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Contact details +6492136593
Career Overview. I obtained my PhD degree at the State Key Laboratories of Agricultural Microbiology (Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China), and did my first post-doc research in RWTH Aachen University (Germany). My research in Germany was funded by the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt (AvH) scholarship. Next, I took up a post-doc position at the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford (Oxford, UK). After spending five years in Europe, I accepted a job offer from the University of Auckland, and moved to New Zealand in 2003. Finally, I relocated to the Albany campus of Massey University in 2007, and currently work as an Associate Professor at the School of Natural and Computational Sciences (SNCS). Altogether, I have continuously pursued active research in Molecular Genetics & Microbiology for over 25 years at world-class universities.
Research. The fundamental research in my lab is largely performed in the model organism of Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25, a plant growth-promoting and diseases-suppression bacterium originally isolated from sugar beet. Specifically, modern tools in molecular biology are used to elucidate the genetic and physiological responses of bacteria to the environment, aiming to provide insights into the nature of the complex environment itself. The applied research focuses on the use of copper-containing antimicrobial compounds and high-efficient microbial inoculants in agriculture. Our research is currently funded by MBIE Catalyst | Strategic (2019 – 2022) and Zespri Innovation Ltd (2019 – 2021).
Teaching and Supervision. I have been involved in undergraduate teachings in the broad fields of molecular biology, genetics and microbiology; and the supervision (and co-supervision) of masters and PhD students.
My primary expertise is in Molecular Genetics & Microbiology. Current research in my lab focuses on:
The microbiological research performed in my lab range from molecular genetics to ecology and evolution. The molecular work has been focused on the genetic characterization of genes involved in nutrients acquisition, and this long-term research was supported by a Marsden Fund grant of the Royal Society of New Zealand (2006-2010). The experimental evolution work uses the fast-growing bacterium as a model system, whereby some important questions in biological evolution have been addressed. These include the evolutionary mechanisms of cooperation (and cheating), bet hedging, the roles of immigration in biological diversification, and the effects of genetic constraints on evolutionary trajectories. Moreover, we have been actively involved in ecological research on the dynamic changes of soil microbial community in response to climate changes.
We are currently developing novel microbiological techniques that can help manage the bacterial canker disease (Psa) in kiwifruit orchards in New Zealand (funded by Zespri) and mitigate nitrate pollution of water (funded by MBIE Catalyst | Strategic).
Resource Development and Management, Health and Well-being, Future Food Systems
Field of research codes
Biogeography and Phylogeography (060302): Biological Sciences (060000): Community Ecology (060202): Ecology (060200): Evolutionary Biology (060300): Evolutionary Impacts of Climate Change (060306): Genetics (060400): Microbial Genetics (060503): Microbiology (060500)
Molecular Genetics, Protein/DNA Interactions, Plant-Microbe Interactions, Microbiology, Experimental Evolution, Microbial Ecology
I am coordiating two papers 122.231 (Genes and Gene Expression) and 203.342 (Molecular and cellular Biology), and also invovled in the teaching of 162.214 (Biology of Microorganisms) and 246.302 (Research Themes in Natural Sciences)
Main Supervisor of:
Main Supervisor of: