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The State Key Laboratory of Integrated Management of Pest Insects and Rodents, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1 Beichen West Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, P.R.China
Eco-genomics and Adaptation Group      

Dr. Le Kang, as an internationally recognized scientist in ecological genomics of insects, is a distinguished professor of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is also president of Beijing Institutes of Life Science, CAS, president of Hebei University, as well as the dean of Department of Life Sciences of University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He was elected vice chairman of the International union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) and chairman of China Union of Life Science Societies in 2019. He successfully resolves the ecological questions of insect adaptation to environmental variation with the model of the migratory locust, a worldwide notorious pest species, by integrating multiple approaches from molecular biology, physiology to genomics. He discovered the pheromone 4-vinylanisole (4VA) that causes locusts to swarm, in a breakthrough that could pave the way for methods to control locust outbreaks. He makes an outstanding accomplishment in disclosing the molecular regulatory mechanisms and epigenetic modulation of locust phase changes, which are very typically phenotypical plasticity in insects. He has authored more than 200 research papers in international peer-review journals, such as Nature, Science, Science Advances, Nature Communications, Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (USA), and Annual Review of Entomology etc.. His papers were cited over 6000 times and several flagship papers were recommended for reading by F1000. He is ranked the most cited scientists in agriculture and biology by Elsevier (Scopus 2014-2020). The University of Nebraska conferred him upon Honored Doctor Degree of Science in 2009. Dr. Kang was elected to be member of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2011, international member of National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 2021, member of the Developing World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) in 2012, member of the Academia Europaea (AE) in 2020 and academician of International Eurasian of Sciences (IEAS) in 2017. He received several important awards including the prestigious Life Science & Biotechnology Prize, Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation (Hongkong) in 2011, the International Distinguished Scientist Award of the Entomological Society of USA in 2013, Tan’s Achievement Award for Life Sciences and fellow of Entomological Society of America in 2015, the National Prize (Second class) of Natural Sciences in 2017,  Scientific Achievement Prize of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2017,and the Silverstein-Simeone Award from the International Society of Chemical Ecology in 2021. 

Research Interests:
1. Eco-genomics: Discover the mechanisms of insect adaptation to environmental factors using genomic, transcriptomic, and epigenetic approaches.
2. Phenotypic plasticity: Study the polyphenism, ecological immunity, reproductive biology, ageing, and behavioral plasticity in response to population density and environmental changes in order to develop model systems related to human disease and health.
3. Neuroscience and behavior: Elucidate the neural and behavioral mechanisms in response to pheromones and inform-chemicals from intraspecific or inter-specific individuals, even in tri-trophic level system.

Awards and Honors:

Professional Activities:

Research Grants:

