Plant Biology Research at the University of Chicago
Exploring a potentially transformative breakthrough in agricultural research and plant biology at the University of Chicago.
Chuan He is the John T. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago. Chuan was a pioneer in advancing the study of RNA modifications in biology and human diseases and his lab opened an entirely new field of research by discovering the keys to a different way that gene expression is regulated. He was successful in translating this work out of the lab and co-founded a biotech company that is developing new anti-cancer medicines based on this research.
Chuan and his research colleagues were interested in exploring how this process could affect plant biology and early studies have shown dramatic increases in yield and root growth. Chuan is now seeking to uncover the underlying mechanism, further advance this strategy, and explore approaches to avoid GMO. The potential impact of Chuan’s research, if successful, is immense. Initial studies have shown yield increases of 50% which would represent a transformational breakthrough in agricultural research where yield increases from other interventions tend to be <10%. In addition to improved food security, other applications include improving plants’ climate resilience, restoring grasslands and other ecosystems, and producing biofuels and other plant stock material.
UP is supporting Chuan’s further exploration of this new area of plant research at the University of Chicago and his development of a strategy to carry this work forward.
Learn more about Chuan He and his work at the University of Chicago here.