Ruan Lab

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Professor Yong-Ling Ruan focuses his research on identifying molecular and biochemical bottlenecks that limit nutrient allocation to, and utilization within, major organs for improving plant fitness, fertility and food and fibre production. He is a member of ARC College of Experts and Director of Australian-China Research Centre for Crop Improvement. He serves on editorial boards of five international scholarly journals including Molecular Plant, Journal of Plant Physiology and Frontiers in Plant Science.

The Ruan lab aims to:

(i) Elucidate mechanisms by which sugar metabolism & transport regulate plant development;

(ii) Identify regulatory genes that control carbon nutrient distribution from subcellular to whole plant levels;

(iii) Dissect molecular networks underpinning resource partitioning during evolution & domestication.

His ultimate goal is to exploit the knowledge gained from the above programs to develop novel solutions to improve crop productivity and stress tolerance through translational research.

With funding support from ARC and other national and international bodies, Prof Ruan has led his team to a sustained success with research findings and insights published in top journals in Plant Science such as Plant CellandMolecular Plant and in multidisciplines including Nature Genetics and PNAS. For more details please visit:

The Ruan group has:

(1) Identified genetic bottlenecks limiting nutrient input into meristematic organs and established a “Ready-Set- Grow” model that provides novel insights into the control of seed & fruit set;

(2) Discovered critical roles of invertase-mediated sugar metabolism & signalling in establishing male & female fertility & cell patterning or growth;

(3) Uncovered (a) the coordinated roles of plasmodesmata (PD) & sugars and K+ transporters in cell expansion and (b) a novel mechanism controlling PD function via callose turnover and sterol homeostasis;

(4) Elucidated evolution models of invertases and related proteins, in which CWINs were co-evolved with seed plants for phloem unloading and reproduction, whereas cytosolic invertases were ancient and steady for maintaining cytosolic sugar homeostasis and signalling.

(5) Demonstrated that elevation of endogenous invertase activity improves leaf longevity & seed yield & confers heat tolerance for fruit set; while enhancing sucrose synthase expression  enhanced seedling vigor and  cotton fibre yield.

The quality and impact of Prof Ruan's research has been internationally recognized as evidenced by, for example, having written multiple invited articles for world renowned Annual Review of Plant Biology and Trends in Plant Science, ranked first and second, respectively, among all 220+ Plant Biology journals. He has organized and/or chaired many international conferences/ symposia and given invited talks in top institutes worldwide including, for example, University of Cambridge, Cornell University, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Friedrich-Alexander University, Ludwig- Maximilian University of Munich, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Peking University and Tokyo University.

Prof Ruan has been awarded the prestigious Peter Goldacre Medal from Australian Society of Plant Scientists, Distinguished Young Scientist Award from National Science Foundation of China and Kuan-PiuVisiting Chair Professorship from Zhejiang University.

Please contact if you are interested in exploring research collaborations or joining his team as honours or PhD students or postdoctoral fellows.