Soyon Park, PhD

Assistant Professor

Plant Science & Technology

Contact Information

Address 3-22J Ag Building (office); 3-22K Ag Building (lab)


BS, Dankook University, Korea
PhD, Seoul National University, Korea


During her career, Soyon Park has focused on investigating 1) Abiotic stress in crops, 2) Plant-Microbiome interactions, and 3) Plant-Plant interactions.

Abiotic stress in crops

Abiotic stresses can be detrimental to crop yield and threaten food security. To understand plant responses to abiotic stresses, the mechanistic regulation of plant transcription factor Apetala 2 (AP2) and Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase (CSD) has been explored. Due to the miRNA binding sites in their mRNA sequences, AP2 and CSD are negatively regulated by miR172 and miR398, respectively. Park found that the miRNA binding sites of AP2 and CSD are alternatively spliced out under drought stress, resulting in bypassing the post-transcriptional gene regulation. Isoforms of AP2 and CSD lacking the miRNA binding sites are continuously expressed without miRNA disruptions under the abiotic stress. It suggests that studies on the role of alternatively spliced miRNA binding sites affecting target transcript levels are important to understand plant stress responses.

Related articles:
Park SY (corresponding author), Grabau E. (2017) Bypassing miRNA-mediated gene regulation under drought stress: alternative splicing affects CSD1 gene expression. Plant Molecular Biology. 2017 Oct;95(3):243-252. PMID: 28776286.

Park SY (corresponding author), Grabau E. (2016) Differential isoform expression and protein localization from alternatively spliced Apetala2 in peanut under drought stress. Journal of plant physiology. 206, 98-102, PMID: 27723504.

Plant-Microbiome interactions

Agrobacterium-mediated transformation is one of the widely used methods to genetically improve plants. Park has studied the molecular mechanism of Agrobacterium function, especially on how transfer DNA (tDNA) from Agrobacterium is integrated into the plant genome. Park reported that particular genes are involved in the tDNA integration process. However, the detailed mechanism is still unclear. The Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer could be a perfect model to elucidate Plant-Microbiome interaction and will be able to enhance crop transformation efficiency.

Related articles:
Park SY, Vaghchhipawala Z, Vasudevan B, Lee LY, Shen Y, Singer K, Waterworth WM, Zhang ZJ, West CE, Mysore KS, Gelvin SB. (2015) Agrobacterium T-DNA integration into the plant genome can occur without the activity of key non-homologous end-joining proteins. Plant Journal. 81 (6): 934-946, PMID: 25641249.

Park SY, Yin X, Duan K, Gelvin SB, Zhang ZJ. (2014) Heat shock protein 90.1 plays a role in Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation. Molecular Plant. 7 (12): 1793-1796, PMID : 25143466

Plant-Plant interaction

Host-Parasitic plant interaction is a fascinating model to study Plant-Plant interaction. Parasitic plants steal water, nutrition, and molecules from host plants for their survival. Recent studies found that a significant amount of RNAs, DNAs, and proteins are exchanged between the host and parasites. Park is interested in how mobile molecules are exchanged, transferred, and translated in other organisms through the host-parasite interaction.

Related article:
Clarke C, Park SY, Tuosto R, Jia X, Yoder A, Mullekom J, Westwood JH. (2020) Multiple immunity-related genes control susceptibility of Arabidopsis thaliana to the parasitic weed Phelipanche aegyptiaca. PeerJ 8 (5423):e9268. PMID: 32551199