In the month of July, we published many groundbreaking manuscripts. Behind those 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 to read their articles.
Haoran Wang is a First Author of Thermosensitive SUMOylation of TaHsfA1 defines a dynamic ON/OFF molecular switch for the heat stress response in wheat published 3 July 2023. Wang is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the College of Agronomy and Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, in Beijing, China. Research interests include crop stress biology and high-photosynthetic efficiency breeding. Personal interests include reading, basketball and Console games.
As the primary energy source of human life activities, plants are an extremely important research object. It is a very incredible thing that a small seed can grow into a towering tree. Wang thinks that unraveling the mechanisms of plant photosynthesis, growth and development, and stress adaptation is really cool work.
Man Feng is a First Author of Thermosensitive SUMOylation of TaHsfA1 defines a dynamic ON/OFF molecular switch for the heat stress response in wheat published 3 July 2023. Feng is currently a Postdoctoral fellow at Huazhong Agricultural University. From 2014 to 2021, Feng obtained a master’s degree and a doctorate degree in the College of Agronomy and Biotechnology at China Agricultural University.
Research interests include wheat, plant peptides, stress, and metabolism. Personal interests include traveling and reading. Plants themselves are of great fascination to first author Feng, as plants are quiet but full of power. They have unique intelligence to cope with biotic and abiotic stresses, and to survive better. The use of molecular biology methods can help Feng understand plants more deeply, unlock their mysteries, and cultivate better crops that meet human needs.
Yujie Jiangis a First Author of Thermosensitive SUMOylation of TaHsfA1 defines a dynamic ON/OFF molecular switch for the heat stress response in wheat published 3 July 2023. Wang is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the College of Agronomy and Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, in Beijing, China. Research interests include wheat spike development and crop stress biology. Personal interests include walking.
Jiang enjoys how plants have countless small “control centers” and control networks like the Internet. Plants can live very well without humans, but without plants, it is estimated that humans will die soon.
Lin Zheng is the First Author of The transcription factor MYB156 controls the polar stiffening of guard cell walls in poplar published 12 July 2023. Currently, Zheng is an Assistant Researcher at the Institute of Biotechnology, Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences in Beijing, China. Zheng holds a PhD from the College of Biological Sciences at China Agricultural University, China. Research interests molecular dissection of plant cell wall biosynthesis and regulation, as well as the application of biotechnological interventions for cell wall engineering. Personal interests include basketball, football, and outdoor activities.
In the beginning, Zheng was only interested in the crops in fields and wild plants in the mountains. After listening to a lecture on plant science given by a professor at China Agricultural University, they started to become interested in the growth, development, and adaptability of plants, which led them to their current research.
Anja Liese (she/her) is the First Author of Imaging of plant calcium-sensor kinase conformation monitors real time calcium-dependent decoding in planta published 11 July 2023. Liese is currently a Postdoc at the Leibniz institute of plant biochemistry (IPB) and holds a PhD from Freie Universität (FU) in Berlin, Germany. She also has a degree in biology from FU-Berlin, Germany. Research interests include Calcium signaling in plants, visualization of calcium changes, and imaging of calcium decoding in plants. Personal interests include reading and spending time with her children and husband.
According to Liese, simultaneous visualization of calcium encoding and calcium decoding under a microscope in plants and in real time is one of the most fascinating aspects of her work in plant science.
Vishal Varshney is the First Author of The Arabidopsis F-box protein SKIP31 modulates seed maturation and seed vigor by targeting JAZ proteins independently of jasmonic acid-isoleucine published 18 July 2023. Varshney is currently an Assistant Professor, Department of Botany, Govt. Shaheed Gendsingh College, Charama, Distt. Uttar Bastar Kanker, Chhattisgarh. From 2017-2022, this first author earned a Ph.D. in Plant Biology and Biotechnology from the National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), in New Delhi, India. Varshney also earned a M.Sc. Botany (Gold Medalist) from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), in Aligarh, India in 2017 and a B.Sc. Hons. Botany (Gold Medalist) from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), in Aligarh, India in 2015. Research interests include Molecular Biology and Proteomics. Personal interests include gyming, Running, Cycling, Dancing, Trekking, Travelling, and Cooking.
