Award, 2018 Alliant Energy Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award, 2018 Thomas and Lee Ann Lindhal Teaching Excellence Award, 2015 UW-Platteville Outstanding Faculty Award, the D.C. Smith Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship, the Agronomy Outstanding Graduate Student Award and the G.O. Mott Meritorious Graduate Student Award. He is a member of the American Society of Plant Biologists, the American Phytopathological Society, and the International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions.

Selected Research Grants: 

Venkateshwaran, M. (2019-2024) CAREER: Identification and Characterization of Novel Genetic Players in the Early Signaling Pathways of Plant-Microbe Symbioses. National Science Foundation (NSF)-CAREER grant: $ 750,000.

Venkateshwaran, M. and Annamalai, R. (2019-2020) Development of natural and safe pesticides as novel alternatives for sustainable plant disease management. UW System WiSys Technology Foundation -Applied Research Grant (WiSys-ARG): $46,263.

Whitman, T., Venkateshwaran, M., Johnson, Y., Baxter, C. (2018-2020) Below ground drivers of prescribed fire impacts on vegetation in restored prairies. University of Wisconsin-Consortium for Extension and Research in Agriculture and Natural Resources (CERANR): $ 58,391.

Venkateshwaran, M. and Annamalai, R. (2017-2018) Development of materials capable of controlled delivery of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to plants for defense against pathogens. UW System WiSys Technology Foundation -Applied Research Grant (WiSys-ARG): $49,952.

Ané, J.M. and Venkateshwaran, M. (2015-2018) Regulation of nuclear cation channels controlling the establishment of plant-microbe symbioses. USDA-NIFA-Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (USDA-AFRI): $474,968.

Venkateshwaran, M. and Ané, J.M. (2015-2018) Suppressor screen to identify novel genetic players in plant-microbe symbioses. University of Wisconsin-Consortium for Extension and Research in Agriculture and Natural Resources (CERANR): $54,257.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications (For more click here)

Kim, S., Zeng, W., Bernard, S., Liao, J., Venkateshwaran, M., Ané, J-M., and Jiang, Y. 2019. Ca2+-regulated Ca2+ channels with an RCK gating ring control plant symbiotic associations. Nature Communications (in press).

Cope, K.R., Bascaules, A., Irving, T.B., Venkateshwaran, M., et al. 2019. The ectomycorrhizal fungus Laccaria bicolor produces lipochitooligosaccharides and uses the common symbiosis pathway to colonize Populus. The Plant Cell (in press).

Valdés-López, O., Jayaraman, D., Maeda, J., Delaux, P.M., Venkateshwaran, M., et al. 2018. A Novel Positive Regulator of the Early Stages of the Root Nodule Symbiosis Identified by Phosphoproteomics. Plant and Cell Physiology, 60(3): 575–586.

Venkateshwaran, M., Jayaraman, D., Chabaud, M., Genre, A., Balloon, A.J., Maeda, J., Forshey, K., Den Os, D., Kwiecien, N.W., Coon, J.J., Barker, D.G., Ané, J.M. 2015. A role for the mevalonate pathway in early plant symbiotic signaling. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 112: 9781–9786.

Venkateshwaran, M., Volkening, J., Sussman, M. and Ané, J.M. 2013. Symbiosis and the social network of higher plants. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 16: 118-127.

Venkateshwaran, M., Cosme, A., Han, L., Banba, M., Satyshur, K.A., Parniske, M., Imaizumi-Anraku, H. and Ané, J.M. 2012. The Recent Evolution of a Symbiotic Ion Channel in the Legume Family Altered Ion Conductance and Improved Functionality in Calcium Signaling. The Plant Cell, 24: 2528-2545.