Our lab focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of plant resistance to insect damage. Our goal is to discover the novel genes and metabolites that affect plant defense in response to pest attack and to use these findings to increase crop yields and to ensure global food security. This is a fascinating and vibrant field of research that allows scientists from varied disciplines of plant biology, analytical chemistry, entomology, and chemical ecology to work together and address this important question. I strongly believe that our discoveries will have the potential to be utilized towards enhancing nutritional quality and improving sustainable agriculture.

Research interest: plant-insect interaction

  • Plant defense metabolites under insect feeding

  • Alteration of central metabolism toward production of specialized metabolism

  • Benzoxazinoid biosynthesis in wheat and barley

  • Combinatory effects of both aphid and drought on plants

 

Organisms:

  • Plants: monocots such as wheat, barley, setaria and maize

  • Insects: piercing/sucking insects such as aphids and chewing caterpillars

 

Methods:

  • Molecular biology: gene expression (RNAseq), gene silencing (VIGS) and overexpression

  • Analytical chemistry: small molecules (metabolites)

  • Bioinformatics: large-scale data analysis

  • Genetics: QTLs of bi-parental families and near isogenic lines

  • Biochemistry: enzyme activities

  • Insect bioassays: choice and none-choice, insect from different feeding guilds