Dr. Meng Cai

Vascular Research Team

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Dr Meng Cai
Meng was awarded his PhD in 2007 from Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan, China. His PhD projects focused on transcriptional gene regulation mechanisms in rice, specifically how transcriptional factors and promoter cis-elements work together to control the mRNA transcription of a tissue-specific gene (D54O) and a pathogen-inducible gene (D53I). These studies resulted in the discovery of novel promoter cis-elements responsible for tissue-specific and pathogen-inducible transcription, and identified potential transcription factors which bind to these novel cis-elements. Meng’s PhD research findings have been published in two high impact plant research journals.

PhD projects:

 1. Identification of novel pathogen-responsive cis-elements and their binding proteins in promoter of OsWRKY13, a gene regulating rice disease resistance.

 2. A rice promoter containing both novel positive and negative cis-elements for regulating green-tissue-specific gene expression in transgenic plants.

3. Identification of Potential Protein Regulators Bound to the Tissue-Specific Positive and Negative cis-Acting Elements of a Green Tissue-Specific Promoter in Rice.

Meng came to England in 2008 to continue his post-doctoral research, joining Prof Ahmed’s group at the University of Birmingham and moving with him to Edinburgh University, before finally joining the Vascular Research team at Aston in 2012. He has extensive research experience in transcriptional gene regulation in plants, animals and humans, and his findings have been published in numerous high-impact journals. He has also been listed as the main applicant on two Chinese patents relating to his research work.

As the sole Molecular Biologist within the Vascular Aston team, Meng’s expertise is an integral part of the group’s overall research strategy. In addition to conducting his own novel research projects, he makes key contributions to the research of other team members. Meng’s primary research interest is the transcriptional gene regulation in human disease, specifically preeclampsia and IUGR (Intra Uterine Growth Restriction). He is currently focusing on the role of gene regulation in preeclampsia. We hope that Meng’s findings will provide therapeutic targets for the treatment of preeclampsia and facilitate the development of new drugs to treat the condition.

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