Sheng-Yang He

Sheng-Yang  He
  • University Distinguished Professor
  • Plant Biology
  • Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences
  • MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory


Sheng Yang He, professor of plant biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator, has made pioneering contributions to the understanding of the molecular basis of plant susceptibility to bacterial infection. His research investigates how bacteria deploy virulence factors to hijack the plant immune system, hormone signaling and stomatal movements in order to cause disease, and is beginning to reveal long-standing questions about the profound effects of climate conditions (humidity and temperature) on plant disease progression. He holds joint appointments in the DOE-MSU Plant Research Laboratory, the Department of Plant Biology, the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, and the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.

He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in plant protection from Zhejiang (Agricultural) University in China and his Ph.D. in plant pathology from Cornell University. He completed his postdoctoral work at Cornell University and joined the MSU-Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory in 1995.

His honors include his selection as an investigator by the HHMI and Gordon Betty Moore Foundation, his election as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and his receiving of the Valent BioSciences Scientist of the Year Award from the Plant Growth Regulation Society of America. He has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher each year from 2014-2017, placing him among the top one percent of most-cited researchers in his field of publication.