Yue Jin is one of five working scientists in the world who other scientists seek out globally to study wheat rust samples collected from at-risk countries. His U.S. Department of Agriculture Cereal Disease Lab on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus is one of only three laboratories worldwide to determine the race of stem rust samples received from these international surveillance efforts.
Yue Jin received his bachelor's of science (1982) from the Inner Mongolia Agricultural University. He earned master's degrees in plant pathology (1988) and applied statistics (1990) and his doctorate in plant pathology (1990) from North Dakota State University. From 1990 to 1995 he worked as a post-doctoral fellow at NDSU and from 1995 to 2003 as an assistant and then associate professor at South Dakota State University. Since 2003 he has been a research plant pathologist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cereal Disease lab as well as an adjunct faculty member in the University of Minnesota’s plant pathology department.
Because wheat is one of the most important crops worldwide, diseases like stem rust are devastating. The new virulent African rust strains are the biggest threat to the wheat crop in more than 50 years. In 2003, one of these rusts, Ug99, began to gain the attention of many scientists around the world after it spread from its initial discovery in Uganda. Jin has been the lead scientist worldwide in addressing this threat. He helped establish germplasm screening nurseries in Njoro, Kenya, where the pathogen race was naturally present. His initial work revealed the extreme vulnerability of our current wheat cultivars worldwide and the urgent need to move forward in a concerted international effort.
Over the course of his career Jin has made remarkable contributions to plant pathology, genetics and crop improvement that are helping to enhance food security throughout the world. Even as he continues to make major breakthroughs in understanding how cereal rust can so rapidly mutate and overcome genetic resistance in wheat, he remains a tireless mentor sharing his expertise with agricultural scientists around the world.