Bing Yang and Ron Mittler
Bond Life Sciences Center principal investigators Bing Yang (left) and Ron Mittler (right) are pictured above. | photos by Erica Overfelt, Bond LSC.

By Lauren Hines | Bond LSC

Building onto previous knowledge is a pillar of the scientific process, and citations in research do just that.

This makes recognition of Bond Life Sciences Center principal investigators Ron Mittler and Bing Yang, as well as Mizzou biochemistry professor Shuqun Zhang in the Highly Cited Researchers list for 2020, an important acknowledgment.

“I’m glad to have this, and this is the second year [I have been on the list],” Yang said. “If you have your paper widely read by other researchers and actually cited, it’s relevant to the rest of the field, or to the community. We always talk about the impact of your research to the community and the impact of the research on science.”

Yang studies the resilience and susceptibility of disease in crops, specifically rice. The Bing Yang lab also strives to develop genome editing technology to discover and improve traits in rice, like disease resistance.

“It’s significant because we create some useful tools and develop technology, so then other people or the community can use it,” Yang said. “We also work on the bacteria and disease, which can help the small farmer, help the grower of the rice to fight the disease and make the rice more productive.”

On the other hand, Mittler’s research focuses more on how reactive oxygen species (ROS) helps regulate systemic signaling in plants. ROS are reactive molecules that perform chemical reactions easily. While these molecules destroy cells with these reactions, they can also send widespread messages and regulate many essential processes.

Understanding ROS – and building upon the knowledge of ROS – can help researchers genetically modify crops to withstand more environmental stresses in the future.

With some luck and most of 2021 ahead, Mittler, Yang, Zhang and others will continue their pursuit of discovery and expand the shared knowledge base of science for the future.

To learn more, read some of Bing Yang and Ron Mittler’s most cited work. The Highly Cited Researchers List is compiled by Clarivate’s Web of Science.