Decoding plant immune activation at the single-cell resolution and systems-biology level.

Our understanding of plant immunity is mostly built at the level of the entire plant, organ, or tissue. However, plant-microbe interactions mostly begin at the single-cell or single-cell-type level, and the research on this topic suffers from the cellular complexity of the analyzed sample; for instance, RNA-seq without isolating cells that directly interacting with pathogens from those that are not infected, cannot define transcriptional reprogramming specifically undergoing in those two distinct types of cells during the infection. Recent methodological advances allow us to overcome this limitation and enable biological analyses of single-cells or single-cell-types. Coupled with the development of bioinformatics and functional genomics resources, these studies provide opportunities for high-resolution systems analyses of different biological processes in plants, including the activation of plant immunity.

The Ding Lab aims at developing novel approaches and resources for understanding plant immune activation at the single-cell level. We will apply multi-disciplinary approaches including multi-omics, bioinformatics, mathematical modeling, and machine learning.