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Chen was born in a rural village in central China, and spent his childhood there until he was 15. His parents were farmers, but only had a small piece of land for food production due to the land reform and population explosion. His parents were illiterate, but they gave their children quality education.After school Chen helped his parents who survived the “Great hunger” which took place in 1950s in China. Even though he left his motherland he could not stop thinking on how to help the natives back home who suffered like his own parents which inspired him to a journey of plant science research.
His long-term research interest is to understand the biochemical and molecular basis underpinning various traits that plants gained during their evolutionary history, and apply this knowledge to crop species for improved growth performance, higher yield, and better quality. Currently, my research covers two major topics: 1) The metabolic mechanisms that affect seed composition, storage reserve accumulation or remobilization; 2) The biochemical and molecular basis of plant tolerance to abiotic stress (cold, freezing, heat and draught stress etc.), especially the membrane lipid desaturation for plant stress response. To address the complexity of these biological questions of interest, various traditional and emerging new techniques will be applied, these include but not limit to genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology, –omics-based system biology and statistical modeling.
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