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Robert R. Wise, Ph.D.

F. John Barlow Professor of Botany, Emeritus

Department of Biology
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
800 Algoma Blvd.
Oshkosh, WI 54901

Office: Room 16, Halsey Science Center





  • Ph.D.  1986, Plant Physiology, Duke University, Durham, N.C.
  • M.S.  1981, Botany, Duke University, Durham, N.C.
  • B.S.  1977, Biology, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point


Teaching Experience

  • Introductory Biology:  Unity (Bio 105)
  • Introductory Biology:  Diversity (Bio 106)
  • Honors Biology (Bio 108)
  • Biology of Plant and Microbes (Bio 231)
  • Introductory Cell and Molecular Biology (Bio 323)
  • Plant Anatomy (Bio 337/537)
  • Plant Physiology (Bio 345/545)
  • Electron Microscopy Techniques (Bio 350/550)
  • Senior Capstone Course (Bio 491)
  • Advanced Topics in Plant Stress Physiology (Bio 766)
  • Advanced Topics in Bioenergetics (Bio 766)


Professional Positions Held

1978 Coordinator of Electron Microscopy Laboratory and Course, Department of Biology, UW Stevens Point.
1980-1984 Teaching Assistant, Department of Botany, Duke University.
1984-1986 Research Assistant, Department of Botany, Duke University.
1986-1989 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Photosynthesis Research Group, USDA/ARS, University of Illinois.
1989-1990 Postdoctoral Research Associate, McKnight Foundation and Department of Plant Biology, University of Illinois.
Fall, 1990 Visiting Lecturer, Department of Plant Biology, University of Illinois.
1991-1993 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin Madison.
1993-1999 Assistant Professor, Department of Biology and Microbiology, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
1999-2004 Associate Professor, Department of Biology and Microbiology, UW Oshkosh
2001-2002 Honorary Fellow of Botany (sabbatical position), Department of Botany, UW Madison
2004-2012 Professor, Department of Biology and Microbiology, UW Oshkosh
2005-2009 F. John Barlow Endowed Professorship
2010 Recipient of the Edward M. Penson Distinguished Teaching Award
2011-2012 Visiting Sabbatical Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, UW Madison
2012-2018 Distinguished Professor of Botany, Department of Biology, UW Oshkosh
2012-2013 Interim Director, Office of Grants and Faculty Director, UW Oshkosh
2014-2016 Regional Associate, Wisconsin System Technology Foundation
2018-pres Distinguished Professor of Botany, Emeritus


Research Interests

I began my research career in the fall of 1976 at UW Stevens Point by enrolling in an Electron Microscopy Techniques course taught by Dr. Joe Harris. That began my lifelong interest in chloroplasts, led to two publications, and pointed me in the direction of Duke University to pursue a Masters and PhD in botany. My master’s thesis focused on the ultrastructural impact of chilling in the light on cotton, bean, and collard leaves. My doctoral research investigated the physiology of reactive oxygen species under the same conditions in cucumber and pea. Upon graduation, I joined the laboratory of Dr. Don Ort in the USDA Photosynthetic Research Unit at the University of Illinois. My interests in environmental stress biology in Don’s lab continued with studies of chilling stress and expanded to investigations of heat/drought stress in laboratory and field-grown plants.

I accepted a faculty position at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in the fall of 1993 where I was in charge of the UWO Electron Microscopy Laboratory. Returning to my EM roots, I worked with colleagues, undergraduate and graduate students on studies of physiology, structure, and ultrastructure in a variety of taxa: water meal (Wolffia), blackjack oak, PQ-deficient maize, field-grown cotton, Campanula seeds, lake flies, sumac, hornpod, and those crazy cystoliths in the Acanthaceae. In 2006, a volume (co-edited with Dr. Ken Hoober) on plastid structure and function summed up my 35-year interest in all things plastid. A 2023 encyclopedia entry (with Dr. Brian Piasescki) condensed that story into a more digestible format. I also continued my interests in plant stress physiology by reporting on thylakoid stacking changes under changing light conditions and several studies of heat stress effects on electron transport and bioenergetics, all with colleagues.

A large project towards the official end of my career was the publication (with two co-authors) of a 725 page, college level textbook on plant anatomy. This concept-based, richly illustrated volume has over 1,100 photographs, line drawings, color light micrographs, and electron micrographs displaying the details and beauty of plant cellular structure. I retired in 2018 and continue to dabble in science via professional consulting, local presentations, a popular article or two, and volunteer science advising.


