Recognizing Plant Cell authors: Kyaw Aung

Kyaw Aung, first author of Pathogenic bacteria target plant plasmodesmata to colonize and invade surrounding tissues

Current Position: Assistant Professor

Education: PhD in Plant Biology from Michigan State University, MS and BS in Horticulture from National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan

Non-scientific Interests: Creating and maintaining a balanced life by trying new things.

Brief bio: Growing up in Burma, I never knew the existence of a scientific career. My later education in Taiwan and life experiences led me to my current path. Many part-time jobs I took during college years made me recognize my own strengths, weaknesses, and passions. Through my journey, I was extremely fortunate to have many great mentors’ guidance. Dr. Tzyy-Jen Chiou at Academia Sinica, Taiwan, first inspired me to pursue a career in science. In her lab, I studied the regulation of phosphate homeostasis by microRNA in Arabidopsis and published my first paper in The Plant Cell. I later joined Dr. Jianping Hu lab at Michigan State University as a graduate student and studied the division of peroxisomes and mitochondria in Arabidopsis. One of my projects resulted in my second paper published again in The Plant Cell. I later joined Dr. Sheng Yang He lab at Michigan State University as a post-doc and studied cell biology at the host-microbe interface. My work led to the identification of a bacterial effector manipulating plant cell-to-cell communication channels, plasmodesmata, to promote diseases. From my career path, it’s clear that I have been greatly benefited from the American Society of Plant Biologists. The community has nourished me to grow as a scientist and provided me with a platform to establish my career. In my current laboratory at Iowa State University, we are studying plasmodesmal regulation during plant defense and development.