Professor George W. Bassel PhD

Professor George W. Bassel

School of Biosciences
Professor of Plant Computational Biology

Contact details

School of Biosciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Apoorva Bhatt - Research in 60 seconds videoGeorge Bassel was appointed as a Birmingham Fellow in 2012 and appointed to professor in 2016. His group focuses on understanding biological complexity across scales using plants as a model system. 


PhD University of Guelph 2006 in Molecular and Cellular Biology
BSc University of Guelph 2001 in Biosciences 


George did a PhD on hormone signal transduction pathways in seeds with Dr Derek Bewley FRSC at the University of Guelph, Canada. He went on to work as a postdoc with Dr Nick Provart at the University of Toronto, and with Dr Hiro Nonogaki at Oregon State University. Following three years of fellowship at the University of Nottingham with Professor Michael Holdsworth, George was appointed as a Birmingham Fellow.


BIO398 Plant Science for the 21st Century


Postgraduate supervision

Matthew Jackson MIBTP Student

George is currently accepting applications for postgraduate students to look at the relationship between gene expression and changes in plant cell shape.


The lab seeks to understand complexity in biological systems, and how this shapes and constrains life. This is being studied primarily across two scales:

1) Molecular complexity – how interactions between molecular components give rise to cellular behaviours.

2) Cellular complexity – how interactions between cells influence organ function.

We are using plants as a model system to address these questions. The cells within plant organs are fixed together such that there is no cell migration, as in animal systems. Information moves through these immobilized cellular networks through shared cell walls, including through specialized gaps linking adjacent cells called plasmodesmata. These cellular networks can be captured in 3D at high resolution.

Plants provide a unique opportunity to understand the intersection between genetic and cellular networks, how they shape and constrain one another, and how they evolve over developmental and evolutionary time.

Plants also play a key role as both food and energy for humans. Uncovering mechanisms of their growth and development can be used to enhance crop production and food security across this period of rapid climate change.

Other activities

Society for Experimental Biology

Member of the International Society for Seed Science


Nieuwland J, Stamm P, Wen B, Randall R, Murray JAH, Bassel GW (2016) Re-induction of the cell cycle in the Arabidopsis post-embryonic root meristem is ABA-insensitive, GA-dependent and repressed by KRP6. Scientific Reports 6:23586 link

Bassel GW (2016) To grow, or not to grow? Trends in Plant Science 21(6): 498–505 link

Hossain MR, Bassel GW, Pritchard JR, Sharma GP, Ford-Lloyd BV (2016) Trait specific expression profiling of salt stress responsive genes in diverse rice genotypes as determined by modified Significance Analysis of Microarrays. Frontiers in Plant Science 7: 567 link

Bassel GW, Smith RS (2016) Quantifying morphogenesis in plants in 4D. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 29: 87–94 link

Vesty EF, Saidi Y, Moody LA, Holloway D, Whitbread A, Needs S, Choudhary A, Burns B, McLeod D, Bradshaw SJ, Bae H, King BC, Bassel GW, Simonsen HT, Coates JC (2016) The decision to germinate is regulated by divergent molecular networks in spores and seeds. New Phytologist link

Hossain MR, Bassel GW, Pritchard JP, Sharma GP, Ford-Lloyd BV (2016) Trait specific expression profiling of salt stress responsive genes in diverse rice genotypes as determined by modified Significance Analysis of Microarrays. Frontiers in Plant Sciences

Finch-Savage WE, Bassel GW (2015) Seed vigour and crop establishment: extending performance beyond adaptation. Journal of Experimental Botany link

Abbas M, Berckhan S, Rooney D, Gibbs DJ, Vicente Conde J, Sousa Correia C, Bassel GW, Marin-de la Rosa N, León J, Alabadí D, Blázquez MA, Holdsworth MJ. (2015) Oxygen sensing coordinates photomorphogenesis to facilitate seedling survival. Current Biology 25(11), 1483–1488 link

Barbier de Reulle P, Routier-Kierzkowska A-L, Kierzkowski D, Bassel GW, Schupbach T, Tauriello G, Bajpai N, Strauss S, Weber A, Kiss A, Burian A, Hofthuis H, Sapala A, Lipowczan M, Heimlicher MB, Robinson S, Bayer EM, Basler K, Koumoutsakos P, Roeder AHK, Aegerter-Wilmsen T, Nakayama N, Tsiantis M, Hay A, Kwiatkowska D, Xenarios I, Kuhlmeier C, Smith RS (2015) MorphoGraphX: A platform for quantifying morphogenesis in 4D.  eLife 4, e05864 link

Montenegro-Johnson TD, Stamm P, Strauss S, Topham AT, Tsagris M, Wood ATA, Smith RS, Bassel GW (2015) Digital single cell analyses of plant organ development using 3DCellAtlas. The Plant Cell 27 (4), 1018-1033 link

Bassel GW (2015) Accuracy in Quantitative 3D Image Analysis. The Plant Cell 27 (4), 950-953 link

