Testimonials for Pioneer Member Tuan-hua David Ho

Faith Belanger – Thank you David for helping me get started in applying molecular biology approaches to plant biology. David was on my Ph.D. committee at the University of Illinois and hired me as a post-doc, even though I had no experience in molecular biology. Working in David’s lab was a joy because he was always so helpful and supportive. David is an amazing scientist and has been a great mentor to so many students and post-docs. It is so fitting that he be recognized as an ASPB Pioneer. I will be forever grateful to have had the chance to work with you.

Judy Callis – I am very grateful for his mentorship while I was a student in his lab and for his continued interest in my career. He was always positive and supportive and his excitement about science was infectious. Thank you, David!

Ching-Nen Nathan Chen – I worked with Tuan-hua at Washington University for many years. Tuan-hua spent a lot of time in the lab, often on Sunday afternoon. Therefore, the lab members had many chances for a lunch chat with him. The things we talked about ranged from science to finance, leadership, human migration, the Big Bang, to sex hormones and the origin of tomatoes. In lab meetings, he asked us to show solid evidence, step by step, to support the claims, which gave me the impression that over interpretation of findings is a sin. Immersed in the liberal and friendly environment at the Biology Dept and Wash. U. as a whole, I found later in my career that my taste for science sometimes is quite different from that of my peers who were educated at other places. Thank you Tuan-hua for taking me as your student.

Wan-Hsing Cheng – David was a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri; later, he moved back to Taiwan and served as the Director of Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology (IPMB), Academia Sinica, Taipei. During his stay in Taiwan, he was elected President of ASPB. Although he retired a few years ago, he still works in IPMB as a Distinguished Visiting Chair, and he serves as an Adjunct Professor in several universities in Taiwan. He will teach and do research as long as he is healthy. David has devoted himself to teaching and research, and his contributions have nursed many elite scholars worldwide. There is no doubt David is worthy of receiving the Pioneer recognition.

Alan Jones – David Ho is a great mentor who taught me, among many-many things, how to make an hypothesis, test it, and reach a conclusion.

Susan Koehler – Dr. David Ho served as thesis advisor for my Ph.D. in Plant Biology at Washington University in St. Louis in the late 1980s. He was very effective at mentoring me during this time, providing ideas for my thesis research on hormonal regulation of cysteine proteases in barley aleurone layers. This research resulted in three high quality publications, as well as the eventual utilization of this technology in industry. At the time, he had a diverse group of graduate students and post-docs, and he cultivated a friendly environment for information sharing, comraderee and innovation. He encouraged us to get the necessary work done to tell the full story. He was always available to discuss ideas and teach new skills in molecular biology and biochemical techniques. He encouraged and paid for us to attend scientific meetings and contribute to grant applications. Those activities were great for making important connections, generating additional ideas for my research, and for my career advancement. The skills I learned in plant molecular biology and biochemistry positioned me well for my 30 year career with USDA APHIS in the Biotechnology Regulatory Services Program, where I conducted and supervised reviews and assessments of biotech permits and petitions for cutting edge products of plant biotechnology. Dr. Ho also taught undergraduate plant biology at Washington University, and always gave engaging lectures. He truly planted the seeds for many who have gone on to do great research, innovation and other services related to plant biology. He is certainly deserving of this recognition.

Jorge Nieto-Sotelo – David was a great PhD mentor to me, always happy and full of excitement about anything scientific. He always gave us the liberty to pursue our own passions and inspired us to ask our own questions before seeking any answers.

Jeffery Qingxi Shen – Tuan-Hua David Ho is an exceptional scientist. His scientific achievements and leadership roles in the plant community have been well documented in his biography. My testimonial focus is on his impact on my career. I was a graduate student and postdoctoral fellow in his lab; then I became an industry scientist, and eventually took an academic position. He guided me through every stage of my career with an extraordinary blend of wisdom, patience, care, and encouragement, helping me overcome numerous difficulties and even crises. I vividly remember that while writing my Ph.D. thesis, Tuan-Hua often worked till 2 or 3 AM so he could answer my questions whenever I needed and revise my thesis in a timely manner. I also remember the wonderful times when we sat in the breakroom or even on the hallway floor next to the lab, chatting about science and life. He made me feel that he had a lot of free time, but later I understood that it meant a lot of extra working hours and much less time to be with his family. It is difficult to forget the rehearsals of my oral presentations that he helped me polish before each job interview, conference, and colloquium, let alone the research protocols and materials he shared with me, advice he gave on manuscript revisions, journal selections, and proposal ideas. Even nowadays, Tuan-Hua is still one of the first people I reach out to for help, and he still responds as promptly as he did 34 years ago. Indeed, he has been my “brain candy” in all these years, nurturing my academic development. I didn’t know how hard it is to be “brain candy” to many students until I had my own research lab, and struggled to allocate my time for teaching, research, and service. So far, my own research lab has trained more than a dozen graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scholars, and more than 80 undergraduate students. I try to treat them the same way Tuan-Hua treated me. Hence, Tuan-Hua has directly impacted about 100 people just through the Shen lineage alone. Obviously due to his achievements as a scientist and teacher, Tuan-Hua is no doubt a pioneer in plant biology who well deserves this recognition.

Jen Sheen – When Tuan-Hua became the Director of the Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology at Academia Sinica, his grand vision and remarkable leadership truly transformed the Institute of Botany into a world class research center in plant and microbial biology that is full of energy and talent for conducting exciting and frontier plant and microbial research.

Liang-Shiou Lin – I was a graduate student with Dr. Ho from 1980 to 1987. I joined his lab from a rather unrelated field, and had a lot to do to catch up and study plant physiology and plant biochemistry. Fortunately, these subjects were not completely foreign to me, because I studied them as an undergraduate student. Still, David was very helpful and patient in bringing me up to speed. He seemed to know every biochemical technique, and personally demonstrated many of them to me.

My thesis work on ABA-induced proteins in barley aleurone layers did not go as smoothly as we had hoped, but with his encouragement and guidance, I was able to push forward and produce publishable data. David was very good at connecting with other researchers (both nationwide and internationally) and seeking collaborations. I published several papers outside my main project, not only with fellow lab members, but also with other labs working on different subjects. It took me longer to complete my Ph.D. degree than most other graduate students, but the extra time in David’s lab was well spent.

Scott J. Uknes – Simply put, I would likely not be a scientist nor have had any of the success I’ve realized in my career without the loving patience, coaching, teaching and support of David.

Shu-Hsng Wu and Kuo-Chen Yeh – Tuan-hua has done so much in advancing science, facilitating the awareness of plant biology research and connecting people in the community. His energy, passions and dedications in serving for the betterment of the plant biology community at large are truly inspiring! We are especially in debt to your contributions in Taiwan.

Rodolfo Zentella – I started by calling him Dr. Ho. By the end of my PhD studies, he was David, my friend and mentor. It is impossible to describe the lasting impact David has had on my scientific carrier. He embraced and encouraged my curiosity and guided me through ups and downs in pursuit of answers to my thesis project’s questions. His door was always open, and his time was endless when it came to discussing my latest results, new ideas and of course, to propose new experiments. I was impressed not only by his excellent scientific mind, but also by his abilities as a teacher. David used to teach some undergraduate classes, and I would see him in his office, planning not only the content, but also what to write on which of the six blackboards, which diagrams would stay up longer, and which ones would be erased first. I was amazed the first time I walked into one of his classes, and see him captivating the attention of all 200+ students! Always kind and respectful, caring about people’s lives in and out of the lab, David is deeply appreciated among his former students, postdocs and visiting scientists. David, many thanks for making me a better scientist!