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UoA-SJTU Joint Laboratory for Plant Sciences and Breeding

The University of Adelaide and Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Lab for Plant Science and Breeding is headed by Prof Dabing Zhang  and was established on January 23rd 2015.

The UA-SJTU Joint Lab for Plant Science and Breeding has two locations:

  • Plant Genomics Center,
    School of Agriculture, Food and Wine,
    Waite Campus, The University of Adelaide. 
  • Life Science Building,
    School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology,
    Minhang Campus, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU).

In close collaboration with colleagues at the Waite Campus, Professor Dabing Zhang, is conducting exiting research activities into reproductive development and breeding innovation in rice (Oryza sativa) and barley (Hordeum vulgare).

Research Interests

  • Mechanism of the development of inflorescence and spikelet in cereals
    Rice and barley, the representative grass plants, develop specialized morphology of inflorescence and spikelet, which determines the ultimate yield production. We are using various approaches including forward and reverse genetics, biochemistry, cell biology etc to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying cereal inflorescence and spikelet development. Current research focuses on transcriptional factors such as MADS box genes and the regulatory network involved in the morphogenesis and development of inflorescence and spikelet in rice.
  • Molecular aspects of cereal male reproduction

    The life cycle of flowering plants alternates between diploid sporophyte and haploid gametophyte generations. Male gametophytes develop in the anther compartment of the stamen within the flower and require cooperative functional interactions between gametophytic and sporophytic tissues. During the male reproductive development, there are numerous biological events including cell division, differentiation and degeneration of somatic tissues consisting of four concentric cell layers surrounding and supporting reproductive cells as they form mature pollen grains through meiosis and mitosis. To understand the mechanism of cereal male reproduction, we are combining systematic biology (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabonomics) with other approaches such as genetics, cell biology, biochemistry, and structure biology to elucidate the molecular mechanism underlying each biological process of male reproduction in rice and barley.

  • Molecular characterization of transgenic organisms

    Since the first commercial genetically modified (GM) plant (the FlavrSavr tomato) was approved for marketing in 1994, recombinant DNA technology has been widely utilised in agriculture. To address the public concerns on the safety of GMOs, Zhang’s group uses systems biology approaches such as genomics, proteomics and metabolomics to establish new methods and standards to characterize transgenic organisms.

About Prof Dabing Zhang

Telephone 831 37168
  • Biography

    Current Position

    • Professor of plant science and breeding in University of Adelaide (Jan 2015-current)
    • Distinguished Professor of plant science in Shanghai Jiao Tong University (2008-current).

    Previous Research Experience

    • Professor, School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (2004-present).
    • Professor, Agri-Tech Center of Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences (December 2001 to July 2005).
    • Associate Professor, Agri-Tech Center of Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences (June 1999 to November 2001).
    • Assistant Professor, Agri-Tech Center of Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences (From April 1998 to May 1999).


    • September, 1988-June1991: Bachelor of biology at Jiangsu College of Education.
    • September, 1991-June 1994: Master of plant biology at Nanjing University.
    • August, 1994,-February 2998: Ph.D on plant molecular genetics at Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology (SIPPE), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

    Editors and Academic Committee Member/Memberships

    1) Prof Dabing Zhang are the Editors for jounrals such as: Scientific Reports (2015-present); Plant Cell Reports (2015-present); Journal of Experimental Botany (2014-present); Science Bulletin (associate editor, 2014-present); Biotechnology Advances (2013-present); Planta (2013-present); Journal of Plant Biology (2011-present); Journal of Genetics & Genomics (2009–present); Journal of Food Safety & Quality (2009–present); Journal of Plant Physiology (2007–present); Journal of Integrative Plant Biology (2006 –present).

    2) Prof Dabing Zhang has served on various national and international committees including the Scientific Advisory Board of the Cluster of Excellence on Plant Science (CEPLAS) of the Heinrich-Heine-University, the University of Cologne, the Max-Planck-Institute for Plant Breeding Research, the Jülich Research Center (2014-present); Scientific Committee of the State Key Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics, Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology (SIPPE), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) (2010-present); Advisory Committee of State Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, Huazhong Agriculture University, Wuhan (2010-present); National Committee for GMO Safety in China (2004-present); Panel on plant science of National Science Foundation in China (2009-2012); and Committee on GMO analysis, International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) (2012-present).

