Recognizing The Plant Cell author Samuel Koh Wee Han

Samuel Koh Wee Han, first author of Mapping and engineering of auxin-induced plasma membrane dissociation in BRX family proteins

Current Position: Ph.D. student, Department of Plant Molecular Biology, University of Lausanne

Education: MSc in Life Sciences (Hokkaido University, Japan) and BSc in Conservation Biology (UMS, Malaysia)

Non-scientific Interests: Podcasts, Badminton, Tabletop games

Brief bio:

Research on natural products and plant growth and development has been my passion ever since my Bachelor’s studies in Borneo, one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. From there I embarked on a journey to further my studies in Dr. Tanaka’s Lab at the Institute of Low Temperature Science in Hokkaido, Japan, focusing on the molecular pathway of astaxanthin biosynthesis. To better understand how molecular mechanisms work, I joined the lab of Prof. Christian Hardtke at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, where I decipher characteristics of the plant-specific BREVIS RADIX (BRX) protein and its homologs. We could prove that the conserved tandem BRX domains are necessary and sufficient to convey BRX function in the root protophloem. Moreover, we found that its auxin-induced plasma-membrane-dissociation is mediated by specific phosphosites in the linker between the two BRX domains.

Currently, my focus is on the evolution of BRX function by testing homologs from various plant lineages for their functionality in Arabidopsis thaliana.