Dr. Xinyuan Huang received his B.S. in biotechnology from Nanjing Agricultural University (2004), a Ph.D. in plant genetics from Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2010). After finishing his postdoctoral research at Purdue University and the University of Aberdeen (2010-2016), he started his research group at Nanjing Agricultural University in China. Current research in the Huang lab works to identify the genes/QTLs that control the accumulation of mineral nutrients and trace elements in rice grains, and understand the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms maintaining of sulfur homeostasis in plants.
Prof. Jez received his B.S. in biochemistry from Penn State University (1992), a Ph.D. in biochemistry & molecular biophysics from the University of Pennsylvania (1998), and was an NIH-NRSA postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute (1998-2001). After working as a scientist at Kosan Biosciences, he started his research group at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in 2002 and moved to the Department of Biology at Washington University in 2008. In 2014, he was selected as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. Research in the Jez lab seeks to understand how environmental changes re-model biochemical pathways in plants at the molecular, cellular, and organism levels with the aim of engineering these systems to address agricultural and environmental problems. A long-standing research interest is how proteins in a variety of pathways linked to sulfur metabolism function; this work uses a combination of structural biology, protein chemistry, and plant biology.
The Kliebenstein laboratory works to understand how new traits can evolve and become integrated into an existing genome and organism. For this, the laboratory utilizes the glucosinolate pathway within Arabidopsis as a model trait that has recently evolved within this lineage of plants. To understand the evolution of this defense pathway, they study the ecological, evolutionary and systems biological ramifications. This involves wide ranging studies from measuring the field fitness consequences of these genes to studying the evolution of global transcriptional regulation of primary and secondary metabolism.
A major focus of the Loake laboratory is the redox regulation of plant immunity. In this context, S-nitrosylation, the addition of a nitric oxide (NO) moiety to a protein cysteine thiol to form an S-nitrosothiol, is an important determinant. We have identified a number of key immune regulators whose function is controlled by this redox-based, post-translational modification and have determined the underpinning regulatory mechanisms. Interestingly, some of these NO targets and their associated molecular control strategies are conserved across kingdoms, providing insights into both crop improvement and future biomedical applications.
Many plant immune-related molecules are high value pharmaceuticals. Another interest of the lab is understanding the regulation and biosynthesis of some of these molecules and their associated commercial production in large-scale plant stem cell cultures.
After having investigated the mechanism and regulation of nitrate assimilation in plants, we have pioneered the studies on the Target of Rapamycin (TOR) kinase in plants. Our main goals are now to identify the regulatory mechanisms and the targets of the plant TOR kinase by molecular, biochemical and genetic approaches. We are focussing our work on the regulation of TOR activity by nutrients and on the roles of the TOR signalling pathway in the control of plant growth and metabolism.
Research on the ecophysiology of nitrogen and sulfur nutritions in cultivated plants, including root uptake and leaf remobilization processes, development of nutritional indicators based on ionomic composition of plant tissues.
Julian Schroeder’s laboratory is identifying mechanisms and pathways through which plants respond to abiotic stresses, including drought and salinity stress. A main focus is the signal transduction mechanisms that control stomatal movements and gas exchange/water loss of plants. The signal transduction mechanisms are being characterized through which stomatal guard cells respond to the phytohormone abscisic acid. His laboratory has further characterized mechanisms through which plants are responding to the continuing elevation in atmospheric CO2 by closing their stomatal pores. His laboratory also identified and characterized plant HKT transporters and identified how the HKT1 transporter protects Arabidopsis plants from salinity/sodium stress. His group with collaborators have also identified and characterized some of the key genes that mediate heavy metal and arsenic tolerance and accumulation in plants.