Gibbs DJ, Voß U, Harding SA, Fannon J, Moody LA, Yamada E, Swarup K, Nibau C, Bassel GW, Choudhary A, Lavenus J, Bradshaw SJ, Stekel DJ, Bennett MJ, Coates JC. (2014) AtMYB93 is a novel negative regulator of lateral root development in Arabidopsis. New Phytologist.203 (4), 1194-1207 link

Bassel GW*, Stamm P, Mosca G, Barbier de Reuille P, Gibbs DJ, Winter R, Janka A, Holdsworth MJ, Smith RS* (2014) Mechanical constraints imposed by 3D cellular geometry and arrangement modulate growth patterns in the Arabidopsis embryo.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 111(23):8685-90

Yoshida S, Barbier de Reuille P, Lane B, Bassel GW, Prusinkiewicz P, Smith RS, Weijers D. (2014) Genetic Control of Plant Development by Overriding a Geometric Division Rule. Developmental Cell

Gibbs DJ, Md Isa N, Movahedi M, Lozano-Juste J, Mendiondo GM, Berckhan S, Marín-de la Rosa N, Vicente Conde J, Sousa Correia C, Pearce SP, Bassel GW, Hamali B, Talloji P, Tomé DF, Coego A, Beynon J, Alabadí D, Bachmair A, León J, Gray JE, Theodoulou FL, Holdsworth MJ (2014) Nitric Oxide Sensing in Plants Is Mediated by Proteolytic Control of Group VII ERF Transcription Factors. Molecular Cell 6;53(3):369-79

Dekkers BJ, Pearce S, van Bolderen-Veldkamp RP, Marshall A, Widera P, Gilbert J, Drost HG, Bassel GW, Müller K, King JR, Wood AT, Grosse I, Quint M, Krasnogor N, Leubner-Metzger G, Holdsworth MJ, Bentsink L.Transcriptional dynamics of two seed compartments with opposing roles in Arabidopsis seed germination. Plant Physiology 2013 163(1):205-15

Bassel GW, Gaudinier A, Brady SM, Hennig L, Rhee SY, De Smet I (2012) Systems Analysis of Plant Functional, Transcriptional, Physical Interaction, and Metabolic Networks. The Plant Cell Published online October 30, 2012 PDF

Miguel Gonzalez-Guzman, Gaston A. Pizzio, Regina Antoni, Francisco Vera-Sirera, Ebe Merilo, George W. Bassel, Maria A. Fernández, Michael J. Holdsworth, Miguel Angel Perez-Amador, Hannes Kollist, Pedro L. Rodriguez (2012)Arabidopsis PYR/PYL/RCAR Receptors Play a Major Role in Quantitative Regulation of Stomatal Aperture and Transcriptional Response to Abscisic Acid. The Plant Cell 2012 tpc.112.098574

Martínez-Andújar C*, Pluskota WE*, Bassel GW*, Asahina M*, Pupel P, Nguyen TT, Takeda-Kamiya N, Toubiana D, Bai B, Górecki RJ, Fait A, Yamaguchi S, Nonogaki H. (2012) The mechanisms of hormonal regulation of endosperm cap-specific gene expression in tomato seeds. The Plant Journal Mar 28. PubMed    *Equal Contribution

Bassel GW*, Lan H, Glaab E, Gibbs DJ, Gerjets T, Krasnogor N, Bonner AJ, Holdsworth MJ, Provart NJ (2011) Genome-wide network model capturing seed germination revealscoordinated regulation of plant cellular phase transitions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 108:9709-14   * Corresponding author

Bassel GW*, Glaab E, Marquez J, Holdsworth MJ, Bacardit J. (2011) Functional network construction in Arabidopsis using rule-based machine learning on large-scale data sets. The Plant Cell 23:3101-16.   * Corresponding author

Gibbs DJ, Lee SC, Isa NM, Gramuglia S, Fukao T, Bassel GW, Correia CS, Corbineau F, Theodoulou FL, Bailey-Serres J, Holdsworth MJ. (2011) Homeostatic response to hypoxia is regulated by the N-end rule pathway in plants.  Nature 479(7373):415-8

Usadel B, Obayashi T, Mutwil M, Giorgi F, Bassel GW, Tanimoto M, Chow A, Persson S, Provart NJ (2009) Coexpression Tools for Plant Biology: Opportunities for Hypothesis Generation and Caveats. Plant Cell and Environment32: 1633-1651

Bassel GW, Fung P, Chow TF, Foong JA, Provart NJ, Cutler SR (2008) Elucidating the germination transcriptional program using small molecules. Plant Physiology147:143-155

Bassel GW*, Mullen RT, Bewley JD (2008) procera is a putative DELLA mutant in tomato (Solanum lycopersicon): effects on the seed and vegetative plant. Journal of Experimental Botany 59: 585-593 * Corresponding author

Bassel GW, Zielinska E, Mullen RT, Bewley JD (2004) Down-regulation of DELLA genes is not essential for germination of tomato, soybean and Arabidopsis seeds. Plant Physiology 136: 2782-2789