Plant Physiology Spotlights March 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.

Wei Chang

Wei Chang (she/her) is the First Author of The transcription factor NtNAC56 regulates jasmonic acid-induced leaf senescence in tobacco published 01 March 2024. She is a Ph.D Candidate at Southwest University, China. Education background includes a 2021 Ph.D Crop Genetics and Breeding at Southwest University; a 2019 MSc Genetics at Southwest University; and a 2015 BSc Agronomy at Southwest University.  Research interests include Crop Genetics and Breeding. Personal interests include playing the piano, swimming, and reading.

“Plants are an indispensable part of human life and make nature diverse. Paying attention to plant science and devoting my time and energy to it makes me happy.”


Changan Zhu

Changan Zhu is the First Author of Phosphorylation of sugar transporter TST2 by protein kinase CPK27 enhances drought tolerance in tomato G published 02 March 2024. Zhu is a Ph.D student of Zhejiang University. Education background includes a 2016 BSc Northwest A&F University; 2020 Graduate student in the Department of Horticulture, Zhejiang University, China. Research interests include Abiotic stress. Personal interests include watching movies, photography, and riding.

“When I was a kid, I was interested in biology. So, I majored in plant science in college under the supervision of Prof. Jingquan Yu, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.”


Dandan Liu

Dandan Liu is the First Author of Tetrad stage transient cold stress skews auxin-mediated energy metabolism balance in Chinese cabbage pollen published 04 March 2024. Liu is at the Institute of Vegetable Science, Zhejiang  University. Education background includes: 2020 Ph.D Olericulture at Zhejiang  University ; 2013 MSc Horticulture at Zhejiang  University; 2009 BSc Agronomy specialty at Anhui Agricultural University. Research interests include Plant reproductive development and Abiotic stress. Personal interests include Cooking, Running, and Reading.

“Because I like plants, plant science is magical and interesting. Professor Jiashu Cao and Li Huang inspired me in my research.”


GuoLi Dai 

GuoLi Dai (she/her) is the First Author of Anthocyanin biosynthesis in goji berry is inactivated by deletion in a bHLH transcription factor LrLAN1b promoter published 02 March 2024. She is currently at the Ningxia Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences. Dai’s education background includes a 2009 MSc in Southwest Forestry University and a 2006 BSc Southwest Forestry University. Research interests include Plant metabolism, Abiotic stress. Personal interests include Running.

“There are a lot of scientific problems in the plant world that we don’t know about yet.”


Shuang Liu

Shuang Liu (she/her) is the First Author of CALMODULIN-LIKE16 and PIN-LIKES7a cooperatively regulate rice seedling primary root elongation under chilling published 06 March 2024. She is a PhD student, College of Plant Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University. Education background includes: 2018.09-Present: Master’s/doctoral study program of Plant Stress Molecular Physiology, College of Plant Science Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University; 2014.09-2018.06: Bachelor’s Degree of Agronomy, College of Tobacco Science of Guizhou University.  Research interests include Rice, Calcium signaling, Auxin signaling, Abiotic stress response. Personal interests include Swimming, Reading.

“During my PhD research program, Prof. Xie Guosheng has been inspiring me greatly on calcium signaling pathways in rice cold and drought tolerance as a mentor.”

Hong-Sheng Liao 

Hong-Sheng Liao (he/his) is the First Author of Glutamine induces lateral root initiation, stress responses, and disease resistance in Arabidopsis published 11 March 2024. He is currently a PhD Student, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, USA. Education background includes 2021, M.S.; 2019, B.S., Department of Biochemical Science and Technology, National Taiwan University.  Research interests include Nutrient signaling, Immune responses, Epigenetics.Personal interests include Table tennis, Reading, K-POP and Korean drama, Guitar.


“Since high school, I have aspired to explore the principles of the natural world as a scientist and benefit society with my research. In the summer of my first year, I joined Dr. Ming-Hsiun Hsieh’s lab to study plant nitrogen (N) metabolism and signaling. We aim to explore the signaling roles of glutamine and glutamate, the first organic N synthesized in the primary N assimilation pathway, in regulating plant growth and defense. I am pursuing Ph.D. studies in Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Yale University to continue my exciting and delightful research journey. In the future, I plan to become a scientist studying the molecular mechanisms underlying nutrient signaling, immune responses, and epigenetics.”

