The Key Laboratory of Plant Cell Engineering and Germplasm Innovation of the Ministry of Education conducts innovative research on integrative plant sciences involving botany, cell biology, molecular genetics, biochemistry, physiology, ecology and so on. It aims to develop a state-of-the-art platform for improvement of crops and personnel training of high-level scientists. The key laboratory mainly focuses on three research areas: (i) Regulation of plant development. This field is focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms governing seed development, compound leaves development and root/shoot stem cells maintenance and differentiation; (ii) Plant responses to stress. To improve the plant tolerance to adverse environment, the research are carried out to elucidate the mechanism of root growth and adaptation to stress, cell signal transduction under abiotic and biotic stress, the key regulatory roles of hormone in stress resistance and molecular glycosylation involved in stress response. (iii) The molecular basis of plant cell engineering and germplasm innovation. On this hand, we thrive to set up a novel breeding systems based on molecular and genetic technologies to develop high-yield, high-quality and stress-resistance crop species including wheat, corn, rice, cotton, soybeans and sorghum.
The laboratory has built a strong research team with 30 full-time employees comprising 14 professors, 9 associate professors and 4 assistant professor. The team also includes 1 Taishan Scholar, 3 Thousand Talents Program for Young Outstanding Scientists, 1 National Young Talent, 1 Principle Investigator of 973 Young Scientist Project, 3 winners of New Century Talent Award, 5 Qilu Scholar and 3 recipients of Shandong Young Talent Award. For the past five years, the laboratory has been actively involved in 125 competitive research projects. The laboratory undertakes 59 projects including National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), national “973”, “863”, Major program of NSFC, with total funding reaching 70.8 million CNY. In recent years, the laboratory has published hundreds of SCI-listed papers in leading journals such as Nature Communication, Plant Cell, Plant Pathogens, Plant Journal, Plant Physiology, New Phytologist, and so on.
The Key Laboratory occupies 3000 square meter lab space equipped with laser confocal microscope, flow cytometer, liquid chromatograph-mass spectrometer, DNA sequence analyzer and other advanced molecular and cell biology research instruments. The Key Laboratory has extensive collaboration with scientists in the world. The Lab regularly invites leading scientists and scholars from different nations for scientific exchanges. The Lab has also established partnership with several well-known universities in USA and European countries. In addition, the lab also has worked closely with enterprises, transferring scientific outputs to economic benefit.
In the future, the key laboratory will keep on integrating the basic research and applied research, devoting to make contribution to sustainable development of agriculture and society.