    Awards & Achievements

    • A Shanghai Rising-Star by Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality in 2001.
    • First Class of Progress of Science and Technology Prize in Shanghai in 2004.
    • Shanghai Shuguang Scholar by Educational Commission of Shanghai Municipality in 2005.
    • New Century Excellent Talent in Chinese Universities by Ministry of Education in 2005.
    • First Class of Progress of Science and Technology Prize in Ningxia in 2005.
    • The Excellent Prize of MingZhi RUYE Life Science by Shanghai Municipality in 2006.
    • The Distinguished Young Scholar from National Natural Science Funds in 2007.
    • Distinguished Professor in Shanghai Jiao Tong University (2008-present).
    • Yangtse River Scholar of Ministry of Education (2009-present).
    • First Class of Progress of Science and Technology Prize in Shanghai in 2012.
    • Mudan Prize for life science and agriculture of Shanghai Municipality 2012 (only one in Shanghai).
    • KoGuan Teaching Award Winner (ten winners among the teachers in Shanghai Jiao Tong University), 2013.
    • The Honorary Doctorate of Sciences from the University of Adelaide (2014).
    • Honory Professor by the University of Nottingham (2015).
    • Dabing Zhang has been listed as top citing authors for Asia by the American Society of Plant Biologists for the period 2009 –2013.
  • Selected Publications
    1 Li G, Liang WQ, Zhang XQ, Ren HY, Hu JP, Bennett MJ, and Zhang DB. Rice actin-binding protein RMD is a key link in the auxin–actin regulatory loop that controls cell growth. PNAS,2014:111,10377-10382.
    2 Wang WF, Li G, Zhao J, Chu HW, Lin WH, Zhang DB, Wang ZY, Liang WQ. DWARF TILLER1, a WUSCHEL-related homeobox transcription factor, is required for tiller growth in Rice. Plos Genetics, 2014:10,e1004154.
    3 Wang J, Yang LT, Zhao XX, Li J, and Zhang DB. Characterization and phylogenetic analysis of allergenic tryp_alpha_amyl protein family in plants. J. Agric. Food Chem. 62, 2014, 270–278.
    4 Fu ZZ, Yu J, Cheng XW, Zong X, Chen MJ, Li ZY, Zhang DB, Liang WQ. The rice basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor TDR INTERACTING PROTEIN2 is a central switch in early anther development. The Plant Cell, 2014: 26(4):1512-1524.
    5 Xu J, Ding ZW, Vizcay-Barrena G, Shi JX, LiangWQ, Yuan Z, Werck-Reichhart D,SchreiberL, Wilson ZA, Zhang DB. ABORTED MICROSPORES Acts as a Master Regulator of Pollen Wall Formation in Arabidopsis Thaliana. The Plant Cell, 2014:26(4):1544-1556.
    6 Cai Q, Yuan Z, Chen MJ, Yin CS, Luo ZJ, Zhao XX, Liang WQ, Hu JP & Zhang DB. Jasmonic Acid Regulates Spikelet Development in Rice. Nature Communications, 2014, 10.1038/ncomms4476.
    7 Zhang DB andYuan Z. Molecular Control of Grass Inflorescence Development. Annual Review of Plant Biology. 2014 Jan 27.DOI: 10.1146/annurev-arplant-050213-040104.
    8 Zhang DB and Yang L. Specification of tapetum and microsporocyte cells within the anther. Current Opinionin Plant Biology.2014, 17C:49-55. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2013.11.001.
    9 Yun DP, Liang WQ, Dreni L, Yin CS, Zhou Z, Kater MM, Zhang DB. OsMADS16 Genetically Interacts with OsMADS3and OsMADS58in Specifying Floral Patterning in Rice. Molecular Plant. 2013, 6:743-56.
    10 Chu HW, Liang WQ, Li J, Hong F, Wu YF, Wang LK, W J, Wu P, Liu CM, Zhang QF, Xu J and Zhang DB. A CLE–WOX signaling module regulates root meristem maintenance and vascular tissue development in rice. Journal of Expermental Botany.2013,64:13, 5359-5369.
    11 Moon S., KimS R, Zhao GC, Yi JK, Yoo YC, Jin P, Lee SW, Jung KH, Zhang DB, and An G. Rice GLYCOSYLTRANSFERASE1encodes aglycosyl transferase essential for pollen wall formation. Plant Physiology, 2013, 161. 1-13
