Recognizing Plant Cell first authors: Meng Ye

Meng Ye, first author of Molecular dissection of early defense signaling underlying volatile-mediated defense regulation and herbivore resistance in rice

Current Position: Associate Professor in Tea Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Education: PhD in Entomology (2016), Institute of Insect Sciences, Zhejiang University, China

Non-scientific Interests: Music, gardening, table tennis

Brief bio: I am passionate about plant-herbivore interactions. I started my scientific career as a PhD student in 2011 in the group of Prof. Lou at Zhejiang University in China, where I focused on the roles of leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinases in herbivore-induced defenses in rice. After graduation, I joined the group of Prof. Erb at University of Bern in Switzerland as a Post-Doc to investigate how herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) prime plant defenses and resistance, and how HIPVs mediate tritrophic interactions. By combining genetic, molecular and biochemical techniques, we found that the aromatic HIPV indole is a conserved priming signal within the Poaceae. It can be in integrated into the early defense signaling pathways of rice and maize and thereby prime plant defenses and resistance against herbivory. Besides, plant-derived indole can also undermine tritrophic interactions by reducing the suitability and attractiveness of herbivores to their natural enemies. Following my post doc, I accepted an Associate Professorship at the Tea Research Institute in Hangzhou, China. I currently work on the interactions between tea plants and herbivores, focusing on the molecular basis of plant defenses and the counter-defense strategies of herbivores. Ultimately, my aim is to use the experience and knowledge I gained from the Poaceae to better understand woody plants, and use this knowledge to improve integrated pest management in the field.