Huanzhong Wang
Associate Professor
University of Connecticut
1390 Storrs Rd., Unit 4163
Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture
Agricultural Biotechnology Lab 
Storrs, Connecticut 06269

Telephone: (860) 486-4443
Lab Phone: (860) 486-6751
Fax: (860) 486-0682
Email: huanzhong.wang@uconn.edu 
 

Education

Ph. D. 2006, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, China
M. S. 1998, Hebei Agricultural University, Baoding, China
B. S. 1995, Hebei Agricultural University, Baoding, China

Research Interests

Plant vascular tissues play essential roles in plant growth and development, and have allowed plant species to successfully adapt to a variety of environments since they evolved 450 Mya. Furthermore, as the major component of vascular tissue, xylem forms the majority of plant biomass on the earth’s surface. The search for environmentally friendly bioenergy has made the biosynthesis of plant biomass one of the most important research topics in plant biology. The long term goal of research in the Wang Lab is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms in regulating plant vascular development and xylem differentiation.

Plant vascular tissues are composed of xylem, phloem and the intervening vascular stem cells (AKA procambium or cambium). Stem cells produce progeny cells, which either maintain their stem cell property or differentiate into xylem toward the center and phloem toward the periphery of plant stems. Compared to stem cells in the shoot apical meristem (SAM) and root apical meristem (RAM), we know little about the maintenance of vascular stem cells. We have identified several transcriptional regulators that function in vascular patterning and stem cell maintenance in Arabidopsis. Dissecting the molecular mechanisms of these regulators will provide new insights in plant stem cell maintenance.

Xylem tissues develop secondarily thickened cell walls and form the majority of terrestrial cellulosic biomass. Our research focus on how cells with secondary cell walls (SCWs) differentiate; how syntheses of the three cell wall components, e.g. cellulose, lignin and hemicelluloses, are coordinately regulated; and how to apply our findings to improve feedstock properties for biofuel production. We use Arabidopsis and poplar trees as model plants to investigate transcription factors and their networks in regulating SCW deposition. We have elucidated the functions of microRNAs, class III HD-ZIP TFs, NAC and WRKY domain TFs in SCW development. Genetics, biochemistry, genomics and molecular biology approaches are used in the lab to decipher regulatory mechanisms of the biological pathways.

Courses

SPSS 4210: Plant Physiology (3 credits). Spring 2017-present

SPSS 4650: Plant Tissue Culture (3 credits). Fall 2015

SPSS 3210: Molecular Laboratory Techniques (3 credits). Fall 2012-present, odd years

SPSS 3230: Biotechnology: Science, Impact, Perception and Ethics (3 credits). Fall 2011-2017, Fall 2018-present, even years

Recent Honors & Special Activities

Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award, National Science Foundation. (2015)
Travel Award, Pan America Plants and BioEnergy Congress. (2014)  
Postdoctoral Researcher Poster Competition Award, GRC on plant cell wall. (2009)
President Award, Chinese Academy of Science. (2006)
Outstanding Graduates, Chinese Academy of Science. (2005 - 2006)
Excellent Graduate Student Award Chinese Academy of Sciences. (2003 - 2004)  

Positions - Academic Positions

Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Associate Professor, Aug 2017-present

Institute for Systems Genomics (ISG). University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Member, Jan 2016-present

Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Assistant Professor, Aug 2011-Aug2017

The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Ardmore, OK. Postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Richard Dixon, 2008-2011

University of California at Berkeley/PGEC-USDA, Albany, CA. Postdoctoral scholar with Dr. Sheila McCormick, 2006-2008

Recent Publications

For a full list of all publications click herehttps://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=CA5RiOUAAAAJ&view_op=list_works&sortby=pubdate

Huanzhong Wang # (2019), Regulation of vascular cambium activity, Plant Science, In production https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plantsci.2019.110322

Jung Hyun Yang, Kwang-Hee Lee, Qian Du, Shuo Yang, Bingjian Yuan, Liying Qi and Huanzhong Wang # (2019) A membrane associated NAC domain transcription factor XVP interacts with TDIF co-receptor and regulates vascular meristem activity. New Phytologist DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.16289

Kwang Hee Lee, Qian Du, Chunliu Zhuo, Liying Qi, Huanzhong Wang # (2019) LBD29-involved auxin signaling represses NAC master regulators and fiber wall biosynthesis. Plant Physiology. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1104/pp.19.00148

