Centre of Excellence for Plant and Microbial Sciences opens its first laboratory with appointment of Dr Yang Bai

The first dedicated laboratory at the Centre of Excellence for Plant and Microbial Sciences (CEPAMS) opened for business in Beijing with the arrival of its first Group Leader, Dr Yang Bai.

This is a major milestone in the development of CEPAMS, established between the John Innes Centre and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Dr Bai, who joins CEPAMS from the world renowned Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany, has ambitious plans for his new laboratory and for its future impact.

The Bai laboratory, housed within the CAS Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, will study the microbes that are associated with healthy plant growth. Dr Bai believes that a better understanding of these microbes will be essential to the development of global sustainable agriculture. He sees a bright future in which the need for artificial fertiliser is dramatically reduced and global food security is strengthened.

On his arrival, Dr Bai said: “It is a great honour to be the very first CEPAMS Group Leader. I am looking forward to exploiting my unique position, as a joint CAS-JIC faculty member, to do some ground-breaking science and to further strengthen the UK-China scientific partnership. I want my new lab to meet the global challenge of food security.”

CEPAMS Director, Professor Ray Dixon FRS, said: “I am delighted to welcome Dr Bai to the CEPAMS Community. Dr Bai is just the kind of scientist that CEPAMS is looking for – he has an excellent track record, enthusiasm for working internationally and a strong vision for the future impact of his laboratory”.

CEPAMS Director, Professor XiaoFeng Cao, said: “I am delighted to welcome Yang Bai to the CEPAMS as the very first group leader. Dr Bai is an early career researcher with considerable potential. His work on plant microbiota has significant importance to improve agriculture and food security. The CEPAMS will provide him with an excellent developing environment and platform. I look forward to seeing him progress his research here at CEPAMS.”

It is envisaged that Dr Bai will be joined by a further nine Group Leaders in the coming months and years as CEPAMS expands to full capacity. The recruitment phase is open and ongoing.


The CAS-JIC Centre of Excellence for Plant and Microbial Science (CEPAMS) brings together three world-leading laboratories from the UK and China to tackle the global challenges of food security and sustainable health care.

CEPAMS nurtures excellent science and focuses on the improvement of food crops and the production of high-value, beneficial products from plants and microbes.

The centre is a collaboration between the John Innes Centre and two institutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology and the Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology).

CEPAMS was established with funding from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

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