Book authorship and book editing

  • Crang R.C., S. Lyons-Sobaski and R.R. Wise. 2018. Plant Anatomy: A Concept-Based Approach to the Structure of Seed Plants. Springer, New York, 725 pp.
  • Rye, C., Y. Avissar, J.H. Choi, J. DeSaix, V. Jurukovski and R.R. Wise. 2013. Biology, 1st edition, OpenStax, Rice University, 1480 pages.
  • Wise, R.R. and J.K. Hoober (eds.). 2006. The Structure and Function of Plastids. In: Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration Series, Volume 23, Govindjee (ed.). Springer, Amsterdam. 575 pages.



(names in bold are undergraduate or graduate students)

  • Wise, R.R. 2023. The science of fall colors. Door County Living Magazine, Autumn issue, pp.  16-17 (non-peer reviewed).
  • Wise, R.R. and B.P Piasecki. 2023. Plastids: The versatile anabolic factories of plants. In: Bradshaw, R.A., P. Stahl and T. Yoshimori (eds.), Encyclopedia of Cell Biology, Vol 2, 2nd ed. Academic Press, Waltham, MA. 324-330.
  • Gabel, N.H., R.R. Wise and G.K. Rogers. 2021. Distribution of cystoliths in the leaves of Acanthaceae and its effect on leaf surface anatomy. Blumea 65: 224–232.
  • Rogers, G.K. and R.R. Wise. 2020. Floral Biology of Mitreola petiolata and M. sessilifolia (Loganiaceae): Chasmogamous flowers with massive post-anthesis precocious pollen germination. Castanea 85:146–154.