    12 Niu NN, Liang WQ, Yang XJ, Jin WL, Wilson ZA, Hu JP, Zhang DB. EAT1 promotes tapetal cell death by regulating aspartic proteases during male reproductive development in rice. Nature Communications, 2013,doi:10.1038/ncomms2396.
    13 Zhang H, Xu, CX, He Y, Zong J, Yang XJ, Si HM, Sun ZX, Hu JP, Liang WQ, Zhang DB. Mutation in CSA creates a new photoperiod-sensitive genic male sterile line applicable for hybrid rice seed production. PNAS, 2013 110 (1) 76-81.
    14 Tan HX, Liang WQ, Hu JP Zhang DB. MICROSPORE AND TAPETUM REGULATOR 1 encodes a secretory fasciclin glycoprotein required for male reproductive development in rice. Developmental Cell. 2012, 22: 1127-1137.
    15 Wang CM, Marshall A, Zhang DB, Wilson ZA. ANAP: an integrated knowledge base for Arabidopsis protein interaction network analysis. Plant Physiology.2012, 158(4): 1523-1533.
    16 Li W, Cui X, Meng ZL, Huang X, Xie Q,Wu H, Jin HL, Zhang DB, Liang WQ. Transcriptional regulation of Arabidopsis MIR168a and ARGONAUTE1 homeostasis in ABA and abiotic stress responses. Plant Physiology, 2012, 158(3):  1279-1292.
    17 Cui X, Wang QD, Yin WZ, Xu HY, Wilson ZA, Wei CC, Pan SY,Zhang DB. PMRD: a curated database for genes and mutants involved in plant male reproduction. BMC Plant Biol. 2012, 12:215.
    18 Dreni L, Pilatone A, Yun DP, Erreni S, Pajoro A, Caporali E, Zhang DB, and Kater MM. Functional analysis of all AGAMOUS subfamily members in rice reveals their roles in reproductive organ identity determination and meristem determinacy. The Plant Cell, 2011, 23: 2850-2863.
    19 Zhang DB, Luo X, Zhu L. Cytological analysis and genetic control of rice anther development. J Genet Genomics. 2011, 38(9):379-90.
    20 Li HF, Liang WQ, Hu Y, Zhu L, Ying CS, Xu J, Dreni L, Kater MM, Zhang DB. Rice MADS6 interacts with the floral homeotic genes SUPERWOMAN1, MADS3, MADS58, MADS13, and DROOPING LEAF in specifying floral organ identities and meristem fate. The Plant Cell, 2011, 23: 2536-52.
    21 Chen WW, Yu XH, Zhang K, Shi JX, Schreiber L, Shanklin J, Zhang DB. Male Sterile 2encodes a plastid-localized fatty acyl ACP reductase required for pollen exine development in Arabidopsis thaliana, Plant Physiology, 2011,157, 842-853.
    22 Shi J, Tan HX, Yu XH, Liu YY, Liang WQ, Ranathunge K, Franke RB, Schreiber L, Wang YJ, Kai GY, Shanklin J, Ma H, Zhang DB. Defective Pollen Wall is required for anther and microspore development in rice and encodes a fatty acyl carrier protein reductase. The Plant Cell, 2011, 23: 2225-46.
    23 Li H, Yuan Z, Vizcay-Barrena G, Yang CY, Liang WQ, Zong J, Wilson Z, Zhang DB. PERSISTENT TAPETAL CELL 1(PTC1)encodes a PHD-finger proteinthat is required for tapetal cell death and pollen development in rice.Plant Physiology. 2011, 156: 615-630.
    24 Li HF, Liang WQ, Yin CS, Zhu L, and Zhang DB. Genetic interaction of OsMADS3, DROOPING LEAF and OsMADS13 in specifying rice floral organs identities and meristem determinacy. Plant Physiology. 2011,156:263-274.
    25 Wang CM and Zhang DB. A novel compression tool for efficient storage of genome resequencing data. Nucleic Acids Research, 10 (2011), 1093/nar/gkr009.
    26 Hu LF, Liang WQ, Yin CS, Cui X, Zong J, Wang X, Hu JP and Zhang DB. Rice MADS3 regulates ROS homeostasis during late anther development. The Plant Cell, 23(2)(2011), 515-533.
    27 Zhang Z, Zhang Y, Tan HX,Wang Y, Li G, Liang WQ, Yuan Z, Hu JP, Ren HY, and Zhang DB. RICE MORPHOLOGY DETERMINANT encodes the type II formin FH5 and regulates rice morphogenesis. The Plant Cell, 23(2) (2011), 681–700.
