Dr. Daniel Giddings Vassao

Department of Archaeology
+49 3641-686-733

Main Focus

Dr. Daniel Giddings Vassão is a technician in the Department of Archaeology of the MPI-SHH, focusing on the chemical analysis of small molecules from natural (mostly plant and fungal) origins. He is responsible for the operation, method development and maintenance of LC-MS and GC-MS instruments, as well as the organization of the laboratory and the training of students.

Curriculum Vitae

Daniel Vassão obtained a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, with an emphasis on natural product chemistry. He performed his Ph.D. work at Washington State University, USA, studying the biosynthesis of plant aroma/flavor compounds. More recently, Daniel worked as a post-doctoral researcher and group leader at the Dept. of Biochemistry of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, focusing on the chemistry and enzymology of the detoxification of plant toxins in insects and fungi.


For an updated list of publications, please click here or here

Huber, B., Hammann, S., Loeben, C.E., Jha, D.K., Vassão, D.G., Larsen, T., Spengler, R.N., Fuller, D.Q., Roberts, P., Devièse, T., Boivin, N. (2023) "Biomolecular characterization of 3500-year-old ancient Egyptian mummification balms from the Valley of the Kings," Sci. Rep., 13: 12477.

Sun, R., Hong, B., Reichelt, M., Luck, K., Mai, D.T., Jiang, X., Gershenzon, J., Vassão, D.G. (2023) "Metabolism of plant-derived toxins from its insect host increases the success of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana," ISME J., s41396-023-01480-3.

Fiedler, S., Langner, M., Oertel, R., Vassão, D.G., Nitschke, J., Gershenzon, J., Hundsdoerfer, A.K. (2023) "First insights into herbivore-plant interaction of the spurge hawkmoth and Euphorbia cyparissias," Front. Ecol. Evol., 11: 1197194.

Fricke, J., Schalk, F., Kreuzenbeck, N.B., Seibel, E., Hoffmann, J., Dittmann, G., Conlon, B.H., Guo, H., de Beer, Z.W., Vassão, D.G., Gleixner, G., Poulsen, M., Beemelmanns, C. (2023) "Adaptations of Pseudoxylaria towards a comb-associated lifestyle in fungus-farming termite colonies," ISME J., 17: 733-747.

Guo, H., Daniel, J.-M., Seibel, E., Burkhardt, I., Conlon, B.H., Görls, H., Vassão, D.G., Dickschat, J.S., Poulsen, M., Beemelmanns, C. (2022) "Insights into the metabolomic capacity of Podaxis and isolation of podaxisterols A-D, ergosterol derivatives carrying nitrosyl cyanide-derived modifications," J. Nat. Prod., 85(9): 2159-2167.

Israni, B., Luck, K., Römhild, S.C.W., Raguschke, B., Wielsch, N., Hupfer, Y., Reichelt, M., Svatoš, A., Gershenzon, J., Vassão, D.G. (2022) "Alternative transcript splicing regulates UDP-glucosyltransferase-catalyzed detoxification of DIMBOA in the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda)," Sci. Rep., 12: 10343.

Huber, B., Vassão, D.G., Roberts, P., Wang, Y. V., Larsen, T. (2022) "Chemical modification of biomarkers through accelerated degradation: Implications for ancient plant identification in archaeo-organic residues," Molecules, 27(10): 3331.

Sontowski, R., Guyomar, C., Poeschl, Y., Weinhold, A., van Dam, N. M., Vassão, D.G. (2022) "Mechanisms of isothiocyanate detoxification in larvae of two belowground herbivores, Delia radicum and D. floralis (Diptera: Anthomyiidae), Front. Physiol., 13: 874527.

Easson, M.L.A.E., Malka, O., Paetz, C., Hojná, A., Reichelt, M., Stein, B., van Brunschot, S., Feldmesser, E., Campbell, L., Colvin, J., Winter, S., Morin, S., Gershenzon, J., Vassão, D.G. (2021) "Activation and detoxification of cassava cyanogenic glucosides by the whitefly Bemisia tabaci," Sci. Rep., 11: 13244.

Manivannan, A., Israni, B., Luck, K., Götz, M., Seibel, E., Easson, M.L.A.E., Kirsch, R., Reichelt, M., Stein, B., Winter, S., Gershenzon, J., Vassão, D.G. (2021) "Identification of a sulfatase that detoxifies glucosinolates in the phloem feeding insect Bemisia tabaci and prefers indolic glucosinolates," Front. Plant Sci., 12: 671286.

Jeschke, V., Zalucki, J.M., Raguschke, B., Gershenzon, J., Heckel, D.G., Zalucki, M.P., Vassão, D.G. (2021) "So much for glucosinolates: a generalist does survive and develop on brassicas, but at what cost?," Plants, 10: 962.

