Our lab combines computational and experimental approaches to reveal molecular mechanisms underlying adaptive strategies in plants. We focus on metabolic traits at multiple scales including individual genes, pathways, and networks. We also uncover novel functions, mechanisms, and pathways of 'unknown' genes (those that are not similar to any known genes), which is taking us to areas of research we never thought of studying before.
How Do Plants Act Fast To Fight Off Infections?
New work led by Carnegie’s Kangmei Zhao and Sue Rhee reveals a new mechanism by which plants are able to rapidly activate defenses against bacterial infections. Published in eLife, this understanding could inspire efforts to improve crop yields and combat global hunger. “Because plants grow in a fixed location, they can’t flee from predators or pathogens,” Zhao explained. “Instead, they’ve evolved to produce compounds that help them fight off invaders, among other functions.”