Varshney has always been fascinated by plants since school days. Varshney was always curious to know how plants manage everything without moving. That interest grew further when they studied plant science during my Bachelor’s and Master’s at AMU, Aligarh, India. Then, they got selected to pursue my Ph.D. Program at the National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), New Delhi in 2017 through a CSIR_JRF fellowship. At NIPGR, in Dr. Majee’s lab, Varshney was introduced to the fascinating world of seeds along with modern tools and technologies. Varshney was deeply amazed by the intriguing biology of seeds and began to explore some of the spectacular features of seeds. Eventually, they studied the role of the 26S proteasome pathway, particularly the F-box protein in the regulation of seed maturation and found that AtSKIP31, an F-box protein, regulates seed maturation by targeting JAZ proteins in JA/Ile-independent manner. Over the years, Varhsney’s interest in Plant Science became deeper and deeper and they are keen to continue in unfolding the mystery of plants in my professional career.
Lauren Stutts (she/her) is the First Author of The evolution of strictly monofunctional naphthoquinol C-methyltransferases is vital in cyanobacteria and plastids published 21 July 2023. Stutts is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Florida. 2020 Ph.D in Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology at University of Florida; 2014 MSc in Biology at University of North Carolina Wilmington; 2012 BSc in Biology at Campbell University
Research interests include the genetics and molecular interactions underlying plant metabolism and plant disease resistance, and the evolution of plant traits and how this can inform synthetic biology applications. Personal interests include being outdoors, spending time with her family, husband, and dog.
What drew this first author to plant science was learning about the impressive adaptations that plants evolve to tolerate stress and thrive in unlikely situations.
Adam Bentham is a First Author of Allelic compatibility in plant immune receptors facilitates engineering of new effector recognition specificities published 24 July 2023. Currently, Bentham is a Postdoctoral Scientist. Bentham earned a PhD in Structural Biology at University of Queensland/Flinders University and a Bachelor of Biotechnology from Flinders University in South Australia.
Research interests include Plant-pathogen interactions, protein structure, protein-protein interactions, biophysics, structural biology, x-ray crystallography. Personal interest include Basketball, Guitar, Chess, Cooking, Music. Bentham credits his interest in plant science to an excellent lecturer in the final year of his Bachelor degree who introduced me to the plant immune system and the ‘gene-for-gene’ model in plant-pathogen interactions.
Juan Carlos De la Concepcion
Juan Carlos De la Concepcion is a First Author of Allelic compatibility in plant immune receptors facilitates engineering of new effector recognition specificities published 24 July 2023. This first author earned BSc in Biology and Biochemistry with an MSc in Molecular Genetics at University of Sevilla, and a rotation PhD in plant and microbial sciences at John Innes Centre.
Research interests include structure-function of Macromolecular Complexes, evolution, and Host-microbe interactions. Personal interests include outdoor sports, food and cocktail making. Soon after starting university, Juan Carlos De la Concepcion had the opportunity to work as an intern in the department of ecology in a project that utilized plants to bioremediate polluted marshes. This showed him the power of plant biotechnology to deliver solutions to multiple problems faced by society.
Rui Miao (she/her) is a First Author of CRISPR interference screens reveal growth–robustness tradeoffs in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 across growth conditions published 26 July 202.
Miao is currently a Researcher at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). In 2018, she earned a Ph.D in Microbial Chemistry at Uppsala University. In 2012, Miao earned her MSc in Applied Biotechnology at Uppsala University. And in 2010, she received a BSc in Law at Tianjin Normal University and a BSc in Biotechnology at Tianjin University. Research interests include Cyanobacteria CO2 and N2 fixation, Protein Engineering, Metabolic Engineering, Photosynthesis, Synthetic Biology, and System Biology. Personal interestes include Art history, puzzles, and tennis.
“Photosynthetic organisms are the prime contributors to our planet, we can learn so much from them and convert the knowledge into new technologies,” says Miao on why she decided to study plant sciences.
