Plant Physiology Spotlights January 2024 First Authors

Behind the Plant Physiology manuscripts are researchers, professors, professionals and students dedicated to advancing the field of plant science. You’ve seen our First Authors on Twitter and Facebook— now, read more about why they chose to pursue plant sciences and click on the links below the pictures to read their articles.

Liu Cong

Liu Cong (he/him) is the First Author of Transcription factor PbNAC71 regulates xylem and vessel development to control plant height published 10 January 2024. Cong is Ph.D, College of Horticulture, Northwest A&F University. Education background includes a 2023 Ph.D from Northwest A&F University and a 2019 MSA from Northwest A&F University. Research interests include plant development. Personal interests include basketball. Cong’s supervisor, Professor Xu Lingfei, inspired and guided him in his research.



Liping Xu

Liping Xu is the First Author of A genome-wide association study identifies genes associated with cuticular wax metabolism in maize published 11 January 2024. He is a lecturer at Henan Agricultural University. Education background includes a 2016 Ph.D in crop genetics and breeding at Huazhong Agricultural University and a 2010 BSc in biotechnology Henan Agricultural University. Research interests include plant abiotic stress and biological stress. Personal interests include photography. Xu loves genetics, and plants are a great model for studying genetics. Experiments on plants are not as cruel as those on animals.


Javier Pichaco

Javier Pichaco García (he/his) is the FIrst Author of Mechanical advantage makes stomatal opening speed a function of evaporative demand published 13 January 2024. He is a PhD Student at IRNAS-CSIC (Natural resources and Agrobiology Institute-Seville). Education background includes: 2020-2024 Ph.D Integrated Biology (Plant Biology) Sevilla University; 2019 MSc in Advance Biotechnology at Málaga University; 2018 BSc Biochemistry at Málaga University. Research interests include plant evolution, stomatal regulation, and drought. Personal interests include poetry, music, and football.

García comes from an area where the fields and crops (olive trees, corn, etc.) have always been cultivated. The fact of improving the lives of the people who dedicate themselves to such hard work is undoubtedly the driving force behind his research.

Xuelian Wu 

Xuelian Wu (she/her) is the First Author of Transcription factor LBD16 targets cell wall modification/ion transport genes in peach lateral root formation published 13 January 2024. She is currently a Ph.D. at Shandong Agricultural University. Education background includes:  2021-present Ph.D Fruit Tree Nutrition and Cultivation at Shandong Agricultural University; 2018-2021 MSc Fruit Tree Nutrition and Cultivation at Shandong Agricultural University; 2014-2018 BSc in Fruit Arboriculture at Shandong Agricultural University. Research interests include root development. Personal interests include gardening, photography, and reading. Wu wants to explore the mysteries surrounding the growth and development of plants.

Le-Le Chu

Le-Le Chu is the First Author of ACC SYNTHASE4 inhibits gibberellin biosynthesis and FLOWERING LOCUS T expression during citrus flowering published 16 January 2024. Chu is a PhD at Huazhong Agricultural University. Education background includes: a PhD in 2023 from the College of Horticulture and Forestry Science, Huazhong Agricultural University; a Master’s degree from the College of Agronomy, Ningxia University in 2020; a visitor in 2020 at the College of Agricultural Sciences, Massey University, New Zealand; and a Bachelor’s degree in 2018 from The College of Horticulture, Henan Agricultural University. Research interests include Fruit tree development, Fruit tree abiotic stress. Personal interests include running and fitness.

Chu loves studying plant science because “Plants have a great impact on our survival and the environment. Science tells us that the world is full of possibilities.”

Kasey Markel 

Kasey Markel (he/him) is the First Author of Cynipid wasps systematically reprogram host metabolism and restructure cell walls in developing galls published 17 January 2024. He is currently a PhD Candidate, University of California, Berkeley. Kasey’s education background includes: 2021 M.S. in Plant Biology, University of California, Davis; 2018 M.Phil in Plant Science, University of Cambridge; and a 2017 Bachelors in Science, University of Miami.

His research interests include plant synthetic biology and food security. Personal interests include rock climbing, paragliding, and backpacking.

Markel is interested in plants because they constitute the vast majority of the human food supply.

Shaoliang Mou

Shaoliang Mou (he/him) is the First Author of Transcription factor CaHDZ15 promotes pepper basal thermotolerance by activating HEAT SHOCK FACTORA6a published 25 January 2024. Mou is currently an Associate Professor at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University. His education background includes a 2012 Ph.D in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, a 2004 MSc in Genetics at Hubei University, and a 2001 BSc in Biology at Qufu Normal University.  Research interests include plant response to abiotic and biotic stress. Personal interests include Volleyball and Badminton.

When Mou was a doctoral student, his supervisor, who had a significant influence in the field of botany, guided him into the field of plant science. In this field, some scientific questions have attracted Mou. He is very grateful to his wife and cooperation partners for their support.

Laura Canales Sanchez

Laura Canales Sanchez (she/her) is the First Author of Arabidopsis leucine-rich repeat malectin receptor-like kinases regulate pollen-stigma interactions published 25 January 2024. She is a Teaching Laboratory Technician at the Department of Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto. Her education background includes 2023 MSc Science – Plant Molecular Biology, University of Toronto and a 2020 BSc Biology and Cell & Molecular Biology, University of Toronto. Research interests include Plant biology, plant reproduction, Plant molecular pharming. Personal interests include photography, hiking, family road trips, and spoiling her golden retriever.

The remarkable physiological complexity of plants as well as their immense biotechnological potential drew Laura towards plant science.

Jiaxin Wang

Jiaxin Wang (he/him) is the First Author of Measuring newly developed stomatal and guard cell metrics for plant physiology and growth using StoManager1 published 31 January 2024. Wang is currently a Graduate Research Assistant within the Department of Forestry at the Forest and Wildlife Research Center, Mississippi State University. His education background includes: 2021-present Ph.D Forest Resources at Mississippi State University; 2020 MS in Ecology at South China Agricultural University; 2016 BS in Agricultural Resources and Environment at Anhui Science and Technology University. Research interests include High-throughput phenotyping, Plant physiology, Photosynthesis, Water use efficiency. Personal interests include playing badminton, Hiking, and Fishing.

Wang loves plant science for unraveling the vital role of plants in our world – from biology to eco-systems to sustainable agriculture and conservation.