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Yuan, Ze-Chun, PhD


Contact Information:

1391 Sandford St
London, Ontario N5V 4T3
Telephone: 519-953-6641
Fax: 519-457-3997

Areas of Expertise:

  • Molecular plant-microbe interactions, applied and environmental microbiology
  • Microbial molecular genetics, gene regulation, signal transduction
  • Agrobacterium-caused crown gall diseases, virulence factors, pathogenesis
  • Phythobacteriology, transcript profiling, characterization of elicitors
  • Plant pathology and plant molecular biology, plant secondary metabolism
  • Phytopathogen responses to environment and plant host signals, functional genomics, signaling pathways, genetic networks, and system biology
  • Biochemistry and plant responses to phytopathogens, regulatory pathways
  • Screen plant-derived chemicals (extracts, exudates) for antimicrobial activity
  • Screening of micro-derived chemicals for antimicrobial activity
  • Plant growth promotion by microbes especially rhizobacteria (PGPR, endophytes, epiphytes, biocontrol agents and biofertilizers)

Current Projects:

  • Determine how plant pathogens recognizr and respond to extracellular environmental and plant host signals; what genes are involved and how signalling pathwas integrated and orchestrated at the systems-level (Agrobacterium virulence factors, athogenicity, functional genomics)
  • Systematically study the effects of plant- or microbe-derived chemical signals on Agrobacterium colonization, biofilm formation, pathogenicity, fitness, cell-to-cell communications (also called quorum sensing), and its association with plant hosts, and explore the underlying molecular mechanisms
  • Investigate how plant host recognize and respond to microorganisms and microbe-produced signals (plant molecular biology with focuses on plant regulatory/signaling pathways and responses to phytopathogens)
  • Metagenomics: functional analysis of rhizosphere microbial communities including endophytes (microbes live within plant host) and epiphytes (microbes live on plant surface) that participate in nutrient cycling, bioremediation, and promoting plant growth, health and productivity and tolerence to biotic and abiotic stresses (biocontrols, biofertilizers, plant growth promoting rhizosphere agents), produce cellulosic biofuel or novel compounds with anitmicorbial activity
  • Screening of natural products derived from plant and soil microbes for antimicrobial activity
  • Understand rhizosphere microbial (bacteria & fungi) ecology, structure, population, diversity, and functions (metagenomic approach)
  • Discover, develop, evaluate and implement microbial agents for biological control of plant pathogens, especially soil-borne plant diseases in agriculture and horticulture
  • Determine how microbial biocontrol agents survive and compete with native microbes in the rhizosphere
  • Develop novel protocols/solutions that stimulate the growth of beneficial microbes in the rhizosphere

Research publications






  • Yuan, Z.C., Williams, M. (2012). A really useful pathogen, Agrobacterium tumefaciens, 24(10),

Other science related publications

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