Eloisa Vendemiatti

Eloisa Vendemiatti (she/her) is the First Author of The Woolly mutation with Get02 locus overcomes the polygenic nature of trichome-based pest resistance in tomato published 11 March 2024. She is a Researcher Scholar at West Virginia University. Education background includes a 2020 PhD Plant Physiology and Biochemistry at Universidade of São Paulo (Brazil); 2015 Masters Plant Physiology and Biochemistry at Universidade of São Paulo (Brazil); 2012 BSc Biology at Universidade of São Paulo (Brazil). Research interests include Trichome development and biochemical pathways of specialized compounds. Personal interests include Running and cooking.

“Discovering the incredible beauty and toughness of plants in nature fuels my love for studying plant science.”


Dikki Pedenla Bomzan

Dikki Pedenla Bomzan (She/Her) is the First Author of ROP GTPases with a geranylgeranylation motif modulate alkaloid biosynthesis in Catharanthus roseus published 11 March 2024. She is a Post-doctoral researcher in the LBVPAM, Université Jean Monnet, France. Education background includes: 2021 Ph.D Biological Sciences at CSIR-Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, India.; 2012. M.Sc in Biochemistry, Bangalore University, India; 2010. in Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Genetics, Bangalore University, India. Research interests include Natural product biosynthesis, Specialized metabolism, Metabolic engineering, Functional Genomics. Personal interests include Hiking, Badminton, Music.

“Growing up in the mountains, where plants are utilized as traditional medicine, has sparked my curiosity about how these medicinal properties are developed in plants.”

Anuj Sharma

Anuj Sharma (He/him) is the First Author of ROP GTPases with a geranylgeranylation motif modulate alkaloid biosynthesis in Catharanthus roseus published 11 March 2024. He is a Ph.D. Research scholar at CSIR-CIMAP RC Bangalore, India. Education background includes a 2018 M.Sc in Plant physiology, G. B. Pant University of Agriculture & Technology Pantnagar, India, and a 2016 in Botany, Zoology and Chemistry, Pt. L.M.S.Govt. Post Graduate College, Rishikesh India. Research interests include Plant Specialized metabolism, Functional Genomics, Metabolic engineering, Plant-Signaling. Personal interests include Cricket, Hiking, Nature lover.

“I find immense joy in exploring the intricate world of plant specialized metabolism, unraveling the fascinating biochemical processes that contribute to the unique flavors, scents, and medicinal properties found in diverse botanical specimens especially medicinal and aromatics plants with a particular focus on medicinal and aromatic plants.”

Kohei Nakanishi 

Kohei Nakanishi (he/him) is the First Author of Peroxisomal 4-coumaroyl-CoA ligases participate in shikonin production in Lithospermum erythrorhizon published 13 March 2024. He is a PhD student at Kyoto University. Research interests include Plant specialized metabolism, medicinal plants, phenylpropanoids.Personal interests include Kendo, football, hiking, coffee, tea, history.

“I became interested in plant science because diverse plant metabolites are widely used in human life as pharmaceuticals, foods, cosmetics, and more.”



Julia Pérez-Pérez

Julia Pérez-Pérez (she/her) is the First Author of Metabolic crosstalk between hydroxylated monoterpenes and salicylic acid in tomato defense response against bacteria published 13 March 2024. She is a PhD Student at Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology of Plants (IBMCP-UPV). She also holds a 2022 MSc in Plant Molecular and Cellular Biotechnology at Polytechnic University of Valencia and a 2020 BSc Biochemestry at University of Seville. Research interests include Biotic stress, metabolism, defensive response, monoterpenoids. Personal interests include Contemporary dance, guitar, singing, music.

“My passion for understanding plant biology and their relationship with the environment drives me to pursue a research career. Through research, I believe we can discover innovative strategies to benefit both plants and society. 🌍🔬”

Jiangli Wang

Jiangli Wang (she/her) is the First Author of Deciphering Recursive Polyploidization in Lamiales and Reconstructing Their Chromosome Evolutionary Trajectories  published 14 March 2023. Education background includes 2020 MSc in Biology (Bioinformatics Direction) at North China University of Science and Technology and a 2016 BSc Biological Science Northwest Normal University. Research interests include Plant polyploidization and Chromosomal karyotype evolution. Personal interests include music and food.


“I developed an interest in plant science during my undergraduate studies. I am passionate about plant science because it allows me to explore the intricate mechanisms of plant growth, development, and their complex interactions with the environment.  I am fortunate to be part of Professor Xiyin Wang’s research group. His enthusiasm for plant science and dedication to advancing knowledge in the field motivate me to continuously explore and contribute.”

