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Key Laboratory of Economic Plants and Biotechnology
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Location: Home > Key Laboratory of Economic Plants and Biotechnology > LIU Aizhong's Group > Professor LIU Aizhong
Professor LIU Aizhong

 

LIU Aizhong, Professor, obtained his Ph.D. at the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2001, received postdoctoral training in Smithsonian Institute (Washington DC) and Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN) from October, 2001 to October, 2006, and worked as a senior scientist at University of Georgia (Athens, GA) from November 2006 to December 2008. Dr. Liu was financially supported by “100 talent program” from Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2009. Dr. Liu joined Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2012 as a Group Leader of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering Group. Main researches at Liu Lab focus on molecular basis of storage lipid accumulation in developing seeds (or oleaginous yeasts) and epigenetics & evolution of seed development. He has published more than 40 research papers on leading scientific journals.  

Email: liuaizhong@mail.kib.ac.cn  

 

Research Interests 

1. Dissecting and characterizing the structures and functions of critical lipid genes from oleaginous seeds. Focused on dicotyledonous oilseed plants such as castor bean (Ricinous communis), jatropha (Jatropha curcas), Sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis L.) and soybean, isolation and characterization of critical lipid genes (or regulatory factors) which regulated oil content or fatty acid compositions in developing seeds were highlighted using gene cloning, high-throughput sequencing, real-time PCR, Western blot, yeast one-hybrid, yeast two-hybrid, and transgenic gene over-expression or silence techniques. These researches are to dissect the molecular basis of oil content and fatty acid composition within oilseeds, and identify potential germplasm and gene resources serving genetic improvement and engineering of oilseed crops in practice. 

2. Uncovering the molecular mechanisms underlain the formation of critical yield traits (such as seed size and oil content) in castor bean. Castor bean, a dicotyledonous model oilseed stored rich lipids and proteins in endosperm, is a unique biodiesel crop. There is an immediate need for genetic enhancement and breeding to improve yield serve as its application and cultivation in marginal lands in agriculture. Investigating the molecular basis of yield traits (such as seed size and seed oil content) is an essential prerequisite to develop castor bean as a biodiesel crop. Based on phenotypic variation of seed size and seed oil content among germplasms, genetic analyses were performed to uncover the genetic mechanisms controlling seed size and seed oil content, using QTL mapping, high-throughput sequencing, genomic SNP association and epigenetic regulation (in particular, imprinted genes). These researches could not only uncover the molecular basis of yield traits seed size and seed oil content serving the genetic improvement and breeding in castor bean, but also provide data to profile the evolution of seed size and seed oil content during the domestication. 

3. Establishing and improving the genetic engineering of using biomass and oleaginous yeast fermentation to produce microbial oils as feedstock for biodiesel production. Using lignocellulosic biomass and agricultural residues as raw materials by oleaginous yeasts Lipomyces starkeyi and Mortierella isabellina fermentation to produce microbial oils as feedstock for biodiesel production is performed. Combining genic modification of yeast strains and optimization of yeast culture conditions, genetic engineering of microbial oils production would be established. These researches would provide feedstock for biodiesel production and facilitate biodiesel industrialization in industry. 

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