Dr. Michael Schläppi

Dr. Michael Schlappi
Dr. Michael SchläppiMarquette University

Wehr Life Sciences, 207

MilwaukeeWI53201United States of America
(414) 288-1480


Cold tolerance and flowering time regulation in plants


Diploma 1986, University of Basel, Switzerland  
Ph.D. 1990, University of Basel, Switzerland  
Postdoctoral Fellow, Carnegie Institute of Washington 

Courses Taught

Biol 1002 - General Biology
Biol 4406 - Plant Biology
Biol 8201 - Epigenetics
Biol 3201 - Genetics
Biol 8954 - Seminar in Plant Molecular Biology 

Research Interests

Cold Stress Tolerance Response Mechanisms in Rice (Oryza sativa L.)

Wisconsin Rice

We have molecular and genetic projects to investigate cold stress tolerance response mechanisms in the model plant rice (Oryza sativa L.). We are focusing on exploring the natural variation that exists in rice to map new quantitative trait loci (QTL) for various cold tolerance traits and to identify QTL associated genes. Toward this goal, we are using a sophisticated method to screen the US Department of Agriculture rice mini-core (RMC) collection and the Rice Diversity Panel 1 (RDP1), both of which represent the diversity and complexity of the world’s germplasms. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that mechanisms of cold stress tolerance responses measured in various ways are under complex genetic control. Our long-term goals are to field-test our laboratory results, to introgress large-effect QTL into elite rice lines, to fine-map interesting QTL, and to validate cold tolerance candidate genes associated with them. We are currently mapping differentially expressed genes and hub genes controlling gene co-expression modules to various QTL and use overexpression and CRISPR/Cas9 mediated knockout approaches for candidate gene assessments.

In addition to these research projects, we are translating research outcomes into “real world” applications by cultivating cold tolerant rice varieties on two acres of land in the cold climate of Wisconsin (redstonerice.com).

Selected Publications

Maghboli Balasjin N, Maki JS, Schläppi MR*, Marshall CW* (2022) Plant growth-promoting activity of bacteria isolated from Asian rice (Oryza sativa L.) depends on rice genotype. Micobiol Spectr 10:e0278721. (*co-corresponding authors)

Phan H, Schläppi M (2021) Low temperature antioxidant activity QTL associated with genomic regions involved on physiological cold stress tolerance responses in rice (Oryza sativa L.). Genes 12:1700.

Shimoyana N, Johnson M, Beaumont A, Schläppi M (2020) Multiple cold tolerance trait phenotyping reveals shared quantitative trait loci in Oryza sativa. Rice 13:57.

Shi Y, Phan H, Liu Y, Cao S, Zhang Z, Chu C, Schläppi MR (2020) Glycosyltransferase OsUGT90A1 helps protect the plasma membrane during chilling stress in rice. J Exp Bot 71:2723-2739.

Liu C, Schläppi MR, Wang W, Wang A, Chu C (2019) The bZIP73 transcription factors controls rice cold stress tolerance at the reproductive stage. Plant Biotechnol J 17:1834-1849.

Liu C, Ou S, Mao B, Tang J, Wang W, Wang H, Cao S, Schläppi MR, Zhao B, Xiao G, Wang X, Chu C (2018) Early domestication of bZIP73 facilitated adaptation of japonica rice to cold climates. Nature Commun 9:3302.

Schläppi MR, Jackson AK, Eizenga G, Wang A, Chu C, Shi Y, Shimoyama N, Boykin DL (2017) Assessment of five chilling tolerance traits and GWAS mapping in rice using the USDA mini-core collection. Front Plant Sci 8: 957.


NIFA-AFRI grant #2016-67013-24587 from the USDA (2016-2021)
Strategic Innovation Fund grant #SIF105-17 from Marquette University (2017-2019)
NIFA-AFRI grant #2018-67014-27470 from the USDA (2018-2019)

Current Students

Huy Phan (Ph.D. student)
Nasim Maghboli Balasjin (Ph.D. student)

Dr. Schlappi is currently accepting new Ph.D. students into his lab 

Former Students

Naoki Shimoyama, 2022, Ph.D.
Yao Shi, 2019, Ph.D.
Ranjuna Weerasekera, 2009, M.S.
Yi Zhang, 2007, Ph.D. 
Jason A Bubier, 2004, Ph.D.
Richard K Wilkosz, 2001, Ph.D. 
Monica K Patel, 2001, M.S. 

Faculty Directory

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Emeriti & Former Faculty


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Department of Biological Sciences

Wehr Life Sciences, 109
1428 W. Clybourn St.
Milwaukee, WI 53233

(414) 288-7355

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