Sheng Yang He reappointed as a Howard Hughes HHMI Investigator
Sheng Yang He, a University Distinguished Professor of plant biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) – Gordon Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF) Investigator since 2011, has been re-appointed as an HHMI Investigator, which extends his appointment to 2024.
The reappointment is a reflection of He’s exceptional work, which is opening up new frontiers in the study of fundamental mechanisms underlying plant diseases.
“I am delighted about Sheng Yang He’s reappointment as HHMI investigator, which recognizes his outstanding personal research accomplishments in the past and affirms his promise for further breakthrough discoveries in the future,” said Christoph Benning, PRL director. “In addition, Sheng Yang is a great colleague respected by all for his insights into all matters related to plant sciences at MSU, and I congratulate him on his reappointment as HHMI investigator, the first and only one at MSU."
He’s research over the past five years has unlocked mysteries of how bacteria hijack plant hormone signaling or plant defense machinery in order to cause disease. His research also began to clarify long-standing questions about the profound effects of climate conditions (humidity and temperature) on plant disease progression.
“Five-year reviews at HHMI are legendary; I’ve been told of many scary stories,” He said. “Indeed, it was truly a unique experience to report, on behalf of my group, before some of the best minds in the fields of medical and plant sciences. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my lab members for all the wonderful work they do and MSU for being a supportive host institution. There are so many outstanding questions to explore and new phenomena to discover in biology. We are excited to carry on.”
HHMI is a science philanthropy whose mission is to advance biomedical research and science education for the benefit of humanity. HHMI empowers exceptional scientists and students to pursue fundamental questions about living systems.
The protein, peroxiredoxin Q, is known to maintain a healthy balance of chemicals and energy levels in chloroplasts. The new research shows the protein also impacts the system that produces chloroplast membranes.
The CAMTA system - which is known to protect plants from cold weather - plays a newly discovered role: when bacteria invade a leaf, CAMTA warns neighboring, unaffected leaves to prepare for invasion.
When algae get stressed, they hibernate and store energy in forms that we can use to make biofuels. Understanding how stress impacts algal hibernation could help scientists lower the cost of biofuels production.