Zalucki, J.M., Heckel, D.G., Wang, P., Kuwar, S., Vassão, D.G., Perkins, L., Zalucki, M.P. (2021) "A generalist feeding on Brassica: it does not get any better with selection," Plants, 10: 954.

Wang, P., Vassão, D.G., Raguschke, B., Furlong, M.J., Zalucki, M.P. (2021) "Balancing nutrients in a toxic environment: The challenge of eating," Insect Sci., 28(1): 289-303.

Chen, J., Ullah, C., Vassão, D.G., Reichelt, M., Gershenzon, J., Hammerbacher, A. (2021) "Sclerotinia sclerotiorum infection triggers changes in primary and secondary metabolism in Arabidopsis thaliana," Phytopathology, 111(3): 559-569.

Israni, B., Wouters, F.C., Luck, K., Seibel, E., Ahn, S.-J., Paetz, C., Reinert, M., Vogel, H., Erb, M., Heckel, D.G., Gershenzon, J., Vassão, D.G. (2020) "The fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda utilizes specific UDP-glycosyltransferases to inactivate maize defensive benzoxazinoids," Front. Phys., 11: 604754.

Sun, R., Jiang, X., Reichelt, M., Gershenzon, J., Vassão, D.G. (2020) "The selective sequestration of glucosinolates by the cabbage aphid severely impacts a predatory lacewing," J. Pest Sci., 94: 1147-1160.

Malka, O., Easson, M.L.A.E., Paetz, C., Götz, M., Reichelt, M., Stein, B., Luck, K., Stanišic, A., Juravel, K., Santos-Garcia, D., Mondaca, L.L., Springate, S., Colvin, J., Winter, S., Gershenzon, J., Morin, S., Vassão, D.G. (2020) "Glucosylation prevents plant defense activation in phloem-feeding insects," Nat. Chem. Biol., 16: 1429-1426. Highlighted by Niels Agerbirk in "Making use of surplus sugar", Nat. Chem. Biol., 16: 1283–1284."

Sun, R., Gols, R., Harvey, J.A., Reichelt, M., Gershenzon, J., Pandit, S.S., Vassão, D.G. (2020) "Detoxification of plant defensive glucosinolates by an herbivorous caterpillar is beneficial to its endoparasitic wasp," Mol. Ecol., 29(20): 4014-4031.

Chen, J., Ullah, C., Reichelt, M., Beran, F., Yang, Z.-L., Gershenzon, J., Hammerbacher, A., Vassão, D.G. (2020) "The phytopathogenic fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum detoxifies plant glucosinolate hydrolysis products via an isothiocyanate hydrolase," Nat. Commun., 11: 3090.

Sun, R., Jiang, X., Reichelt, M., Gershenzon, J., Pandit, S.S., Vassão, D.G. (2019) "Tritrophic metabolism of plant chemical defenses and its effects on herbivore and predator performance," eLife 8: e51029.

Kato, M.J., Massad, T.J., Stanton, M.A., Vassão, D.G., Yamaguchi, L.F. (2019) "Editorial: The ecology of plant chemistry and how it drives multi-species interactions," Front. Plant Sci. 10: 967.

Kumar, R., Lee, S.G., Augustine, R., Reichelt, M., Vassão, D.G., Palavalli, M.H., Allen, A., Gershenzon, J., Jez, J.M., Bisht, N.C. (2019) "Molecular basis of the evolution of methylthioalkylmalate synthase and the diversity of methionine-derived glucosinolates," Plant Cell 31(7): 1633-1647.

Beran, F., Sporer, T., Paetz, C., Ahn, S.-J., Betzin, F., Kunert, G., Shekhov, A., Vassão, D.G., Bartram, S., Lorenz, S., Reichelt, M. (2018) "One pathway is not enough: The cabbage stem flea beetle Psylliodes chrysocephala uses multiple strategies to overcome the glucosinolate-myrosinase defense in its host plants," Front. Plant Sci. 9: 1754.

Vassão, D.G., Wielsch, N., Gomes, A.M.M.M., Gebauer-Jung, S., Hupfer, Y., Svatoš, A., Gershenzon, J. (2018) "Plant defensive ß-Glucosidases resist digestion and sustain activity in the gut of a lepidopteran herbivore," Front. Plant Sci. 9: 1389.

Eakteiman, G., Moses-Koch, R., Moshitzkya, P., Mestre-Rincon, N., Vassão, D.G., Luck, K., Sertchook, R., Malka, O., Morin, S. (2018) "Targeting detoxification genes by phloem-mediated RNAi: A new approach for controlling phloem-feeding insect pests," Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 100: 10-21.

