In the month of May, 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 Facebook and Twitter — now, read more about why they chose to pursue plant sciences and click on the link to read their articles.
Xia Yang is the First Author of CYCLOIDEA-like genes control floral symmetry, floral orientation, and nectar guide patterning, published 3 May 2023. Yang became interested in plant science from a young age due to their love of nature. Currently, Yang is an associate professor at Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IBCAS). They received their Ph.D
in 2010 at IBCAS. Research interests include floral symmetry and flower development. Personal Interests include reading and traveling.
Yu Bai, First Author of An unexpected hydratase synthesizes the green light-absorbing pigment fucoxanthin, published 26 April 2023. Bai has a strong interest in microalgae and wishes to continue researching it. They are currently a Scientist at Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research UFZ. and received a PhD degree in 2018 from a joint PhD program in Xiamen University (China) and Ruhr University Bochum (Germany). Research interests include microalgal photo-physiology and biophotovoltaics. Personal Interests include hiking, traveling and fishing.
Tianjun Cao, First Author of An unexpected hydratase synthesizes the green light-absorbing pigment fucoxanthin published 26 April 2023, feels that collaboration is undoubtedly the most important part of the research process. During their master’s studies at Hainan University, Cao conducted research on “Dragon’s blood”, flavonoids, a type of secondary metabolite in plants. During their Ph.D at Nanjing University under the guidance of Professor Shan Lu, they focused on the metabolism of carotenoids in higher plants and algae and its regulation and gained experience in the analysis of carotenoid compounds. After graduating in 2019, Cao joined Professor Xiaobo Li’s lab at Westlake University to study the biosynthesis pathways for photosynthetic pigments unique in chromalveolates, using the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum as the model system. Currently, Cao is a Research Associate at Westlake University. They received their Ph.D in 20109 at Nanjing University. Research interests include Pigments, Carotenoids, and Secondary metabolism. Personal Interests include singing, dancing, rap and basketball.
Margaret Anne Pelayo
Margaret Anne Pelayo is the First Author of AGAMOUS regulates various target genes via cell cycle–coupled H3K27me3 dilution in floral meristems and stamens published 5 May 2023. Pelay initially worked on rice anaerobic germination as a technician at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines right after undergraduate studies. This experience encouraged and motivated them to study basic plant science and to work with Arabidopsis during a master’s. Afterwards, Pelayo became interested in studying the epigenetic aspects of flower development and pursued it during PhD studies. Pelayo is an incoming postdoctoral fellow at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. In 2021, Pelayo earned a PhD from the Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Japan. In 2016, Pelay earned an MSc from Ghent University, Belgium and in 2011, a BSc from Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines. Research interests include flower development, polycomb-group regulation, epigenetics, and abiotic stress responses. Personal interests include baking, literature, travel, cats, and K-pop.
Abi Ghifari, First Author of FTSH3 facilitates complex I degradation through a direct interaction with the complex I subunit PSST publish 13 May 2023, wants to understand plants’ biological complexity to help feed more people, produce new medicines, and benefit humans. When doing their masters project, Ghifari realized that plants are complex organisms, where their cellular and molecular complexity have not been fully understood. Understanding this biological complexity motivates Ghifari in scientific research. Currently, Ghifari is a PhD Candidate and Research Officer at the School of Molecular Sciences and ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, The University of Western Australia. Ghifari has a M.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from The University of Western Australia and a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Indonesia. Research interests include mitochondrial biology, plant biochemistry and molecular biology. Personal interests include urban sketching, watercolor painting, and street photography.
Jitesh Kumar is a First Author of Efficient protein tagging and cis-regulatory element engineering via precise and directional oligonucleotide-based targeted insertion in plants published 16 May 2023. Kumar is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Minnesota 2018. Inspired by the propensity of plant research in minimizing the crop loss due to pathogens, Kumar earned a PhD jointly from National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI), Mohali and Department of Biotechnology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India under the supervision of Dr. Rakesh Tuli in 2018. The PhD work unraveled the prevalence and pathogenesis of a geminivirus infecting wheat. Kumar also contributed to establishing a RNA guided genome editing tool based on CRISPR/Cas9 in model plants and crops. Fascinated by the robustness and origin of CRISPR/Cas system, Kumar explored microbial genomes as a postdoc in the laboratory of Dr. Sudhir P. Singh at Center of Innovative and Applied Bioprocessing (CIAB), Mohali, India. Then, Kumar moved to the laboratory of Dr. Feng Zhang at Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of Minnesota, USA in 2020. The lab’s goal is to understand and improve the precision of genome editing in plants through the lens of DNA repair. In the current manuscript, Kumar and co-authors achieved a NHEJ mediated precise and directional dsODN based targeted insertion in plants and enabled for an efficient protein tagging and disease resistance in rice. Research interests include precise genome engineering and understanding the role of DNA repair machinery in influencing the outcomes. Personal interests include music and playing.