  • Song, J., B.D. Keppler, R.R. Wise and A.F. Bent. 2015. PARP2 is the predominant poly(ADP-Ribose) polymerase in Arabidopsis DNA damage and immune responses. PLOS Genetics. 11(5) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005200.
  • Wise, R.R. 2016. Plastids: The anabolic factories of plants.  In: Bradshaw, R.R., P. Stahl and T. Yoshimori (eds.), Encyclopedia of Cell Biology, Vol 2, Waltham, MA; Academic Press, pp. 324-330
  • Song, J., B.D. Keppler, R.R. Wise and A.F. Bent.  2015.  PARP2 is the predominant poly(ADP-Ribose) polymerase in Arabidopsis DNA damage and immune responses. PLOS Genetics.  11(5) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005200.
  • Zhang, R., R.R. Wise, K.R. Struck and T.D. Sharkey.  2010.  Moderate heat stress of Arabidopsis thaliana leaves causes chloroplast swelling and plastoglobule formation.  Photosynthesis Research, 105: 123-134.
  • Snider, J.L., J.S. Choinski and R.R. Wise. 2009.  Juvenile Rhus glabra leaves have higher temperatures and lower gas exchange rates than mature leaves when compared in the field during periods of high irradiance. Journal of Plant Physiology, 166: 686-696
  • Wise, R.R.  2006.  The diversity of plastid form and function.  In:  Wise, R.R. and J.K. Hoober.  The Structure and Function of Plastids, Springer, Amsterdam, pp. 3-26.
  • Schrader, S.M., R.R. Wise, W.F. Wacholtz, D.R. Ort and T.D. Sharkey.  2004.  Thylakoid membrane responses to moderately high leaf temperature in Pima cotton. Plant, Cell & Environment 27: 725-736.
  • Wise, R.R., A.J. Olson, S.M. Schrader and T.D. Sharkey.  2004.  Electron transport is the functional limitation of photosynthesis in field-grown Pima cotton plants at high temperature. Plant, Cell & Environment 27: 717-724.
  • Hoey, K.A., R.R. Wise, and G.H. Adler. 2004.  Ultrastructure of echimyid and murid rodent spines. Journal of Zoology, London 263: 307-315.
  • Vogtschaller, J. and R.R. Wise.  2004.  Simple light guide for measuring irradiance in an aqueous oxygen electrode chamber.  Photosynthesis Research 82: 195-196.
  • Rozak, P.R., R.M. Seiser, W.F. Wacholtz, and R.R. Wise.  2002.  Rapid, reversible alterations in spinach thylakoid appression upon changes in light intensity.  Plant, Cell & Environment  25: 421-429.
  • Wise, R.R.  2002.  Inexpensive holder for hand-trimming resin-embedded tissues.  Microscopy Research and Technique  56: 306-307.
  • Wise, R.R., C.A. Pierstorff, S.L. Nelson, R.M. Bursek, J.L. Plude, M. McNello, and J. Hein. 2001.  Morphological deformities in Chironomus (Chironomidae: Diptera) larvae as indicators of pollution in Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin.  Journal of Great Lakes Research 27: 503-509.
  • Buss, C.C., T.G. Lammers and R.R. Wise.  2001.  Seed coat morphology and its systematic implications in Cyanea and other genera of Lobelioideae (Campanulaceae).  American Journal of Botany 88: 1301-1308.
  • Wise, R.R., G.F. Sassenrath-Cole and R.G. Percy.  2000.  A comparison of leaf anatomy in field-grown Gossypium hirsutum and G. barbadense.  Annals of Botany 86: 731-738.
  • Kratsch, H.A. and R.R. Wise.  2000.  The ultrastructure of chilling stress.  Plant, Cell & Environment 23: 337-350.
  • Choinski, J.S. and R.R. Wise.  1999.  Leaf growth and development related to gas exchange in Quercus marilandicaMuenchh.  Journal of Plant Physiology 154: 302-309.
  • Wise, R.R. and W.C. Cook. 1998.  Development of ultrastructural damage to chloroplasts in a plastoquionone-deficient mutant of maize.  Environmental and Experimental Botany 40: 221-228.
  • White, S.L. and R.R. Wise.  1998.  Anatomy and ultrastructure of Wolffia columbiana and W. borealis (Lemnaceae), two non-vascular aquatic angiosperms.  International Journal of Plant Sciences 159: 297-304.
  • Wise, R.R. 1995.  Chilling-enhanced photooxidation: The production, action and study of reactive oxygen species during chilling in the light.  Photosynthesis Research  45: 79-97.
  • Cushman, K.E., T.W. Tibbitts, T.D. Sharkey and R.R. Wise.  1995.  Constant light injury of potato: Temporal and spatial patterns of CO2 assimilation, starch content, chloroplast integrity, and necrosis. The Journal of the American Society of Horticultural Science 120: 1032-1040.
  • Ort, D.R., K. Oxborough, and R.R. Wise.  1994.  Depressions of photosynthesis in crops with water deficits.  In N.R. Baker and J. Bowyer (eds.), Photoinhibition of Photosynthesis From Molecular Mechanisms to the Field.  Bios Scientific Publishers, London.  pp. 315-329.
  • Wise, R.R., A. Ortiz-Lopez and D.R. Ort.  1992.  Stomatal aperture distribution during drought in field-grown and acclimated and non-acclimated growth-chamber-grown cotton. Plant Physiology  100:26-32.
  • Wise, R.R., D.H. Sparrow, A. Ortiz-Lopez and D.R. Ort.  1991.  Biochemical regulation during the mid- day decline of photosynthesis in field-grown sunflower.  Plant Science  74:45-52.
  • Kramer, D.M., R.R. Wise, J.R. Frederick, D.M. Alm, D.R. Ort and A.R. Crofts.  1990.  Regulation of coupling factor in field-grown sunflower:  A redox model relating coupling factor activity to the activities of other thioredoxin-dependent chloroplast enzymes.  Photosynthesis Research  26:213-222.
  • Wise, R.R., J.R. Frederick, D.M. Alm, D.M. Kramer, J.D. Hesketh, A.R. Crofts and D.R. Ort.  1990.  Investigation of the limitations to photosynthesis induced by leaf water deficit in field-grown sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.).  Plant, Cell & Environment 13:923-931.
  • Wise, R.R., I. Terashima and D.R. Ort.  1990.  The effect of chilling in the light on photophosphorylation:  Analysis of discrepancies between in vitro and in vivo results.  Photosynthesis Research 25:137-139.
  • Ort, D.R., S. Martino, R.R. Wise, J. Kent and P. Cooper.  1989.  Changes in protein synthesis induced by chilling and their influence on the chilling sensitivity of photosynthesis.  Plant Physiology and Biochemistry  27:785-793.
  • Wise, R.R. and D.R. Ort.  1989.  Photophosphorylation after chilling in the light.  Effects on thylakoid energization and coupling factor activity.  Plant Physiology  90: 657-664.
  • Wise, R.R. and A.M. Juncosa.  1989.  Ultrastructure of the transfer tissues during viviparous seedling development inRhizophora mangle (Rhizophoraceae).  American Journal of Botany  76:1286-1298.
  • Wise, R.R. and D.R. Ort.  1989.  Effects of light chilling on photophosphorylation in cucumber.  In G. Singhal, J. Barber, R.A. Dilley, Govindjee, R. Haselkorn, and P. Mohanty (eds.), Photosynthesis: Molecular Biology and Bioenergetics.  Narosa and Springer-Verlag, New Delhi, India.  pp. 283-295.
  • Wise, R.R. and A.W. Naylor.  1988.  Stress ethylene does not originate directly from lipid peroxidation during chilling-enhanced photooxidation.  Journal of Plant Physiology 133: 62-66.
  • Wise, R.R. and A.W. Naylor.  1987.  Chilling-enhanced photooxidation:  Evidence for the role of singlet oxygen and superoxide in the breakdown of pigments and endogenous antioxidants.  Plant Physiology  83: 278-282.
  • Wise, R.R. and A.W. Naylor.  1987.  Chilling-enhanced photooxidation:  The peroxidative destruction of lipids during injury to photosynthesis and ultrastructure.  Plant Physiology  83:272-277.
  • Wise, R.R.  1986.  Evidence for the role of oxygen radicals in chilling-enhanced photooxidation:  A comparison of cucumber and pea.  Ph.D. Dissertation, Duke University, Durham, NC.
  • Wise, R.R. and A.W. Naylor.  1985.  Calibration and use of a Clark-type oxygen electrode from 5 to 45°C.  Analytical Biochemistry 146: 260-264.
  • Musser, R.L., S.A. Thomas, R.R. Wise, T.C. Peeler and A.W. Naylor.  1984.  Chloroplast ultrastructure, pigment composition, and chlorophyll fluorescence in shoot-chilled soybeans.  Plant Physiology 74: 749-754.
  • Wise, R.R. and J.B. Harris.  1984.  The three-dimensional structure of the Cyphomandra betacea chloroplast peripheral reticulum.  Protoplasma 119: 222-225.
  • Wise, R.R., J.R. McWilliam and A.W. Naylor.  1983.  A comparative study of low-temperature-induced ultrastructural alterations of three species with differing chilling sensitivities.  Plant, Cell & Environment 6: 525-535.
  • Wise, R.R.  1981.  Alterations in the fine structure of chloroplasts from collard (Brassica oleracea), bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), and cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) leaves exposed to chilling temperatures and water stress.  Masters Thesis, Duke University, Durham, NC
  • Wise, R.R. and J.B. Harris. 1980. Thylakoid-dense chloroplasts of Callisia fragrans.  Cytologia 45: 113-126.  [Figure 3 from this paper was published in P. Sheeler and D.E. Bianchi.  (1983.  Cell Biology:  Structure, Biochemistry, and Function, 2nd Ed., Wiley & Sons, p. 421) as an example of chloroplast ultrastructure].