Kwang-Hee Lee, Utku Avci, Liying Qi and Huanzhong Wang # (2018). The Aurora kinases function in vascular development in Arabidopsis. Plant and Cell Physiology. 60(1): 188-201. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/pcp/pcy195

Hsuan Chou, Huanzhong Wang and Gerald Berkowitz (2016) Shoot apical meristem size measurement. Bio-protocol 6:(23)

Qian Du, Huanzhong Wang # (2016) Retarded Embryo Development 1 (RED1) regulates embryo development, seed maturation and plant growth in Arabidopsis. Journal of Genetics and Genomics In press DOI: 10.1016/j.jgg.2016.04.009

Jung Hyun Yang, Huanzhong Wang # (2016) Molecular mechanisms for vascular development and secondary cell wall formation. Frontiers in Plant Science 7:356, DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00356

Huanzhong Wang #, Jung Hyun Yang, Fang Chen, Ivone Torres-Jerez, Yuhong Tang, Mingyi Wang, Qian Du, Xiaofei Cheng, Jiangqi Wen, and Richard Dixon (2016). Transcriptome analysis of secondary cell wall development in Medicago truncatula. BMC Genomics 17:23, DOI 10.1186/s12864-015-2330-6

Qian Du and Huanzhong Wang # (2015). The role of HD-ZIP III transcription factors and miR165/166 in vascular development and secondary cell wall formation. Plant signaling and Behavior 10:10 DOI: 10.1080/15592324.2015.1078955

Qian Du, Utku Avci, Shengben Li, Lina Gallego-Giraldo, Sivakumar Pattathil, Liying Qi, Michael G. Hahn and Huanzhong Wang # (2015). Activation of miR165b represses AtHB15 expression and induces pith secondary wall development in Arabidopsis. Plant Journal, 83(3): 388–400.

Gallego-Giraldo, L., Shadle, G., Shen, H., Barros-Rios, J., Fresquet Corrales, S., Wang, H. and Dixon, R.A. (2015) Combining enhanced biomass density with reduced lignin level for improved forage quality. Plant Biotechnology Journal, doi: 10.1111/pbi.12439

Huanzhong Wang, Richard A. Dixon (2012). On-Off switches for secondary cell wall biosynthesis.  Molecular Plant, 5 (2): 297-303. 

Shen, H., He, X., Poovaiah, C. R., Wuddineh, W. A., Ma, J., Mann, D. G. J., Wang, H., Jackson, L., Tang, Y., Neal Stewart, C., Chen, F. and Dixon, R. A. (2012), Functional characterization of the switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) R2R3-MYB transcription factor PvMYB4 for improvement of lignocellulosic feedstocks. New Phytologist, 193: 121–136

Huanzhong Wang, Qiao ZhaoFang Chen and Richard A. Dixon (2011). NAC domain function and transcriptional control of a secondary cell wall master switch. Plant Journal, 68(6): 1104-1114.

Huanzhong Wang, Utku Avci, Jin Nakashima, Michael G. Hahn, Fang Chen, and Richard A. Dixon (2010). Mutation of WRKY transcription factors initiates pith secondary wall formation and increases stem biomass in dicotyledonous plants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 107: 22338-22343

Featured in Science, Editors’ Choice, titled “Boosting Biofuel” Science 2011, 331:11

Qiao Zhao, Huanzhong Wang, Yanbin Yin, Ying Xu, Fang Chen, and Richard A. Dixon (2010). Syringyl lignin biosynthesis is directly regulated by a secondary cell wall master switch. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 107: 14496-14501.

Qiao Zhao, Lina Gallego-Giraldo, Huanzhong Wang, Yining Zeng, Shi-You Ding, Fang Chen and Richard A. Dixon (2010). A NAC transcription factor orchestrates multiple features of cell wall development in Medicago truncatula. Plant Journal 63: 100-114

Xia Cui, Chunmin Ge, Renxiao Wang, Huanzhong Wang, Weiqi Chen, Zhiming Fu, Xiangning Jiang, Jiayang Li and Yonghong Wang (2010). The BUD2 mutation affects plant architecture through altering cytokinin and auxin responses in Arabidopsis. Cell Research 20: 576-586

