During his Ph.D studies, Shuai Zhao took part in researching plant-microbe interaction, with supervisors Dr. Jia-Xun Feng in China and Ralf Koebnik in France. He identified 9 non-TAL effectors in Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae that causes a severe bacterial disease bacterial leaf blight (BLB) in rice, and analyzed their virulence function in host plant rice. These results will provide insight to understand molecular mechanism in plant-microbe interaction. In addition, Dr. Zhao explored variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) as a fast, reliable, and cost-effective molecular typing tool. This new VNTR-based tool is used for studies of population structures and epidemiological monitoring of Xoryzae. pv. oryzicola that could cause another important bacterial leaf streak (BLS).