The ultimate goal of our research is to use the knowledge obtained from the model plant Arabidopsis to improve disease-resistance traits of crop plants and to mitigate crop loss caused by pathogens and pests. Towards this goal, we have been working with USDA scientists to identify defense regulatory genes in citrus and soybean and seek molecular solutions to improve disease resistance in these plants. Citrus and soybean are two crop plants essential for the US economy. Successful production of both crops can be severely affected by devastating diseases caused by pathogens and pests. For citrus, the citrus greening disease, also called Honglong Bin, is a destructive disease caused by the parasitic bacteria named Liberibacters that live in the phloem tissue of a citrus tree. Liberibacters are transmitted by the small insects psyllids and are endemic to a variety of citrus species and related plants. Unfortunately, Liberibacters do not respond to treatments of various bactericides and no in vitro culture of the bacteria has been successful so far. Therefore, it has been challenging to contain and eradicate the disease. For soybean, nematodes- and rust fungi-caused diseases account for the major loss in soybean each year.