Huanzhong Wang, Leonor C. Boavida, Mily Ron and Sheila McCormick. (2008). Truncation of a Protein Disulfide Isomerase, PDIL2-1, Delays Embryo Sac Maturation and Disrupts Pollen Tube Guidance in Arabidopsis thalianaThe Plant Cell 20: 3300-3311

Ya Dai*Huanzhong Wang*, Li Baohua, Juan Huang, Xinfang Liu, Yihua Zhou, Zhonglin Mou, Jiayang Li (2006) Increased expression of MAP KINASE KINASE7 Causes Deficiency in Polar Auxin Transport and Leads to Plant Architectural Abnormality in Arabidopsis. The Plant Cell 18: 308-320

Huanzhong Wang, Yonghong Wang, Jiayang Li (2004). The metabolism and functional mechanism of plant hormones. In Agricultural biotechnology, Keqiang Mang, ed (Beijing, China, Chemical industry publishers ), pp 56-77

Patents

Transcription Factors for modification of lignin content in plants
Patent No. US 9,045,549 B2
Date of Patent: June 2, 2015
Inventors: Huanzhong Wang, Fang Chen and Richard Dixon

Invited Posters/Talks

Huanzhong Wang (2019) How does tree trunk get wider: the function of vascular stem cells and secondary cell walls, Invited Seminar at the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science, UConn Storrs, CT, Sep 12, 2019

Jung Hyun Yang, Kwang-Hee Lee, Qian Du, Shuo Yang, Liying Qi and Huanzhong Wang* (2019) A NAC domain transcription factor XVP regulates vascular stem cell function. San Jose, CA, Aug 3-7, 2019

Iorio, L., Mahoney, J., Brand, M., Wang, H. (2019). Transcription factor interactions and regulation of polyphenol biosynthesis in Aronia melanocarpa fruit. Presentation for the Plant and Animal Genome Conference, San Diego, CA, Jan 12-16, 2019

Mahoney, J., Iorio, L., Wegrzyn, J., Brand, M., Wang, H. (2019). Transcriptome analysis of Aronia melanocarpa fruit identifies genes involved in polyphenol biosynthesis. Presentation for the Plant and Animal Genome Conference, San Diego, CA, Jan 12-16, 2019

Huanzhong Wang (2018) "Biofuels, biomass and plant vascular stem cells" at the Woodstock Academy for Caroline Chute's class, Woodstock, CT, Dec 12, 2018

Qian Du, Kwang-Hee Lee, Liying Qi and Huanzhong Wang (2018) Annual Plant Biology Symposium at UMass, "The role of auxin in repressing secondary wall development in fibers of Arabidopsis" UMass Amherst, MA, Oct 13, 2018

Huanzhong Wang (2018) Regulation of Vascular Development in Arabidopsis, Invited Seminar at the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT, Sep 14, 2018

Huanzhong Wang, Kwang-Hee Lee, Qian Du, Liying Qi (2018) Plant Biology 2018 title "The role of auxin in repressing secondary wall development in fibers of Arabidopsis" Montreal, Quebec, July 14-18, 2018

Kwang-Hee Lee, Utku Avci, Liying Qi and Huanzhong Wang (2018). Title "The Aurora kinases function in vascular development in Arabidopsis." 2018 Northeast ASPB Section annual meeting, Amherst, MA, Apr 28 - 29, 2018

Huanzhong Wang (2017) "Biofuels, biomass and plant vascular stem cells" at the Woodstock Academy for Caroline Chute's class, Woodstock, CT, Dec 8, 2017

Huanzhong Wang (2016) at the Agricultural Genome Institute at Shenzhen, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (CAAS) titled "Bosting Biofuels by switching on-off secondary cell wall development" Shenzhen, China, Jul 21, 2016

Huanzhong Wang (2016) Invited Seminar for the Woodstock Academy "biofuels, biomass and plant vascular stem cells" Mar 18th, 2016

Huanzhong Wang (2016) Invited Seminar for the Plant Biology Discussion group at UConn "biofuels, biomass and plant vascular stem cells" April 19th, 2016

Huanzhong Wang (2015) Invited talk for the Plant biology graduate program seminars at University of Massachusetts at Amherst titled “Boosting biofuels by switching on-off secondary cell wall development.” Dec 3rd, 2015

Huanzhong Wang (2015) Invited talk for Plant Biology Symposium - University of Maryland, titled “Boosting biofuel by molecular regulation of Biomass formation” Maryland, US May 27-29, 2105

Huanzhong Wang, Qian Du and Liying Qi. (2014) Identification of new regulators of cell wall development in Arabidopsis.  Plants and BioEnergy 2014 Congress, Guelph, Canada June 4 -7, 2014

        Invited talk on Session B2. Genetic Improvement of Plant Biomass II titled “Identification of new regulators of cell wall development in Arabidopsis”.

