Wetenschap - 22 juni 1995

No Challenge too Big

No Challenge too Big

Besides the fact that the PhD research of Xu Han, from China, is an accomplishment in Plant Cytology and Morphology, one is also struck by the Chinese scholar's inclusion of summaries written in four languages.


On June 7th, Xu Han defended his thesis on Seed Development in Phaseolus vulgaris L., Populus nigra L., and Ranunculus sceleratus L. with Special Reference to the Microtubular Cytoskeleton. The Chinese researcher chose three very genetically distant species of angiosperms for the research because while cell bones have been well studied in somatic plant and animal cells but there are only few reports on cytoskeleton development in plant reproduction. His work is an overview of the cytoskeleton - or the bones of the cell during seed development. Besides being the first to provide an overview of the subject, the researcher and his team of supervisors discovered a new configuration of the cytoskeleton in angiosperms.

Born in Quingdao City in Shandong Province, Xu Han worked in the Chinese Academy of Forestry in Beijing before coming to Wageningen for his Sandwich PhD programme. The experimental breeding programme took Xu Han to the Ecole Nationale Superieure Agronmique in Toulouse (ENSAT), France. Because of his ability to finish his experiments very quickly, the Chinese researcher began work on somatic embryogenesis, protein analysis and genetic transformations.

Preliminary results have led ENSAT to invite him to do a second PhD project on somatic embryogenesis. Xu Han, leaving for France last Saturday, takes new challenges in his stride, as he looks forward to the new project and, as if it was just another little thing to do, adds, But first I have to learn the French language."

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