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New research Professor Looks Forward to His Future with OSU

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Jiangqi Wen, a research professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at Oklahoma State University, attended Lanzhou University in northwest China for all his academic degrees. He worked at the university for four years following the completion of his Ph.D. in plant physiology in 1994.


He worked as a visiting scientist at the University of Cambridge from 1996 to 1997, where he studied molecular biology. He was awarded the STA Fellow by the Japanese government to conduct postdoctoral research at the Hokkaido Agricultural Experiment Station in Japan, where he transitioned his research interest from plant physiology to plant molecular biology. 


Wen worked at the University of Missouri-Columbia where he explored the genetic regulation of plant development in Arabidopsis. He worked for the Noble Research Institute from 2005 to May of this year as a core facility manager, taking care of generating, propagating and distributing Medicago truncatula mutants.  


“Medicago truncatula has been selected as a model legume species to study biological processes that are unique and/or pertinent to legumes, which means these processes cannot easily be studied in other model species,” Wen said. “With more than 16 years of experience in managing the Medicago resources, my current program is to resume the interrupted services as soon as possible to worldwide researchers in the legume community and in other scientific disciplines.”


Wen said in addition to continuing to provide quality service to the legume community, he plans to apply for external grants to conduct research on legume development and genetics using the in-house resources of the large mutant collection. 


“Grain legumes, such as soybean, pea, chickpea and lentil, provide the majority plant protein sources for human consumption. Forage legumes, such as alfalfa and clover, are high quality feeds for animals.” Wen said. “Understanding the molecular mechanisms unique to legumes will help improve the agronomic traits in legume breeding programs. With mutants, scientists can understand the functions of genes involved in specific pathways or processes.”


Wen was hired as the curator of the Medicago truncatula resources at the Noble Research Institute and was involved in the development of the Tnt1 mutants from a very early stage. 


“After taking care of the Tnt1 mutant resource for more than 15 years, this resource is like my baby,” Wen said. “When Noble decided to no longer host the resource, I felt very sad. I thought I needed to find a new home for this incredibly valuable resource. I reached out to more than 15 institutions, from academic to industrial to governmental. OSU agreed to host the resource, and I really appreciate it. Though I have not worked at OSU for long, I really like the academic freedom and collaborative atmosphere here.

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