Li, R., Cortés Llorca, L., Schuman, M. C., Wang, Y., Wang, L. L., Joo, Y., Wang, M., Vassão, D.G., Baldwin, I. T. (2018) "ZEITLUPE in the roots of wild tobacco regulates jasmonate-mediated nicotine biosynthesis and resistance to a generalist herbivore," Plant Physiol. 177(2): 833-846.

Macfadyen, S., Paull, C., Boykin, L.M., De Barro, P., Maruthi, M.N., Otim, M., Kalyebi, A., Vassão, D.G., Sseruwagi, P., Tay, W.T., Delatte, H., Seguni, Z., Colvin, J., Omongo, C.A. (2018) "Cassava whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) in East African farming landscapes: a review of the factors determining abundance," Bull. Ent. Res. 1-18.

Jeschke, V., Kearney, E.E., Schramm, K., Kunert, G., Shekhov, A., Gershenzon, J., Vassão, D.G. (2017) "How glucosinolates affect generalist lepidopteran larvae: growth, development and glucosinolate metabolism," Front. Plant Sci. 8: 1995.

Zalucki, M.P., Zalucki, J.M., Perkins, L.E., Schramm, K., Vassão, D.G., Gershenzon, J., Heckel, D.G. (2017) "A generalist herbivore copes with specialized plant defence: the effects of induction and feeding by Helicoverpa armigera," J. Chem. Ecol. 43(6): 608-616.

Wouters, F.C., Gershenzon, J., Vassão, D.G. (2016) “Plant defense and herbivore counter-defense: Benzoxazinoids and insect herbivores,” Phytochem. Rev. 15(6): 1127-1151.

Jeschke, V., Gershenzon, J., Vassão, D.G. (2016) “Insect detoxification of glucosinolates and their hydrolysis products,” In S. Kopriva (Ed.), Advances in Botanical Research: Glucosinolates pp. 199-245.

Wouters, F.C., Gershenzon, J., Vassão, D.G. (2016) “Benzoxazinoids: Reactivity and modes of action of a versatile class of plant chemical defenses,” J. Braz. Chem. Soc. 27(8): 1379-1397.

Malka, O., Shekhov, A., Reichelt, M., Gershenzon, J., Vassão, D.G., Morin, S. (2016) “Glucosinolate desulfation by the phloem-feeding insect Bemisia tabaci,” J. Chem. Ecol. 42(3): 230-235.

Jeschke, V., Gershenzon, J., Vassão, D.G. (2016) “A mode of action of glucosinolate-derived isothiocyanates: Detoxification depletes glutathione and cysteine levels with ramifications on protein metabolism in Spodoptera littoralis,” Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 71: 37-48.

Jeschke, V., Gershenzon, J., Vassão, D.G. (2015) “Metabolism of glucosinolates and their hydrolysis products in insect herbivores,” In R. Jetter (Ed.), Recent Advances in Phytochemistry: The formation, structure and activity of phytochemicals pp. 163-194.

Wouters, F.C., Reichelt, M., Glauser, G., Bauer, E., Erb, M., Gershenzon, J., Vassão, D.G. (2014) “Reglucosylation of DIMBOA with inversion of stereochemical configuration is a detoxification strategy in lepidopteran herbivores,” Angew. Chem. Int. Edit. 53(42): 11320-11324.

Gloss, A.D., Vassão, D.G., Hailey A.L., Dittrich, A.C.N., Schramm, K., Reichelt, M., Rast, T.J., Weichsel, A., Cravens, M.G., Gershenzon, J., Montfort, W.R., Whiteman, N.K. (2014) “Evolution in an ancient detoxification pathway is coupled with a transition to herbivory in the Drosophilidae,” Mol. Biol. Evol., 31(9): 2441-2456.

Maag, D., Dalvit, C., Thevenet, D., Köhler, A., Wouters, F.C., Vassão, D.G., Gershenzon, J., Wolfender, J.-L., Turlings, T.C.J., Erb, M., Glauser, G. (2014) “3-ß-D-Glucopyranosyl-6-methoxy-2-benzoxazolinone (MBOA-N-Glc) is an insect detoxification product of maize 1,4-benzoxazin-3-ones,” Phytochemistry 102: 97-105.

Falk, K.L., Kästner, J., Bodenhausen, N., Schramm, K., Paetz, C., Vassão, D.G., Reichelt, M., von Knorre, D., Bergelson, J., Erb, M., Gershenzon, J., Meldau, S. (2014) “The role of glucosinolates and the jasmonic acid pathway in resistance of Arabidopsis thaliana against molluscan herbivores,” Mol. Ecol. 23(5): 1188-203.