Huanzhong Wang, Qian Du, and Jung Yang. (2013) Characterization of an Irregular Xylem Mutant in Medicago truncatula. ASPB Meeting, July 21-24, Providence, RI

Du, Q., Ali, R., Wang, H. (2012)  Characterization of an Irregular Xylem Mutant in Medicago truncatula", 10th Annual Symposium in Plant Biology October 6, 2012 at UMass.

Huanzhong Wang, Utku Avci, Jin Nakashima, Michael G. Hahn, Fang Chen, and Richard A. Dixon (2011). Mutation of WRKY transcription factors initiates pith secondary wall formation and increases stem biomass in dicotyledonous plants. ASPB Meeting, Aug  6-10, Minneapolis, MN

          Invited talk on ASPB Minismposium 9: Biofuel titled “ WRKY transcription factor and biomass density” Aug 8th, 2011

Huanzhong Wang, Fang Chen and Richard A. Dixon (2010). Identification of transcription factors involving in secondary wall thickening in Medicago truncatula. International Association for Plant Biotechnology Congress (IAPB), Jun 6-11, America’s Center, Saint Louis, MO.

Huanzhong Wang, Fang Chen and Richard Dixon (2009). Transcription regulation of secondary wall development in Medicago truncatula.Golden Research Conference on plant cell wall synthesis, Aug 2-7, Bryant University, Smithfield, RI. Postdoctoral Researcher Poster Competition Award

Other Scholarly Activities

Serve as Guest Editor for the Frontiers in Plant Science. Organized a Research Topic “Plant cell walls as extra cellular matrices (ECMs) and biosensors” in 2016

Regular reviewer for refereed academic and scholarly journal manuscript submissions, including the top journals in the field such as Plant Cell, Plant Journal, BMC Plant Biology, Journal of Plant Physiology, Plant Cell Report, Biotechnology for Biofuels, Planta, BMC Plant Biology, PLOS one, Frontiers in Plant Science etc.

Ad hoc reviewer for National Science Foundation, Plant Genome Research Program, China National Science Foundation, the Research Grant Council (RGC) of Hong Kong, and Louisiana Board of Regents.

Services

University Level:
Internal Competition Advisory Board (ICAB), Feb 2020-
Research Advisory Committee, Jul 2017-Aug2019
Institutional Biosafety Committee, Jan 2013-2016

College Level:
Dean's PTR Advisory Committee, Aug 2019-
Diversity and Inclusion Committee, 2018-
Faculty Panel for Competitive Hatch Funding, 2017- 
Excellence Award Committee, 2013-2016

Department Level:
Communication Committee, Aug 2019-
Undergraduate Courses and Curriculum Committee, Aug 2019-
Seminar Committee, 2017- 
Graduate Faculty Committee, Jan 2012-present

Undergraduate and high school students contributed to research:

Undergraduate Students:

Tianyi Zhang Sep 2019-Present
Gagganpreet Singh Jan 2017-Present
Liam A. Iorio Sep 2016-Dec 2019 (SURF awardee, summer 2018; poster presentation at PAG conference, Jan 2018
Maria V. Grishanina Feb 2016-Jun 2018
Tiara A. Cova Oct 2018-Dec 2018
Emreen Bharara Oct 2017-Dec 2017
Adrian Gutowski Aug 2017-Dec 2017
Kaylia J. Giammatteo Sep 2016-June 2017
Haley McMullen Dec 2015-May 2016
Kimberly McLaughlin Aug 2015-Dec 2016
Sean Lee Jan 2016-Aug 2016
Brandon D. Nguyen Feb 2016-Jun 2016
Manvitha Chintapatla Sep 2015-Dec 2016

High School Students:

Paul Isaac Jun-Aug 2019 (Admitted to UConn)
Laila Almotwaly May-Aug 2019 (Admitted to UConn)
Alexa DeAndreade May-Aug 2017 & Jun-Aug 2018 (Admitted to UConn)

Updated on February 14th, 2020