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MSU’s He Reappointed as an HHMI Investigator

Sheng-Yang He standing in greenhouse

Sheng Yang He, a University Distinguished Professor of plant biology at Michigan State University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) – Gordon Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF) Investigator since 2011, has been reappointed as an HHMI investigator for a second term, 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.

“He’s reappointment as an HHMI investigator is affirmation of his world-class scholarship in plant disease,” said Stephen Hsu, vice president for research and graduate studies at MSU. “He and his team are vital to our plant research initiatives and key to predicting how plants will thrive in a warmer world. We all look forward to his future discoveries and their global impact.”

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 elucidate 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,” said He, who is an MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory faculty member with joint appointments in the MSU Departments of Plant Biology; Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences; and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. “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.”

He is also an MSU AgBioResearch scientist.

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.

  • via the College of Natural Science website

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