Si Nian Char
Si Nian Char is a First Author of Efficient protein tagging and cis-regulatory element engineering via precise and directional oligonucleotide-based targeted insertion in plants published 16 May 2023. Char first became fascinated with plant genetics and Gregor Mendel’s discovery of traits of inheritance during high school biology class. Char is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Missouri. Char started a PhD research program in Interdepartmental Genetics and Genomics in 2012 under the guidance of Professor Bing Yang at Iowa State University, and previously received a Bachelor of Science Genetics from Iowa State University. Research interests include genome engineering for crop improvement and genome editing toolkit creation. Personal interests include watching movies and listening to music.
Min Kyun Han
Min Kyun Han is a First Author of The HIGH EXPRESSION OF OSMOTICALLY RESPONSIVE GENE15–HISTONE DEACETYLASE9 complex associates with HYPONASTIC LEAVES 1 to modulate microRNA expression in response to abscisic acid signaling, published 17 May 2023. They are currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Systems Biology, College of Life Science and Biotechnology, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea. They earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Systems Biology from Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea. Han’s favorite subject was always biology, particularly evolutionary science, and their current supervisor’s research about the pseudo-flower, an insect gall, and the land plant evolution was particularly memorable. Han wants to study the proteolytic regulation of core microprocessor components in Arabidopsis thaliana and elucidate the microRNA (miRNA) processing mechanism in plants. Research interests include microRNA biogenesis, proteostasis of microprocessor proteins, post-translational modification, abiotic stress response, land plant evolution. Personal interests include reading books by Annie Ernaux, Olga Tokarczuk, Georges Perec, Caroline Knapp, Anne Carson, Virginia Wolf, Roland Barthes, and more. Favorite Korean writers are 신형철, 최은영, 한강. Favorite composers include Cesar Franck and Robert Schumann.
Axel Joel Giudicatti
Axel Joel Giudicatti is a First Author of The HIGH EXPRESSION OF OSMOTICALLY RESPONSIVE GENE15–HISTONE DEACETYLASE9 complex associates with HYPONASTIC LEAVES 1 to modulate microRNA expression in response to abscisic acid signaling, published 17 May 2023. Axel is currently a PhD fellow at Instituto de Agrobiotecnología del Litoral (CONICET-UNL), in Santa Fe, Argentina. They received a BS in Biotechnology at Facultad de Bioquímica y Ciencias Biológicas, UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DEL LITORAL, in Santa Fe, Argentina. How do plants survive? They cannot move! It’s an old childhood way of thinking. Throughout Axel’s university career, they started to understand the plants strategies to survive in hostile environments and became truly fascinated with the complex molecular mechanisms involved in “plant survival”. They joined the Manavella lab and started a career looking for new miRNA biogenesis cofactors and the relationship between microprocessing and miRNA transcription. Over the years, Axel Joel Giudicatti has acquired many molecular biology techniques. This article was a part of that process. Here, Giudicatti and co-authors show that the HOS15/HDA9 complex is a conditional suppressor of miRNA biogenesis particularly in response to ABA. Moreover, the HOS15/HDA9 recruitment to MIRNA loci is guided by HYL1 upon recognition of the nascent pri-miRNAs. However, the most interesting aspect in this work is the evidence that pri-miRNAs are capable of acting as anchors, recruiting different transcriptional regulators specifically to the MIRNA loci.Research interests include molecular biology techniques, studying new proteins involved in the miRNA pathway and their interactions. Personal interests include trekking, tennis, and motorcycles.
