Asaf Khan: Plant Physiology First Author

Asaf Khan, first author of “Effector-triggered inhibition of nodulation: A rhizobial effector protease targets soybean kinase GmPBS1-1”

Current Position: PhD candidate, State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol and Guangdong Key Laboratory of Plant Resources, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, East Campus, 510006 Guangzhou, China.

Education: B.S (4-year) in Biotechnology (2013) and MPhil in Plant Biotechnology (2016) from University of Malakand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.

 Non-scientific Interests: Reading, traveling, cooking and sports.

 Brief bio: Being fascinated by biotechnological advancement, I decided to continue my academic career in biotechnology after having completed the Pre-Medical School at the Government Degree college, Upper Dir, Pakistan. I was lucky enough to be enrolled in a B.S (4-year) program in biotechnology at the University of Malakand (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan). My interests in growth and development of plants and the importance of plants for global food production led me choose plant sciences as a research field. I wrote my undergraduate thesis under the supervision of Professor Mohammad Nisar. For my Master’s thesis in plant biotechnology under the supervision of Prof. Aftab Ali Shah and Prof. Mohammad Nisar, I performed research on genetic diversity of different pea lines that differ in yield and resistance to powdery mildew. At this stage, I became interested in basic research on plant-microbe interactions and decided to apply for a Ph.D. position in China.

Thankfully, Prof. Christian Staehelin accepted my request for a possible Ph.D. position in his laboratory at Sun Yat-sen University (Guangzhou, China). I applied for a Chinese Government Scholarship for International Students and successfully got nominated. My PhD thesis in the laboratory of Prof. Staehelin and Prof. Zhi-Ping Xie was focused on the root nodule symbiosis between nitrogen-fixing rhizobia and legume host plants. I studied the symbiotic role of NopT (nodulation outer protein T), an effector protease of Sinorhizobium sp. NGR234 that belongs to the AvrPphB effector family. I worked closely with my lab colleague Syed F. Wadood and I am very pleased that our results are now being published in Plant Physiology.

My current interest is in expanding our understanding of the molecular interplay between microbes and host plants. I am particularly interested in how effectors manipulate the host immune system and how resistant plants recognize these effectors.


Asaf Khan,博士生,《Effector-triggered inhibition of nodulation: A rhizobial effector protease targets soybean kinase GmPBS1-1》的第一作者。








出于对生物技术研究的浓厚兴趣,在巴基斯坦迪尔政府学院完成了医学预科课程后,我决定继续从事生物技术相关的学术研究。随后,我幸运地在马拉坎大学(巴基斯坦开伯尔-普赫图赫瓦)修完了生物技术学士(4年制)课程。我对植物生长发育的兴趣,以及植物对全球粮食生产的重要性,促使我选择植物科学作为毕业论文研究方向。在Mohammad Nisar教授的指导下,我完成了自己的本科论文。随后的硕士阶段我选择了植物生物技术领域,并在Aftab Ali Shah教授和Mohammad Nisar教授的指导下,开展了不同豌豆品系基因多样性在产量及白粉病抗性差异上的研究工作。在硕士阶段,我对植物-微生物相互作用的基础研究产生了兴趣,并决定申请中国的博士学位。

非常感谢Christian Staehelin教授接受了我的申请,使我能够在他位于中山大学生命科学学院的实验室里开启博士的学习生涯。我深入研究了NopT(结瘤外泌蛋白T)的共生作用。这个由中华根瘤菌(Sinorhizobium sp.)NGR234分泌的蛋白酶效应因子隶属于AvrPphB效应因子家族。我与实验室同事Syed F. Wadood密切合作,并且有幸在期刊Plant Physiology上发表我们的研究成果。