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Plant pathologist awarded nearly $2 million

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Hailing Jin, a University of California, Riverside professor of plant pathology and microbiology, recently received two grants totaling $1.95 million to study molecular regulatory mechanisms of plant immunity and pathogen virulence, which will help with disease control and to ensure the quality and quantity of agricultural food production.

Jin, who is also a member of the Center for Plant Cell Biology and the Institute for Integrative Genome Biology, will receive $1.25 million from the National Institutes of Health and $700,000 from the National Science Foundation.

Jin, who late last year was elected a fellow of the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the members of her lab have discovered that small RNAs from eukaryotic pathogens could move to host plant cells and suppress host immune responses to achieve successful infection. A similar phenomenon has been observed in animal systems.

With the National Science Foundation funding, she will study the small RNA trafficking pathways between pathogens and hosts and seek to demonstrate that small RNA trafficking is bidirectional, and to develop RNA-based disease control strategies for plant protection.

With the National Institutes of Health funding, she will study the function of small RNA machinery – the proteins that are required for small RNA biogenesis and function – in plant immunity.

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Sean Nealon
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