    28 Xu J, Yang CY, Yuan Z, Zhang DS, Gondwe MY, Ding ZW, Liang WQ, Zhang DB, and Wilson ZA. Regulatory network of ABORTED MICROSPORES (AMS) required for postmeiotic male reproductive development in Arabidopsis thaliana. The Plant Cell, 22(1) (2010), 91-107.
    29 Li H, Pinot F, Sauveplane V, Werck-Reichhart D, Diehl P, Schreiber L, Franke R, Zhang P, Chen L, Gao YW, Liang WQ and Zhang DB. CYP704B2 catalyzing the ω-hydroxylation of fatty acids is required for anther cutin biosynthesis and pollen exine formation in rice. The Plant Cell, 22(1) (2010), 173-190.
    30 Li H, and Zhang DB. Biosynthesis of anther cuticle and pollen exine in rice. Plant Signaling & Behavior, 5(9) (2010), 1121-1123.
    31 Li HF, Liang WQ, Jia RD, Yin CS, Zong J, Kong HZ, and Zhang DB. The AGL6-like gene OsMADS6 regulates floral organ and meristem identities in rice. Cell Research, 20(3) (2010), 299-313.
    32 Zhang H, Liang WQ, Yang XJ, Luo X, Jiang N, Ma H, and Zhang DB. Carbon Starved Anther (CSA) encoding a MYB domain protein regulates sugar partitioning required for rice pollen development. The Plant Cell, 22(3) (2010), 672-689.
    33 Zhang DS, Liang WQ, Yin C, Zong J, Gu F, and Zhang DB. OsC6, encoding a lipid transfer protein (LTP), is required for postmeiotic anther development in rice. Plant Physiology, 154(1) (2010), 149-162.
    34 Gao XC, Liang WQ, Yin CS, Ji SM, Wang HM, Su X, Guo CC, Kong HZ, Xue HW, Zhang DB. The SEPALLATA-like gene OsMADS34 is required for rice inflorescence and spikelet. Plant Physiology, 153(2) (2010), 728-740.
    35 Yuan Z, Gao S, Xue DW, Luo D, Li LT, Ding SY, Yao X, Wilson ZA, Qian Q, and Zhang DB. RETARDED PALEA1 (REP1) controls palea development and floral zygomorphy in rice. Plant Physiology, 149(1) (2009), 235-244.
    36 Zhang DB and Wilson ZA. Stamen specification and anther development in rice. Chinese Science Bulletin, 54(14) (2009), 2342-2353.
    37 Wilson ZA and Zhang DB. From Arabidopsis to rice, pathways in pollen development. Journal of Experimental Botany, 60(5) (2009), 1479-1492.
    38 Zhang DS, Liang WQ, Yuan Z, Lia N, Shi J, Wang J , Liu YM, Yu WJ, and Zhang DB. Tapetum Degeneration Retardation is critical for aliphatic metabolism and gene regulation during rice pollen development. Molecular Plant, 1(4) (2008), 599-610.
    39 Li N, Zhang DS, Liu HS, Yin CS, Li XX, Liang WQ, Yuan Z, Xu B, Chu HW, Wang J, Wen TQ, Huang H, Luo D, Ma H, and Zhang DB. The rice Tapetum Degeneration Retardation gene is required for tapetum degradation and anther development. The Plant Cell, 18(11) (2006), 2999-3014.
    40 Chu HW, Qian Q, Liang WQ, Yin CS, Tan HX, Yao X, Yuan Z, Yang J, Huang H, Luo D, Ma H, and Zhang DB. The FLORAL ORGAN NUMBER4 gene encoding a putative ortholog of Arabidopsis CLAVATA3 regulates apical meristem size in rice. Plant Physiology, 142(3) (2006), 1039-1052.
    41 Li XX, Duan XP, Jiang HX, Sun YJ, Tang YP, Yuan Z, Guo JK, Liang WQ, Chen L, Wang J, Ma H, Yin JY, and Zhang DB. Genome-wide analysis of basic/helix-loop-helix transcription factor family in rice and Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology, 141(4) (2006), 1167-1184.
    42 Jiang DH, Yin CS, Yu AP, Zhou XF, Liang WQ, Yuan Z, Xu Y, Yu QB, Wen TQ, and Zhang DB. Duplication and expression analysis of multicopy miRNA gene family members in Arabidopsis and rice. Cell Research, 16(5) (2006), 507-518.
    43 Li H, Xu L, Wang H, Yuan Z, Cao XF, Yang ZN, Zhang DB, Xu Y, and Huang H, The Putative RNA-dependent RNA polymerase RDR6 acts synergistically with ASYMMETRIC LEAVES1 and 2 to repress BREVIPEDICELLUS and MicroRNA165/166 in Arabidopsis leaf development, The Plant Cell, 17(8) (2005), 2157-2171.
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