Masters Students Graduated From My Laboratory

  • Heidi A. Kratsch.  Evidence for actin-based chloroplast movement in leaves of Pisum sativum. Defended July 25, 2000.
  • Phillip R. Rozak.  Alterations in thylakoid membrane ultrastructure of spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) accompany state changes.  Defended September 6, 2000.
  • Jennifer Freund.  Cold temperature and light-induced chloroplast movement in chilling-sensitive and chilling-resistant plants.  Defended May 1, 2001.
  • Ralph D. Hollander. Effect of leaf temperature on photosynthesis under elevated carbon dioxide in Populus tremuloides.  Defended May 19, 2006.


Professional Activities

Member, Editorial Board of Environmental and Experimental Botany (1994 to 2015)

Ad hoc reviewer of manuscripts or grant applications submitted to Agricultural Meteorology and Forestry, American Journal of Botany, Annals of Botany, Applied Statistics in Agriculture, Botanical Bulletin of Academia Sinica, Canadian Journal of Botany, Environmental and Experimental Botany, Field Crops Research, Functional Plant Biology, Global Change Biology, International Journal of Plant Science, International Science and Technology Center, Civilian Research and Development Foundation, Journal of Experimental Botany, Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, Journal of Plant Physiology, Journal of Plant Growth Regulation, Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society, McIlvanea, Midwest Microscopy, National Science Foundation (IPB, ILI, RUI), North Dakota EPSCoR Program, Photosynthesis Research, Physiologia Plantarum, Plant Biology, Plant and Cell Physiology, Plant, Cell & Environment, Plant Growth Regulation, Plant Physiology, Plant Science, Planta, Southwest Consortium on Plant Genetics and Water Resources, Systematic Botany, United States Civilian Research & Development Foundation, United States Department of Agriculture, US/Israel Bilateral Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD), UW Oshkosh Faculty Development Board, UW System Applied Research Grant Program, Wetlands Ecology and Management.