ZHANG Zhiyong

Release time :2020-04-17

ZHANG Zhiyong, Ph.D.

Principle Investigator



Address: School of Life Sciences, 443 Huangshan Road, Hefei, Anhui Province 230027, China


Personal Profile:

Dr. Zhang received his bachelor degree and master degree in Shanxi Agricultural University and Xiamen University in 2005 and 2008, respectively. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Genetics from the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences (SIBS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 2013. Hcontinued to work as a Research Assistant at the same institute (Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, SIBS, CAS) for the three years from 2013.07 to 2016.07. Subsequently, He worked as a postdoctoral at Rutgers University’s Waksman Institute of Microbiology in New Jersey, USA from 2016.07 to 2020.01. Started from 2020.03, he joined the School of Life Sciences of University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) as a Principle Investigator with the support of “100-Young-Talent Program” from Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dr. Zhangs research investigates the crucial biological processes of maize kernel development, especially kernel filling development, by combining multiple approaches of genetics, molecular and cell biology, Omics technologies, data and bioinformaticsMaize endosperm is the storage organ of starch and zeins (the major seed storage proteins), which mainly determine seed yield and quality respectively. His previous research has systematically illuminated the regulatory network of gene expression of the zeins family, and identified the first important transcription factors, ZmNAC128 and ZmNAC130, which regulate the expression of genes in the pathway of starch synthesis in maize endosperm.


Research Interest:

Maize kernel development

1) Filling development of maize kernel and the synchronous regulation of starch and storage proteins;

2) Identification of novel genes and germplasms with breeding value;

3) Applied research of endosperm as bioreactor


The recent 5-years publications:

1. Deng Y, Wang J, Zhang Z, Wu Y*. Transactivation of Sus1 and Sus2 by Opaque2 is an essential supplement to sucrose synthase-mediated endosperm filling in maize. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 2020, doi: 10.1111/pbi.13349.

2. Zhang Z*, Deng Y, Zhang W, Wu Y, Messing J. Towards celiac-safe bread. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 2020, 18: 1056-1065.

3. Zhang Z, Dong J, Ji C, Wu Y, Messing J*. NAC-type transcription factors regulate accumulation of starch and protein in maize seeds. PNAS, 2019, 116: 11223-11228.

4. Zhou Y, Zhao Z, Zhang Z, Fu M, Wu Y, Wang W*. Isoform sequencing provides insight into natural genetic diversity in maize. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 2019, 17: 1473-1475.

5. Li Q, Wang J, Ye J, Zheng X, Xiang X, Li C, Fu M, Wang Q, Zhang Z, Wu Y*. The Maize Imprinted Gene Floury3 Encodes a PLATZ Protein Required for tRNA and 5S rRNA Transcription through Interaction with RNA Polymerase III. The Plant Cell, 2017, 29: 2661-2675.

6. Zhang Z, Zheng X, Yang J, Messing J*, and Wu Y*. Maize endosperm-specific transcription factors O2 and PBF network the regulation of protein and starch synthesis. PNAS, 2016, 113:10842-10847.

-Recommended by F1000Prime

7. Liu H, Shi J, Sun C, Gong H, Fan X, Qiu F, Huang X, Feng Q, Zheng X, Yuan N, Li C, Zhang Z, Deng Y, Wang J, Pan G, Han B, Lai J, Wu Y*. Gene duplication confers enhanced expression of 27-kDa γ-zein for endosperm modification in quality protein maize. PNAS, 2016, 113: 4964-4969.

8. Zhang Z, Yang J, Wu Y*. Transcriptional Regulation of Zein Gene Expression in Maize through the Additive and Synergistic Action of opaque2, Prolamine-Box Binding Factor, and O2 Heterodimerizing Proteins. The Plant Cell, 2015, 27: 1162-1172.


Research Opportunities:

We are seeking motivated undergraduates, postgraduate students, and post-doctoral fellows with background of plant molecular biology to build up the research team. Please contact Dr. Zhiyong Zhang for more details on any of the positions available.