Song has just commenced his PHD in the fall of 2020 - the title of Song's thesis work is "The role of Oryza Longistaminata as donor for traits for salinity or drought tolerance".

Song will focus on the root barrier to ROL and its role in limiting salt intrusion at the root level. There is not much research on this important topic Song has decided to explore the possibilities to rely on this trait also for salinity tolerance and not only flood tolerance.

Using Oryza longistaminata as a model plant, he has already shown that this species, which is widely under-studied, does not form an apoplastic barrier when grown in aerated nutrient solution. The next step is to move the plants into deoxygenated, stagnant nutrient solution (to mimic waterlogging) and thereby induce an apoplastic barrie.

Zhiwei Song started his PhD with me in November 2020. Song has a degree in crop science from the College of Agronomy, Northwest A&F University. He has been awarded a prestigious CSC PhD scholarship to work on the salinity tolerance of rice initially focusing on Oryza longistamina as model plant. 

Progress in Song's research is regularly reported on my blog.

Song is being co-supervised by Elisa Pellegrini.

Song has already established a culture of Oryza longistaminata. The cross-section shows that this species does not form an apoplastic barrier when grown in aerated nutrient solution - the tracer (purple colouration) penetrates the root surface and spreads into the cortex (A and B). In contrast when grown in stagnant, deoxygenated solution, a strong apoplastic barrier is formed; the tracer stops at the 1st or 2nd cell layer and does not penetrate further into the cortex (C and C)