Zheng Yuan


  • Tel: 0086-21-34206843
  • Email: zyuan@sjtu.edu.cn
  • Address: Room 519, Building 2, 800 Dongchuan Road Shanghai, 200240, P.R.China
  • Lab Web: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1254-0410
  • My current research focuses on uncovering the molecular mechanisms governing rice reproductive development and heterosis. The main aim is to pinpoint essential loci that boost yield and incorporate them into rice breeding.

Education and Research Experience

  • 2019-    Council member, Chinese Society for Plant Biology
  • 2016-    Professor; Project leader; Students’ adviser. School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, SJTU, Shanghai, P.R.China.
  • 2009-2015    Associate Professor; Project leader; Students’ adviser. School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), Shanghai, P.R.China.
  • 2007-2008    Lecturer; Project leader; Students’ adviser. SJTU.
  • 2006-2007    Visitor Scholar, Plant Science Division, Nottingham University. Nottingham, United Kingdom. Adviser: Zoe, A.Wilson. 
  • 2005-2006    Lecturer, School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, SJTU.

Research Interests

Molecular Design Breeding

This research aims to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying rice heterosis, develop whole-genome molecular markers, conduct genomic editing, enhance critical agronomic traits such as yield and fertility, and breed novel varieties.

Jasmonates' Role in Rice Reproductive Development

This study aims to investigate the spatio-temporal distribution of jasmonates and understand how their signaling transduction and termination orchestrate the trade-off between growth and defense.

Deciphering the Molecular Mechanism Regulating Stem Cell Activity in Rice Re...

This study aims to investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in the transition among distinct reproductive meristem cells, the maintenance and determinacy of meristem activity, and the specification and establishment of polarity in floral organs.

Selected Publications

  • •  

    Zhang XL, Cai Q, Li L, Wang L, Hu Y, Chen XF, Zhang DB, Persson S, Yuan Z*. OsMADS6-OsMADS32 and REP1 control palea cellular heterogeneity and morphogenesis in rice. Developmental Cell, 2024, 59(9): 1-17. (*corresponding author)


    Zong J#, Wang L#, Zhu L#, Bian LL, Zhang B, Chen XF, Huang GQ, Zhang XL, Fan JY, Cao LC, Coupland G, Liang WQ, Zhang DB, Yuan Z*. A rice single cell transcriptomic atlas defines the developmental trajectories of rice floret and inflorescence meristems. New Phytologist. 2022, 234(2): 494-512. (*corresponding author)


    Cao LC, Tian JQ, Liu YL, Chen XF, Li SQ, Persson S, Lu D, Chen MJ, Luo ZJ, Zhang DB, Yuan Z*. Ectopic expression of OsJAZ6, which interacts with OsJAZ1, alters JA signaling and spikelet development in rice. The Plant Journal. 2021, 108(4): 1083-1096. (*corresponding author)


    Li SQ#, Cao LC#, Chen XF, Liu YL, Persson S, Hu JP, Chen MJ, Chen ZB, Zhang DB, Yuan Z*. A synthetic biosensor for mapping dynamic responses and spatio-temporal distribution of jasmonate in rice. Plant Biotechnology Journal. 2021, 19(12): 2392-2394. (*corresponding author)


    Tian JQ, Cao LC, Chen XF, Chen MJ, Zhang P, Cao LM, Persson S, Zhang DB, Yuan Z*. The OsJAZ1 degron modulates jasmonate signaling sensitivity during rice development. Development. 2019, 146: dev173419. (*corresponding author)

  • •  

    Yuan Z, Zhang DB*. Roles of jasmonate signalling in plant inflorescence and flower development. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 2015, 27: 44-51.


    Hu Y, Liang WQ, Yin CS, Yang XL, Ping BZ, Li AX, Jia R, Chen MJ, Luo ZJ, Cai Q, Zhao XX, Zhang DB, Yuan Z*. Interactions of OsMADS1 with floral homeotic genes in rice flower development. Molecular Plant, 2015, 8(9): 1366-1384. (*corresponding author)


    Cai Q, Yuan Z (co-first author), Chen MJ, Yin CS, Luo ZJ, Zhao XX, Liang WQ, Hu JP, Zhang DB. Jasmonic acid regulates spikelet development in rice. Nature Communications. 2014, 25: 3476.


    Yuan Z, Gao S, Xue DW, Luo D, Li LT, Ding SY, Yao X, Wilson Z, Qian Q and Zhang DB. RETARDED PALEA1 (REP1) controls palea development and floral zygomorphy in rice. Plant Physiology, 2009, 149(1): 235–244.


    Zhang DB, Yuan Z. Molecular control of grass inflorescence development. Annual Review of Plant Biology. 2014, 65: 553-578.

Academic Rewards

  • 2018 "Candlelight Award", Second Prize, Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
  • 2017 Natural Science Award, First Prize (4/4), Ministry of Education.
  • 2017 "Tang Lixin Outstanding Scholar Award", Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
  • 2016 "SMC-Morning Star Outstanding Young Faculty (Class A)", Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
  • 2012 Scientific and Technological Progress Award, First Prize (9/12), Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality.

Teaching Experiences

  • 2011 - Cell & Developmental Biology (in English), 48 hours.
  • 2011 - Genetics (Zhiyuan College), 96 hours.
  • 2021 - Genetics (Class A), 32 hours.
  • 2021 - Molecular Biology (Class F), 32 hours.
  • 2021 - Plant Biology, 32 hours.
  • 2008-2010 Advances in Plant Science, 36 hours.