Pioneer Member

Xinnian Dong


Zhengqing Fu
Yangnan Gu
Xin Li & Yuelin Zhang
Lijing Liu
Junqi Song
Wei Wang
Yezi Xiang
Guoyong Xu
Shunping Yan
Heejin Yoo
Meng Yuan
Sophia Zebell
Xiaoyu Zheng

Anonymous Donor

Yangnan Gu – As a postdoc in Xinnian’s lab during 2013~2017, I had the privilege of working closely with Xinnian, an exceptional scientist who possesses an unwavering dedication to research and nurturing young minds. Her influence on my scientific career has been immeasurable. I have not only grown as a scientist, but have also gained the confidence and insight to pursue new research avenues and aim for excellence in everything I do!

Xin Li & Yuelin Zhang – Our time spent at Duke was full of precious memories. Thank you Xinnian for everything!

Wei Wang – Xinnian’s contributions to our understanding of the plant immune system, especially with regard to plant immune responses to biotrophic pathogens, are profound and long-lasting. Her studies centered on NPR1 and made numerous interesting discoveries connecting the plant immune system with transcriptional regulation, redox homeostasis, DNA damage responses, the plant circadian clock and translational control. All of these findings greatly expanded the horizon of the plant immunity field. As a mentor, she provided an encouraging culture in the lab to promote an expedition to the untouched frontiers of science. The Pioneer recognition is well deserved.

Yezi Xiang – It is with great honor and gratitude that I extend my heartfelt admiration to my PhD advisor, Dr. Xinnian Dong, an eminent pioneer in the field of plant immunity. For the past three decades, Dr. Dong has consistently pushed the frontiers of scientific knowledge. Dr. Dong’s early ground-breaking discovery of NPR1 as the master regulator in systemic acquired resistance (SAR) has revolutionized our understanding of immune signaling pathways and molecular networks involved in plant defense responses. In recent years, Dr. Dong’s investigation into the role of the plant circadian clock in gating the plant immune response has shed new light on the intricate interplay between biological rhythms and defense mechanisms. Her groundbreaking work in this area has deepened our comprehension of plant immunity, emphasizing the critical significance of timing in optimizing plant protection strategies. Furthermore, Dr. Dong’s recent study on translation regulation during plant pattern-triggered immunity (PTI) and effector-triggered immunity (ETI) has unraveled new layers of gene regulation during plant defense responses. The insights gained from understanding these mechanisms of translation regulation hold the potential for precise control on gene expression without yield penalties, offering promising avenues for sustainable crop improvement. As a mentor, Dr. Dong’s guidance has been invaluable in shaping my scientific journey, and her unwavering support has inspired me to pursue excellence in my own research endeavors. I am extremely grateful to have had the privilege of learning from her and being a part of her scientific journey

Shunping Yan – I did my postdoctoral training in Xinnian’s lab from 2006 to 2014. I have to say that Xinnian is a great mentor. She gave me a lot of support in many ways. She not only taught me how to be a good scientist, but also how to be a good person. I remember very clearly what she said to me when I first came to her office: “The purpose of doing science is not making money, not for publishing papers, not for becoming a professor, but for finding the truth.” Xinnian is definitely a pioneer.

Heejin Yoo – My time as a postdoc in Xinnian Dong’s lab profoundly shaped my career path in academics. Dr. Dong’s mentorship provided exceptional training and invaluable scientific inspiration, setting me on a path of success and fulfillment. Dr. Dong’s lab was a hub of brilliance, where pioneering research sparked my passion and curiosity, driving me to explore new horizons. The profound inspiration I gained during my research in Dong’s lab laid the foundation for my current position as an assistant professor. Beyond imparting knowledge, Dr. Dong generated a collaborative environment that encouraged open discussions and critical thinking, empowering me to grow as a well-rounded scientist. Dr. Dong’s unlimited support during personal and professional challenges instilled in me the confidence to pursue ambitious goals and overcome obstacles. I am deeply grateful for the impact of Xinnian Dong’s lab on my career.

Meng Yuan – The Dong lab is well-known for promoting NPR1 on the cutting edge in fundamental plant immunity research and applicable crop genetic improvement. The time I spent in the Dong lab as a visiting scholar has been among the best memories of my life. I look back and feel grateful to Xinnian for being such an awesome scientist, mentor, and friend.

Sophia Zebell – Xinnian is an out of the box thinker and a visionary scientist. I learned how to structure my ideas and make connections between concepts in new and interesting ways. Her lab was a fun and supportive environment for me to learn as a young scientist.

Guoyong Xu – “Curiosity,” Xinnian said. After many years I still remember her answer to my question of how to be qualified as a scientist during my interview for a postdoctoral position in 2012. Since then, I have kept finding curiosity’s true meaning and significance in plant science.

Xiao-yu Zheng – Xinnian is an exceptional scientist and mentor! During my Ph.D. study in her lab, not only did I receive comprehensive scientific training, but I was also profoundly influenced by her curiosity and passion for science. She led by example, teaching me to not only read broadly and think broadly but also to pay attention to details. This valuable lesson has laid a strong foundation for my career development in science. I am grateful for the guidance and support I received under her mentorship, and consider myself fortunate to have been a part of her research team.