Yanhai Yin Named Chair of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology at Iowa State University

July 18th, 2018

A researcher specializing in plant growth and stress responses has been named chair of the Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology at Iowa State University.

Yanhai Yin, a professor of genetics, development and cell biology, succeeded Jo Anne Powell-Coffman, professor of genetics, development and cell biology July 1. Powell-Coffman will return to a faculty position in the department.

“I am honored to serve as the chair for the Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology,” Yin said. “I appreciate the great work the previous chair, Dr. Jo Anne Powell-Coffman has done and I am excited to have the opportunity to oversee the department in the coming years.”

The department is administered jointly by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The department teaches more than 30 courses and participates in three undergraduate programs: genetics; biology; and bioinformatics and computational biology; and seven graduate programs: genetics and genomics; molecular, cellular and developmental biology; plant biology; bioinformatics and computational biology; microbiology; neuroscience; and toxicology.

“We will continue to strive for teaching excellence and help train future members and leaders working in this field,” Yin said. “As chair, I will strive to further enhance our research excellence by promoting department-wide interactions, supporting our current members and making strategic new hires.”

Research in the department has important applications in agriculture and human health, including studying fundamental molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying plant and animal growth, development and stress responses. Yin’s research focuses on the molecular mechanisms and genome regulatory networks through which brassinosteroid, a plant steroid hormone, regulates plant growth and stress responses. His research aims to improve crop production under adverse climate conditions.

“With a group of talented, creative, open-minded, hard-working and resilient departmental members, as well as the strong support from our collaborating departments, centers, institutes, the colleges and the university, I believe that the future of our department is bright,” Yin said.

Yin received his doctorate in macromolecular and cellular structure and chemistry from the Scripps Research Institute in 1997, after postdoctoral training at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. He joined ISU as an assistant professor in 2004 and was promoted to full professor in 2015. He has received a National Science Foundation CAREER award from 2006-2012 and has been a Plant Sciences Institute Faculty Scholar since 2015.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has the third largest undergraduate student body among agricultural colleges in the nation. Iowa State’s agricultural programs ranked in the top 4 percent of 301 universities worldwide in the latest QS World University Rankings. Placement has been 97 percent or higher for 20 consecutive years, and is now a record 99.2 percent. Each year college-supported scientists successfully compete for top research grants and contracts, bringing in $400 million in sponsored funding over the past eight years.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University is a world-class learning and research community. As Iowa State’s most academically diverse college, LAS educates students to become global citizens, providing rigorous academic programs in the sciences, humanities and social sciences within a supportive personalized learning environment. For more information, visit LAS.iastate.edu.


Yanhai Yin, Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, 515-294-4816, yin@iastate.edu

Ed Adcock, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service, 515-294-2314, edadcock@iastate.edu

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