Welcome to The He Lab!
Our research focuses on the molecular biology of host-microbe interactions, microbial pathogenesis, and hormone signaling in disease.
André Velásquez to start Assistant Professorship at Western Carolina University
André has recently accepted a position at WCU! He will be dearly missed by all and we wish him the best of luck in the next phase of his career!
Li Zhang begins Professorship at Soochow University
Li accepted a position in the Department of Biology and Basic Medial Sciences at Soochow University in China! She will be dearly missed by all and we wish her the best of luck in the next phase of her career!
Listen to Sheng Yang's Interview on NPR's Science Friday!
Hannah McMillan awarded NSF PRFB
Hannah's NSF PRFB proposal titled "Understanding microbiome impact on plant performance in a warming climate" was recently funded and will address knowledge gaps in “temperature-microbiome-plant” triangular interactions to reveal underlying principles of emergent plant and microbiome function(s) in warming conditions. Congrats Hannah!
Paula Collado Cordon joins the lab
Paula has recently joined our lab as a Ph.D. student in the Biology Department here at Duke University. She is interested in unraveling the interplay between biotic and abiotic stress pathways, particularly how salt stress can modulate plant-microbe interactions. Welcome Paula!
Shanice Webster joins the lab
Shanice’s graduate work focused on understanding the mechanisms by which free-swimming bacteria sense surface contact and transition to surface attachment (biofilm formation). She determined a mechanism by which cysteines in a type 4 pili cell-surface-associated protein senses surface contact and initiates a signal transduction cascade to regulate intracellular levels of the second messenger molecule c-di-GMP. In the He lab, Shanice is investigating how pathogenicity affects changes in the plant microbiome and how such changes contribute to disease development.
Brad Paasch defends PhD
Brad successfully defended his dissertation work this past November! Congratulations, Brad!
Tim Arapov departs the lab for San Francisco startup
Tim joined the lab in October 2020 and has made several important contributions to microbiome and pathogenesis related projects in the lab. On top of being a brilliant scientist, Tim has been a wonderful colleague and lab citizen. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavor!
Hannah McMillan joins the lab
Hannah's graduate work at Duke focused on the roles bacterial outer membrane vesicles play in plant systems. She found that these nanoscale proteoliposomes elicit immune responses in plants that can protect against future pathogen challenge. In the He lab, Hannah is looking forward to uncovering how temperature impacts the plant microbiome structure and function.
Comzit Opachaloemphan joins the lab
During his graduate studies at NYU, Comzit worked with social insects and used the Indian jumping ant as a model of study. Division of labor is crucial and stable in social insect communities; however, in jumping ants, caste switching can occur in a queenless colony. His research provided insight into the mechanisms underlying these unusual changes in ant behavior and longevity. He will be making a transition from the animal to the plant kingdom to figure out how humidity influences plant growth and disease susceptibility.