Michael Jahn (he/him) is a First Author of CRISPR interference screens reveal growth–robustness tradeoffs in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 across growth conditions published 26 July 202. Jahn is currently a Postdoctoral Scientist at Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens in Berlin. He earned a Postdoc at Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Berlin, in 2022. In 2016, Jahn earned a Postdoc at the Science for Life Lab in Stockholm. Jahn also holds a PhD in Molecular Biology (2015) from Leipzig University and a MSc in Biology from TU Dresden (2011).
Research interests include systems biology, bioinformatics, high throughput data, functional genomics, and microbes. Michael is interested in cyanobacteria as the ultimate minimal photosynthetic life form. Personal interests include hiking, climbing, racing bikes, and all kinds of outdoor activities.
He Zhang (she/her) is a First Author of Natural variation in prolyl 4-hydroxylase PtoP4H9 contributes to perennial stem growth in Populus published 31 July 2023. In 2021, Zhang earned a Ph.D in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Peking University. In 2015, Zhang earned a BSc in Bioscience at Beijing Forestry University. Research interests include plant genomics and genetics. Personal interests include bicycle riding and cooking.
Zhang met her Prof. Lei Li at Peking University in 2014. Because of his amiable and dedicated guidance, Zhang learnt a lot about plant life and how to do proper research.. During Zhang’s Ph.D training, she was fascinated with many life processes — as plants look quiet but are powerful, and seem humble but are colorful. Now, she focuses on the cell wall, a unique structure of plant cells, whose function and regulation mechanisms are fundamental issues in plant science. Zhang credits her mentor with saying that the basic principle behind plants must be delicate and harmonious. His pearls of wisdom often inspire her when she starts a new project. First Author Zhang feels so lucky to have an eminent mentor to learn from and many capable colleagues to work with. Also, research facilities and technical platforms provided by Peking university are sufficient to support the original and interesting ideas.
Liang Xiao (he/his) is a First Author of Natural variation in prolyl 4-hydroxylase PtoP4H9 contributes to perennial stem growth in Populus published 31 July 2023. He is currently a Post-doctor at Beijing Forestry University. In 2021, Xiao earned a Ph.D in Forest genetics and Tree Breeding at Beijing Forestry University. In 2015, he earned a BSc Biotechnology at Beijing Forestry University. Research interests include plant genomics and genetics. Personal interests include bicycle riding and cooking.
Xiao joined the lab of Prof. Deqiang Zhang at Beijing Forestry University and received his Ph.D degree in 2021. Influenced by Prof. Zhang, Xiao was fascinated by plant biology, especially the perennial growth ability of forest trees. His research focused on the genetic regulation of stem growth in perennial trees. In Prof. Zhang’s lab, Xiao examined the genetic architecture underlying natural variation in stem perennial growth trajectories in poplar and found the allelic variation in PtoP4H9 contributes to stem radial growth by promoting cell expansion. Currently, he is concentrating on applying functional genomic tools to capture natural diversity for breeding activities to improve the productivity and climate resilience of forests.
Yuanyuan Fang (she/her) is a First Author of Natural variation in prolyl 4-hydroxylase PtoP4H9 contributes to perennial stem growth in Populus published 31 July 2023. Currently, Fang is a 2023 Ph.D candidate in Forest genetics and tree breeding at Beijing Forestry University. In 2018, she earned a BSc in Forestry at Shandong Agricultural University. Research interests include Plant genetics and molecular biology. Personal interests include watching movies and hiking.
Fang joined the lab of Prof. Deqiang Zhang at Beijing Forestry University and started Ph.D training in 2018. Her research focused on the allelic genetic regulation of candidate genes in perennial trees. In a previous study, Fang and colleagues performed a system genetics strategy to dissect the molecular mechanisms that underpin drought responses in forest trees and found that the allelic variation in PtoWRKY68 contributes to drought tolerance in Populus. In this study, Fang and colleagues found the allelic variation in PtoP4H9 contributes to stem radial growth by promoting cell expansion, providing insight into the genetic basis of stem perennial growth trajectories in trees.