Kim, S.-J., Vassão, D.G., Moinuddin, S.G.A., Bedgar, D.L., Davin, L.B., Lewis, N.G. (2014) “Allyl/ propenyl phenol synthases from the creosote bush and engineering production of specialty/commodity chemicals, eugenol/isoeugenol, in Escherichia coli,” Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 541(1): 37-46.

Schramm, K., Vassão, D.G., Reichelt, M., Gershenzon, J., Wittstock, U. (2012) “Metabolism of glucosinolate-derived isothiocyanates to glutathione conjugates in generalist lepidopteran herbivores,” Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 42(3): 174-182.

Davin, L.B., Jourdes, M., Patten, A.M., Kim, K.-W., Vassão, D.G., Lewis, N.G. (2008) “Dissection of lignin macromolecular configuration and assembly: Comparison to related biochemical processes in allyl/propenyl phenol and lignan biosynthesis,” Nat. Prod. Rep. 25(6): 1015-1090.

Vassão, D.G., Kim, S.-J., Milhollan, J.K., Eichinger, D., Davin, L.B., Lewis, N.G., (2007) “A pinoresinol-lariciresinol reductase homologue from the creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) catalyzes the efficient in vitro conversion of p-coumaryl/coniferyl alcohol esters into the allylphenols chavicol/eugenol, but not the propenylphenols p-anol/isoeugenol,” Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 465(1): 209-18.

Vassão, D.G., Gang, D.R., Koeduka, T., Jackson, B., Pichersky, E., Davin, L.B., Lewis, N.G., (2006) “Chavicol formation in sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum): Cleavage of an esterified C9 hydroxyl group with NAD(P)H-dependent reduction,” Org. Biomol. Chem. 4: 2733-44.

Koeduka, T., Fridman, E., Gang, D.R., Vassão, D.G., Jackson, B.L., Kish, C.M., Orlova, I., Spassova, S.M., Lewis, N.G., Noel, J.P., Baiga, T.J., Dudareva, N., Pichersky, E., (2006) “Eugenol and isoeugenol, characteristic aromatic constituents of spices, are biosynthesized via reduction of a coniferyl alcohol ester,” Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 103(26): 10128-33.

Yamaguchi, L.F., Vassão, D.G., Kato, M.J, DiMascio, P., (2005) “Biflavonoids from Brazilian pine Araucaria angustifolia as potentials protective agents against DNA damage and lipoperoxidation,” Phytochemistry 66(18): 2238-47.

Book chapters and patent applications:

Vassão, D.G., Kim, K.-W., Davin, L.B., Lewis, N.G., (2010) “Lignans (Neolignans) and Allyl/Propenyl Phenols: Biogenesis, Structural Biology, and Biological/Human Health Considerations” Ch. 23 in: Comprehensive Natural Products Chemistry, Vol. 1: Natural Products Structural Diversity - Secondary Metabolites: Organization and Biosynthesis, Elsevier, Oxford, UK.

Patten, A.M., Vassão, D.G., Wolcott, M.P., Davin, L.B., Lewis, N.G., (2010) “Trees: A Remarkable Biochemical Bounty” Ch. 27 in: Comprehensive Natural Products Chemistry, Vol. 3: Development and Modification of Bioactivity, Elsevier, Oxford, UK.

Vassão, D.G., Davin, L.B., Lewis, N.G., (2008) “Metabolic engineering of plant allyl/propenyl phenol and lignin pathways: Future potential for biofuels/bioenergy, polymer intermediates and specialty chemicals?” Ch. 13 in: Advances in Plant Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Vol.1: Bioengineering and Molecular Biology of Plant Pathways, Elsevier, Oxford, UK.

Lewis, N.G., Davin, L.B., Kim, S.-J., Vassão, D.G., Patten, A.M., Eichinger, D., “Genes encoding chavicol/eugenol synthase from the creosote bush Larrea tridentata,” US Patent no. US20100031398.

Awards and Honors

PSNA Arthur C. Neish Young Investigator Award (2013)

Arthur M. and Kate Eisig-Tode Scholarship (2003-2008)

Charles Glen King Fellowship (2008)

WSU Plant Sciences Notable Student Publication Award (2008)

WSU School of Molecular Biosciences Excellence in Graduate Research Award (2007)

WSU Graduate and Professional Student Registration Grant (2006, 2007)

WSU Graduate School Travel Grant (2006)

WSU SMB Graduate Student Travel Award (2006)

John and Maggie McDougall Fellowship (2006/07)

Helen and Loyal H. Davis Fellowship (2004/05)

CNPq Doctoral Research Scholarship (2002)

FAPESP Undergraduate Research Scholarship (1999-2001)

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