Lixia Pan

Lixia Pan (She/her) is the First Author of Heterodimerization domains in MAP4 KINASEs determine subcellular localization and activity in Arabidopsis published 21 March 2024. Pan is a PhD student, Plant system biology at VIB-UGENT. In 2018 she earned a Master’s degree at Shaanxi Normal University. Research interests include Abiotic stress, Phosphorylation, Ubiquitination. Personal interests include Painting, Cooking.

“My fascination with plant science blossomed during my master’s program, fueled by a profound passion for plant biology. Eager to delve deeper into this field, I joined Prof. Guodong Wang’s lab at Shaanxi normal university, China, where my master’s research focused on unraveling the intricate role of the CLAVATA3 (CLV3)/Embryo Surrounding Region (CLE) peptide and receptor-like kinases (RLKs). Having dedicated three years to the study of RLK and gaining valuable insights into its functions, I decided to extend my exploration into the realm of protein post-translational modifications (PTMs). Therefore, I applied and joined Prof. Ive De Smet’s group for my PhD. Throughout my doctoral research, I am primarily focused on exploring phosphorylation and ubiquitination processes. Our group first found a novel MAP4K which is vital for plant thermomorphogenesis. Notably, information regarding the plant MAP4K family remains scarce and underexplored. Thus, I would explore further MAP4K family members in this article.”

Do Young Hyeon

Do Young Hyeon (he/his) is the First Author of Phytohormonal regulation determines the organization pattern of shoot aerenchyma in greater duckweed (Spirodela polyrhiza) published 25 March 2024. He is a Senior Researcher at Seoul National University. He also has a 2018 Ph.D from POSTECH. Research interests include Systems biology, multiomics. Personal interests include Soccer, Guitar.

“My current advisor Daehee Hwang inspires me throughout my research career.”




Min Kim

Min Kim (she/her) is the First Author of Phytohormonal regulation determines the organization pattern of shoot aerenchyma in greater duckweed (Spirodela polyrhiza) published 25 March 2024. She is a PhD Candidate in Biological Sciences (BBSRC DTP) at University of Cambridge. Education background includes 2022 MSc in Biological Sciences at Seoul National University 2019 BSc in College of Life Science and Biotechnology (Systems Biology) at Yonsei University. Research interests include Plant Cell Biology, Plant Molecular Biology, Plant Evolutionary & Developmental Biology. Personal interests include Crafts, Going to the gym, Travelling and exploring nature.

“My interest in plant science has been driven by a desire to become a biomimicry specialist who generates original ideas for sustainable solutions by emulating nature.”


Heven Sze

Heven Sze is the First Author of A wave of specific transcript and protein accumulation accompanies pollen dehydration published 26 March 2024. Sze is a Professor Emerita at University of Maryland. Education background includes a1975 Ph.D. Plant Physiology at Purdue University, a M.S. at University California (Davis), and a B.S. Botany Nat. Taiwan University. Research interests include Membrane Transport, Membrane trafficking, Pollen Biology.

Personal interests include Writing, swimming, dancing.

“I have been interested in biology since high school. I was inspired by my mother and numerous members of ASPB.”


Keting Chen

Keting Chen (she/her) is the First Author of Dynamic relationships among pathways producing hydrocarbons and fatty acids of maize silk cuticular waxes published 27 March 2024. She is a Post-doc research associate at Iowa State University. Education background includes a 2022 Ph.D. in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Iowa State University and a 2012 Ph.D. in Horticulture, Iowa State University. Research interests include Plant metabolism, Plant genome biology, Systems biology. Personal interests include Running, houseplants, music.

“I’m a houseplant enthusiast. Observing plant responses to seasonal changes and to different environments brings my great joy. I make different accommodations at home according to the needs of plants from different natural habitats. I’m extremely fortunate that my hobby is so tightly related with my career.”


Hui Xiao

Hui Xiao (she/her) is the First Author of Hypoxia in tomato fruit (Solanum lycopersicum) during ripening: biophysical elucidation by a 3D reaction-diffusion model published 28 March 2024. She is a Research Associate at KU Leuven. Education background includes 2023 Ph.D Bioscience Engineering at KU Leuven; 2018 MSc Food Science and Engineering at Nanjing Agricultural University; 2015 BSc Food Science and Engineering at Nanjing Agricultural University.

Research interests include Plant hypoxia, Plant gas exchange, Plant modelling, Fruit climacteric ripening, Imaging techniques in Plant.  Personal interests include Reading, Detective Movies, Travelling.

“Engaging in three years of study on fruit for my master’s thesis sparked my interest in plant science. Subsequently, delving deeper into fruit during my PhD research further intensified my fascination with it. We often overlook the fact that plants are living beings. While they may not communicate audibly, they express themselves through signaling, which is truly intriguing!”