Gabriel Robles Luna
Gabriel Robles Luna is the First Author of Targeting of plasmodesmal proteins requires unconventional signals, published 24 May 2023. Luna is currently an Assistant Researcher at Instituto de Biotecnología y Biología Molecular, CCT-La Plata CONICET & Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP). Luna’s education background includes Postdoctoral Student at Jung-Youn Lee Laboratory (UDEL, 2019-2022), Postdoctoral Student at Maria Laura García Laboratory (UNLP-CONICET, 2014-2015 ); PhD at Maria Laura García Laboratory (UNLP-CONICET, 2009-2014). During PhD studies, while studying viral proteins, Luna identified a novel viral movement protein and developed an interest in plasmodesmata and how Iit is regulated. After that PhD, Luna joined Jung-Youn Lee laboratory at University of Delaware to understand how plasmodesmata located proteins are delivered to this location. The study shows the identification of plasmodesmata targeting signals PDLP5 detected by combining custom-built machine-learning algorithms and targeted mutagenesis. Research interests include how viruses manipulate host machinery responsible for regulating plasmodesmata aperture to allow virus movement. Personal interests include running and fishing.
Mingxia Zhao is the First Author of Bacterium-Enabled Transient Gene Activation by Artificial Transcription Factors for Resolving Gene Regulation in Maize published 26 May 2023. Zhao is currently an Associate Professor at Peking University Institute of Advanced Agricultural Sciences, Weifang, Shandong, China. Zhao has a Ph.D in Plant Pathology from North Dakota State University. Zhou got into plant science when helping weeding crops in fields. They really enjoyed the harvesting! Research interests include gene functional validation and personal interests include fishing and cooking.
Wanyi Wang is the First Author of The P-body component DECAPPING5 and the floral repressor SISTER OF FCA regulate FLOWERING LOCUS C transcription in Arabidopsis published 23 May 2023. When Wang was young, they had a strong interest in the flowers and various beautiful flowers. After entering graduate school, they actively chose plant science and gained a deeper understanding of plants. Currently, Wang is a lecturer at Bozhou University. They got a PhD in Biology from Anhui Agricultural University. Research interests include transcriptional regulation during flowering and liquid-liquid phase separation in plants. Personal interests include music, movies, and travel.
Qianshen Zhang is a First Author of RETICULON-LIKE PROTEIN B2 is a pro-viral factor co-opted for the biogenesis of viral replication organelles in plants published 22 May 2023. Currently, Zhang is a PhD candidate at China Agricultural University in Beijing, China. Zhang received a BS from Guizhou University. They observed TMV-infected Nicotiana benthamiana plants for the first time in an undergraduate experimental course. Through phenotype observation and subsequent identification analysis, Zhang felt that the process of plant virus infection and host defense was very intriguing, and developed a strong interest in the arms race between the host and virus. Therefore, First Author Zhang felt fortunate to join Professor Yongliang Zhang’s team after undergraduate study, and is also very happy to continue to explore the molecular mechanisms underlying virus infection and host antiviral defense. Research interests include plant virus-host interaction. Personal interests include running, music and food.
Xin Zhang is a First Author of RETICULON-LIKE PROTEIN B2 is a pro-viral factor co-opted for the biogenesis of viral replication organelles in plants published 22 May 2023. They are currently a company researcher, and received a Ph.D from China Agricultural University. Zhang became interested in plant virology as an undergraduate student. In 2014, they got a chance to study plant virology under the guidance of Prof. Dawei Li and Prof. Yongliang Zhang in the Lab of Molecular Plant Virology at China Agricultural University and obtained a PhD. During that time, Zhang also attended Virginia Tech in USA for a two-year visit in Prof. Xiaofeng Wang’s lab. Their PhD research mainly focused on the molecular mechanism of viral replication and the interaction between virus and host factors.Research interests include molecular Virology. Personal interests include taichi and tea.
Zhiyan Wen is a First Author of RETICULON-LIKE PROTEIN B2 is a pro-viral factor co-opted for the biogenesis of viral replication organelles in plants published 22 May 2023. They are currently a PhD candidate at China Agricultural University. Wen also received a BS from Beijing Normal University in Zhuhai. China is a major agricultural country, and Wen is greatly motivated by Yuan Longping, the most famous rice expert in China (“the father of hybrid rice”) and his spirit of ‘Alleviate famine and poverty’. Inspired by it, Wen chose the direction of plant science. Research interests include plant-virus host interaction. Personal interests include playing basketball and keeping a kitten.