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Sheng Yang He wants to understand how microbial pathogens manipulate plants to cause disease. He and his team focus their work on a model system consisting of the host plant Arabidopsis thaliana and the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae. The team tracks host-pathogen interactions on a genetic and genomic level to elucidate the basic principles that govern pathogenesis, such as virulence factors, jasmonate signaling, and stomatal function. In addition, the team is investigating how endogenous microbiota and external climatic factors, such as temperature and moisture, influence plant pathogenesis. He’s work may lead to innovative strategies for infectious disease control and help develop sustainable ways to produce food in the context of a changing climate.