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Welcome to the Yuan Lab

Dr. Ze-Chun Yuan
Research Professor
Office/Lab: 1391 Sandford Street, Room 1017, London, Ontario
Phone: (519) 953-6641
Fax: (519) 457-3997


B.Sc. (Biology), Henan University, P. R. China 1992
M. Sc (Microbiology) McMaster University, Canada 2001
Ph.D. (Microbiology) McMaster University, Canada 2006
Postdoctoral (Microbiology), University of Washington at Seattle, 2005-2009

Major research interests: Plant Associated Bacteria, Bacterial Genetics; Environmental Genomics; Functional Genomics; Molecular Microbiology Ecology, Microbiome, Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology.

I obtained my M.Sc and Ph.D from Dr. Turlough M. Finan’s lab at McMaster University, Canada, where I started my research of plant associated bacteria. My graduate study focused on understanding how phosphate limitation affects biological nitrogen fixation and Rhizobium-alfalfa symbiosis (Yuan et al. Journal of Bacteriology, 2006; Yuan et al. Nucleic Acid Research. 2006; Yuan et al. Molecular Microbiology, 2005). I did my postdoctoral work with Dr. Eugene W. Nester at the University of Washington (Seattle), where I studied Agrobacterium tumefaciens and crown gall disease (plant tumor), which is a chronic and resurgent problem for many important plants in agriculture and horticulture.

Current and future researches in my lab focus on environmental genomics and microbial ecology towards sustainable agriculture and environment:  1) we are elucidating complex interactions and molecular mechanism of microorganisms, from single organisms to complex communities, within their environmental niches including plant root, insect, soil or water (molecular microbial ecology);   2) using high-throughput technologies including Illumina MiSeq and a variety of ‘omics’ approaches to explore the structure, dynamics and functioning of microorganisms (microbiome) pertinent to crop health;  3) bioprospecting of microorganisms for sustainable agriculture, bioremediation, carbon sequestration, biodegradation and bioproducts from renewable source (microbial genetics and engineering).
The recent achievements from my team (lab) include:  A) identified several bacterial species capable of disease suppression (antagonism), production of plant hormone, lignin degradation, bioremediation, carbon sequestration, phosphate solubilisation and biological nitrogen fixation (Microbial Cell Factories 2016;  BMC Microbiology 2016;  BMC Genomics 2014);  B) complete genome sequencing of Paenibacillus polymyxa CR1 (Frontier in Microbiology 2015;  Genome Announcements 2014) and Arthrobacter sp. LS16, a bioremediation bacterium (Genome Announcements 2015);  C) integrated environmental microbiology with engineering for enhanced bioremediation and bioengineering  (Advances in Microbiology 2016;  Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering. 2015);  D) microbial community analysis and applied microbiology (develop inoculants) to enhance crop health;  E) developed a microbe-plant co-cultivation system in hydroponics to study plant associated microbiome, plant-microbe or plant-environment interactions at various organization levels (individual, population and community).

Current lab members:

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (postdoc)
Elliot Nicholas Grady (thesis student)
Margaret Truc Ho (thesis student)
Ke Ding (undergraduate researcher)
Filip Zekic (undergraduate researcher)
Brian Weselowski (Lab manager and technician)

Recent Graduates:
Alexander W. Eastman, M. Sc Graduate,  Technology Officer at Cistech Ltd.
Naeem Nathoo. M. Sc Graduate, Account Manager - Massachusetts and Rhode Island
Ikrema Hassan, Ph.D. graduate, Professional consultant and freelancer, London, Ontario.

Selected recent publications: