In Memoriam: Wolf-Dieter Reiter, MCB Professor Emeritus

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Professor Wolf-Dieter Reiter. Dr. Reiter was Professor Emeritus in the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology at the University of Connecticut after his retirement in 2016. Wolf-Dieter was an integral part of the Department, contributing to the teaching and research mission of the University. He obtained his PhD from the University of Munich where he worked with Wolfram Zillig on the molecular genetics of thermophilic archaea and pioneered the study of archaeal viruses.  He went on to post-doc in Professor Chris Sommerville's lab at Michigan State University. While at Michigan State, Wolf-Dieter developed an innovative biochemical screen for Arabidopsis cell wall mutants and identified thirty-eight of mutant strains. Identifying the genes and biochemical pathways impacting cell wall construction constituted the bulk of Dr. Reiter's academic work and resulted in dozens of publications and thousands of citations. He was a well-respected member of the plant genetics community, and his expertise in combining genetic screens with carbohydrate biochemistry made him a welcome participant in international collaborations exploring the biosynthesis, structure and function of the plant cell-wall.  He was a dedicated and uncompromising biochemist in the lab and the classroom. His undergraduate students reported he ran one of the most challenging courses of their undergraduate career, but that they learned more in his course in biochemistry than in any other they took at the University. He was always generous with his time and expertise for students and faculty. He attracted postdoctoral researchers from around the world to work and learn in his laboratory at UConn.  He was an enthusiastic hiker, walking the many woodland trails in Mansfield near the University.