Chen Shan-Ming, who was born in 1909 in Beijing, graduated in 1931 from Tsinghua University before becoming a teaching assistant at Tsinghua University, then at Beijing Normal University. Chen enrolled at the University of Minnesota in 1936 and received a master’s degree and a doctorate degree in plant pathology in 1940 and 1943, respectively. At the same time, he was a member of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. After graduation, Chen stayed at the University as a research fellow to conduct penicillin research.
In 1944, Chen returned to China where he worked as a researcher at the Central Experiment Institute and the Northern China Academy of Agriculture. In 1956, the Chinese Academy of Agriculture was established, and Chen worked there as a researcher and vice-director until 1987.
In 1987 a project on stripe rust of wheat, led by Chen, won the second prize of the 3rd National Natural Science Award. Chen has made great contributions to the development of research on wheat nematodiasis in China.