Sheng Yang He is a plant scientist recognized for his research on the molecular basis of plant-pathogen interactions. He is particularly known for his studies of disease susceptibility and bacterial pathogenesis in plants as well as for using bacterial virulence factors as molecular probes of cellular processes in plants. He was born in a village near the city of Ningbo in Zhejiang Province, China, in 1963. He graduated from Zhejiang Agricultural University, China, with a B.S. degree in 1982 and an M.S. degree in plant protection in 1985 and from Cornell University with a Ph.D. in plant pathology in 1991. He conducted his postdoctoral research at Cornell University and joined the faculty of the University of Kentucky in 1993 and then Michigan State University in 1995. He has been president of the International Society of Plant-Microbe Interactions, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, a Michigan State University Distinguished Professor and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Sheng Yang He's laboratory is interested in elucidating the molecular mechanisms of plant disease susceptibility and bacterial pathogenesis. They have used the Arabidopsis thaliana-Pseudomonas syringae pathosystem to learn basic principles that underlie plant susceptibility to bacterial pathogens. P. syringae is representative of a large number of bacterial pathogens that infect the above-ground parts of plants. During infection, this pathogen produces a battery of virulence factors (such as effector proteins and phytotoxins) to engage multiple host cell types (e.g., stomatal guard cells in the epidermis and mesophyll cells inside the plant). Their studies on the molecular action of bacterial effectors and the jasmonate-mimicking phytotoxin coronatine led to insight into a number of fundamental aspects of disease susceptibility, jasmonate hormone signaling, and the immune function of stomata in plants. Recently, their research begins to address next-level questions such as reconstitution of plant disease susceptibility and characterization of multi-dimensional interactions between the environment, the microbiome, and disease.

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Primary Section

Section 62: Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 25: Plant Biology