Our research interests include
1) gene discovery and mechanisms of broad-spectrum disease resistance in rice;
2) mechanisms of crosstalk between immunity and yield traits (defense cost) particularly mediated by phytohormones;
3) rice functional genomics of important yield-related traits that can be integrated with disease resistance.
The long-term goal of his research is to establish a cutting-edge research for dissecting and reconstructing of broad-spectrum disease resistance with yield balance. We have been working on genetics of rice blast resistance over 30 years. In particular, our lab focuses on the durable and broad-spectrum blast resistance locus Pigm, and discovered a novel mechanism that balances high disease resistance and yield through epigenetic regulation of paired antagonistic NLR receptors. We dissect systemically PCD and broad-spectrum control in rice. Based on unique research system and materials, we investigate crosstalk between defense and growth fitness (defense cost) and abiotic stress mainly mediated by hormones, and established a preliminary network of hormone signaling crosstalk in rice defense. Moreover, in order to integrate high disease resistance with high yield potential, we identify important yield controlling genes and the underlying mechanisms, and has successfully isolated a set of important rice yield genes, including GIF1 and Eui, both are also regulators of rice defense through sucrose and GA metabolism, respectively. Recently, we identified a major super-rice yield QTL qWS8/ipa1-2D through collaboration that provides superior yield potential. These yield genes provide a base to breed new elite varieties with high disease resistance with high yield balance. More importantly indeed, several genes identified by our lab including Pigm have been widely used in crop breeding by different seed companies and breeders. Therefore, our studies greatly contributes not only to plant defense but also to crop molecular breeding.