Selected Publications:
  1. Guo, X.J. , Yu, Q.Q. , Chen, D.F. , Wei, J.N. , Yang, P.C., Yu, J., Wang*, X.H., Kang*, L. 2020. 4-Vinylanisole is an aggregation phenomone in locusts. Nature, 584:584-588.
  2. Wang, H.M. , Jiang, F. , Liu, X. , Liu, Q., Fu, Y.Y., Li, R., Hou, L., Zhang, J., He, J., Kang*, L. 2022. Piwi/piRNAs control food intake by promoting neuropeptide F expression in locusts. EMBO Reports, 5: e50851.
  3. Wang, Y.D., Tong, X.W., Yuan, S.L., Yang, P.C., Li, L., Zhao, Y., Kang*, L. 2022, Variation of TNF modulates cellular immunity of gregarious and solitary locusts against fungal pathogen Metarhizium anisopliae. PNAS, DOI:10.1073/pnas.2120835119.
  4. Du, B.Z., Ding, D., Ma, C., Guo*, W., Kang*, L. 2022. Locust density shapes energy metabolism and oxidative stress resulting in divergence of flight traits. PNAS. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2115753118.
  5. Wei, J.N., Shao, W.B., Cao, M.M., Ge, J., Yang, P.C., Chen, L., Wang, X.H., Kang*, L. 2019. Phenylacetonitrile in locusts facilitates an antipredator defense by acting as an olfactory aposematic signal and cyanide precursor. Science Advances, DOI 10.1126/sciadv.aav5495.
  6. Yang, M.L., Wang, Y.L., Liu, Q., Liu, Z.K., Jiang, F., Wang, H.M., Guo, X.J., Zhang*, J.Z., and Kang*, L. 2019. A β-carotene-binding protein carrying a red pigment regulates body-color transition between green and black in locusts. eLife, 7:e41362.
  7. Guo, X.J., Ma, Z.Y., Du, B.Z., Li, T., Li, W.D., Xu, L.L., He, J., and Kang*, L. 2018. Dop1 enhances conspecific olfactory attraction by inhibiting miR-9a maturation in locusts. Nature Communications, 9(1): 1193.
  8. Ding, D., Liu, G.J., Hou, L., Gui, W.Y., Chen*, B., and Kang*, L. 2018. Genetic variation in PTPN1 contributes to metabolic adaptation to high-altitude hypoxia in Tibetan migratory locusts. Nature Communications. 9(1):p.4991.
  9. Chen B., Zhang B., Xu L.L., Li Q., Jiang F., Yang P.C., Xu Y.N., Kang L., 2017. Transposable Element-Mediated Balancing Selection at Hsp90 Underlies Embryo Developmental Variation. Molecular Biology and Evolution. doi:10.1093/molbev/msx062
  10. He, J. , Chen, Q.Q. , Wei, Y.Y. , Jiang, F., Yang, M.L., Hao, S.G., Guo, X.J., Chen, D.F., Kang, L. 2016. MicroRNA-276 promotes egg hat ching synchrony by upregulating brm in locusts. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 113:584-589.
  11. Yang M.L. , Wang Y.L. , Jiang F., Song T.Q., Wang H.M., Liu Q, Zhang J., Zhang J.Z.., Kang L., 2016. miR-71 and miR-263 Jointly Regulate Target Genes Chitin synthase and Chitinase to Control Locust Molting. PLoS Genetics 12:e1006257.
  12. Wang,X.H., Kang,L. 2014.Molecular mechanisms of phase change in locusts. Annual Review of Entomology, 59:225-43.
  13. Wang, X.H. , Fang, X.D. , Yang, P.C. , Jiang, X.T. , Jiang, F. , Zhao, D.J., Li B., Cui, F., Wei, J.N., Ma, C., Wang, Y.D., He, J., Luo Y., Wang, Z.F., Guo, X.J., Guo W., Wang X., Zhang Y., Yang M.L., Hao S.G., Chen B., Ma Z.Y., Yu D., Xiong Z., Zhu Y., Fan D., Han L., Wang B., Chen Y., Wang J., Yang L., Zhao W., Feng Y., Chen G., Lian J., Li Q., Huang Z., Yao X., Lv N., Zhang G., Li Y., Wang J., Wang, J., Zhu B. Kang, L., 2014. Locust genome sequence provides insight into swarm formation and long-distance flight. Nature Communications, 10.1038/ncomms3957.
  14. Yang, M.L., Wei, Y.Y., Jiang, F., Wang, Y.L., Guo, X.J., He, J., Kang, L. 2014. MicroRNA-133 Inhibits Behavioral Aggregation by Controlling Dopamine Synthesis in Locusts. PLoS Genetics,10(2): e1004206. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004206
  15. Wang, Y.D., Yang, P.C., Cui, F., Kang, L. 2013. Altered Immunity in Crowded Locust Reduced Fungal (Metarhizium anisopliae) Pathogenesis. PLoS Pathogens, DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003102.
  16. Cease, AJ, Elser, JJ, Ford, CF, Hao, S., Kang, L, Harrison*, JF. 2012. Heavy livestock grazing promotes locust outbreaks by lowering plant nitrogen content. Science, 335, 467-469.
  17. Wu, R., Wu, Z.M., Wang, X.H., Yang, P.C., Yu, D., Zhao, C.X., Xu, G.W., and Kang, L. 2012. Metabolomic analysis reveals that carnitines are key regulatory metabolites in phase transition of the locusts. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (USA), 109, 3259-3263.
  18. Ma, ZY, Guo, XJ, Guo, W, Wang, XH, Kang, L. 2011. Modulation of behavioral phase changes of the migratory locust by the catecholamine metabolic pathway. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (USA), 108: 3882-3887.
  19. Guo, W, Wang, XH, Ma, Z.Y., Xue, L., Han, J.Y., Yu, D., and Kang, L. 2011. CSP and takeout genes modulate the switch between attraction and repulsion during behavioral phase change in the migratory locust. PLoS Genetics, 7(2): e1001291, 1-13.
  20. Wei, J.N., Wang, L.Z., Zhao, J.H., Li, C.Y., Ge, F. and Kang, L., 2011. Ecological trade-offs between jasmonic acid-dependent direct and indirect plant defences in tritrophic interactions. New phytologist, 189: 557–567.
  21. Zhang, Y., Wang, X.H., and Kang, L., 2011. A k-mer scheme to predict piRNAs and characterize locust piRNAs. Bioinformatics, 27(6)771–776.
  22. Kang, L., Chen, B., Wei, J.N. and Liu, T.X., 2009. Roles of Thermal Adaptation and Chemical Ecology in Liriomyza Distribution and Control. Annual Review of Entomology, 54:127-145.
  23. Wei, Y.Y., Chen, S., Yang P.C., Kang, L., 2009. Characterization and transcriptomes of small RNAs in two phases of locust. Genome Biology, 10:R6l (doi:10.1186/gb-2009-10-1-r6).
  24. Kang, L., Han, X.G., Zhang, Z.B. and Sun, O. J., 2007, Grassland ecosystems in China: Review of current knowledge and research advancement. Philos. Trans. Roy. Soc.,362:997-1008.
  25. Kang, L., Chen, X.Y., Zhou, Y., Zheng, W., Li R.Q., Wang, J. and Yu, J. 2004. The analysis of large-scale gene expression correlated to the phase changes of the migratory locust.Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 101: 17611-17615.

Research articles in peer-review journals (since 2000)