Soyon Park receives Early Investigator Research Award from College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources 

Soyon Park is an assistant professor of plant science and technology.

Soyon Park, assistant professor of plant science and technology, has received the Early Investigator Research Award. 

A medium-skinned woman with medium-length black hair wears glasses and a grey blazer while standing in front of a green houseplant and smiling.

Trained in plant molecular biology, Park’s expertise lies in chlorophyll degradation, plant-agrobacteria interactions, and host-parasitic plant interactions. Her research, published in prestigious journals like Plant Cell and Molecular Cell, focuses on understanding host and parasitic plant interactions, particularly with parasitic plants like Cuscuta and Phelipanche, aiming to devise effective control strategies to enhance crop yield. 

Notably, her lab developed a groundbreaking Cuscuta transformation method, bypassing the time-consuming tissue culture process. This achievement led to a $2 million NSF proposal with Park as the principal investigator, and a successful $749,610 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. 

Collaborations and accolades underscore her growing prominence in the field of plant science. 

“Dr. Park is a productive and creative junior scientist,” said Michael Axtell, professor of biology at Pennsylvania State University. “Her work examining mobile mRNAs and genetic transformation of the parasitic plant Cuscuta campestris is highly innovative. The work also has enormous potential for plant biotechnology.” 

“In addition to the research, Soyon Park is also an excellent teacher in her class,” said nominator Gary Stacey, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of plant science and technology. “She has been instructing the ‘Plant Biotechnology’ class (PLNT_4550/7550) and has earned an impressive evaluation score of 4.63 out of 5.00 in two years’ evaluations. The feedback from students is noteworthy, appreciating her enthusiastic and humble teaching style.”