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 Centre, 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 specialised 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 characterisation 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.