Seiji Ouchi was born in Hiroshima City, Japan. He received his B.S. degree in horticultural sciences at Kagawa Agricultural College and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in plant pathology from Kyoto University. In 1963, he joined the Faculty of Agriculture at Kyoto University as an assistant professor of plant pathology. From 1970 to 1985, he was an associate professor of plant pathology in the Faculty of Agriculture at Okayama University. Since 1985, he has been professor and chair of the Faculty of Agriculture at Kinki University in Nara, where he also has served as director of the Institute of Comprehensive Agricultural Sciences since 1991 and as assistant dean of Student Affairs from 1991 to 1994.
Dr. Ouchi has developed a multifacted research program and is internationally known for his work in molecular and physiological plant pathology. He is recognized for his pioneering work on the development of the concept of induced susceptibility. He and coworkers described experiments in which Erysiphe graminis f. sp. hordei, which causes powdery mildew of barley, induced susceptibility in barley to either an incompatible race of the same pathogen or to Sphaerotheca fulignea, a pathogen of melon. Subsequently, Dr. Ouchi and coworkers described the induction of susceptibility in the Mycosphaerella pinodes-pea system and identified a low molecular weight fungal suppressor molecule that suppresses production of the pea phytoalexin, pisatin, and delays initiation of host defense reactions. This work has laid the foundation for work by others who have presented evidence that fungal suppressor molecules inhibit or delay the activity of other plant defense genes, reducing the ability of susceptible plant cells to respond defensively to infection.
One of Dr. Ouchi’s current research efforts focuses on development of methodology for introducing foreign genes into single cells of host and pathogen. His studies indicate that gene expression can be studied at the single-cell level, both in the host and fungal pathogen, and can lead to a clearer understanding of how individual cells of a host and pathogen communicate during the infection process. They also provide an alternative method of transforming plant cells.
Dr. Ouchi is author or coauthor of more than 150 journal articles, book chapters, and reviews, and he has edited several books. His coauthored book, Physiological Plant Pathology, is the most widely used graduate-level textbook of its kind in Japan. He has presented papers and chaired sessions at more than 25 international symposia and conferences. He is president of the Phytopathological Society of Japan. He was coorganizer of the U.S.-Japan Cooperative Science Seminar held in Hawaii in 1990. He was coorganizer of the 5th International Congress of Plant Pathology in Kyoto in 1988 and has served for more than a decade on the editorial boards of Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology and Annals of the Phytopathological Society of Japan.
Dr. Ouchi has trained 83 graduate students, some of whom hold full professorships and chairs of plant pathology departments in major universities in Japan. In addition, he has trained over 300 undergraduates, most of whom he remembers by name. Because of his ability to converse fluently in English, Dr. Ouchi is frequently called to serve as his university representative at home and abroad in matters relating to international education. Dr. Ouchi has received awards from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the Ministry of Education for sabbatical leaves in Italy and at the University of Missouri, respectively. He is a Fellow of the Phytopathological Society of Japan.