PROF. ZHANG, Jianhua (張建華)

Chair Professor of Plant Biology
Associate Vice President (Global Research Collaboration)

Research profile:

B.Sc. in Agronomy (Jiangsu Agricultural College, China)
Ph.D. in Plant Physiology (University of Lancaster, England)


Professor Zhang Jianhua is currently the Associate Vice-President (Global Research Collaboration) and Chair Professor in Plant Biology at Hong Kong Baptist University. He served as Dean of Science at Hong Kong Baptist University in 2017-2020 and Director of State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2012-2017.

An internationally renowned scholar and an expert in the areas of plant stress physiology and water-saving cultivation of field crops, Professor Zhang was selected by prestigious scientific journal Nature as one of the “Five crop researchers who could change the world” in December 2008 for his research focusing primarily on water-saving irrigation in China.

Professor Zhang’s achievements have been widely recognized through several awards including the State Natural Science Award and the State Scientific and Technological Progress Award from the State Council of China. He has published extensively with citations over 22,000 times and h-index at 83. Currently he serves as Associate Editor and Monitoring Editor for a number of top plant science and agriculture journals such as Journal of Experimental Botany and Plant Physiology.

Professor Zhang obtained his BSc from Jiangsu Agricultural College in China and his PhD from Lancaster University in the UK. He was also awarded with Doctor of Science (honoris causa) by Lancaster University in 2014.


  • Plant physiology and molecular biology under environmental stresses
  • Crop production under water-limited condition


  • Associate Editor of Journal of Experimental Botany (2009- Present)
  • Monitoring Editor of Plant Physiology (2018-Present)
  • Associate Editor of Food and Energy Security (2011-Present)
  • Associate Editor of Cereal Research Communications (2009-Present)
  • Associate Editor of Plant Physiology Journal (2009-Present)
  • Associate Editor of The Crop Journal (2013-Present)
  • Editor of Annual Plant Reviews online (2018-Present)
  • Editor of Acta Agronomica Sinica (2006-Present)
  • Editor of Journal of Integrative Agriculture (2012-Present)
  • Editor of Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering (2014-Present)


Current research grants as Principal Investigator:

  1. 2015 Hong Kong Research Grant Council, General Research Fund “Cloning and Functional Study of A Rice Temperature Sensitive Female Sterility Gene.” HK$ 911,269 from 01-01-2016 to 31-12-2018. (RGC Ref 14122415).
  2. 2016 Hong Kong Research Grant Council, General Research Fund “Use transcriptome analysis to uncover the genetic distinction between superior and inferior rice spikelets of different grain filling efficiency”. HK$ 760,796 from 01-01-2017 to 31-12-2019. (RGC Ref 14160516).
  3. 2017 Hong Kong Research Grant Council, General Research Fund “Molecular mechanism of sensing moisture by rice coleorhiza during germination”. HK$ 1,220,589.  from 01-01-2018 to 31-12-2020. (RGC Ref 14177617).
  4. 2018 Hong Kong Research Grant Council, General Research Fund “Functional characterization of an ABA-responsive splicing factor SR184 and its five transcript isoforms”. HK$ 1,073,230.  from 01-01-2019 to 31-12-2021. (RGC Ref 12100318).
  5. 2019 Hong Kong Research Grant Council, General Research Fund “Breaking the barriers of grain-filling using novel mutant resources”. HK$ 1,346,641.  from 01-01-2020 to 31-12-2022. (RGC Ref 12103219).
  6. 2020 Hong Kong Research Grant Council, General Research Fund “Cloning and functional analysis of the main QTL gene qBGW1 that controls rice grain width”. HK$ 1,394,799.  from 01-01-2021 to 31-12-2023. (RGC Ref 12103220).

Current research grants as Co-Investigator:

  1. 2014-2021, Research Grants Council (RGC) Areas of Excellence Scheme (AoE) Grant “Center for organelle biogenesis and function”, Project Coordinator: Prof Jiang Liwen, HK$47,250,000 (AoE/M-05/12).
  2. 2017-2025, Research Grants Council (RGC) Areas of Excellence Scheme (AoE) Grant “Center for Genomic Studies on Plant-Environment Interaction for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security”, Project Coordinator: Prof Honming Lam, HK$81,156,000, (AoE/M-403/16).


Section A – Five most representative publications in recent five years

  1. Wang G, Zhang J*. 2020. Carbohydrate, hormone and enzyme regulations of rice grain filling under post-anthesis soil drying. Environmental and Experimental Botany
  2. Wang G, Li H, Gong Y, Yang J, Yi Y, Zhang J*, Ye N. 2020. Expression profile of the carbon reserve remobilization from the source to sink in rice in response to soil drying during grain filling. Food and Energy Security
  3. Zhang D, Chen M-X, Zhu F-Y, Zhang J*, Liu Y-G. 2020. Emerging Functions of Plant Serine/Arginine-rich (SR) Proteins: Lessons from Animals. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences DOI:10.1080/07352689.2020.1770942
  4. Song T, Yang F, Das D, Chen M, Hu Q, Tian Y, Chen C, Liu Y, Zhang J*. 2020. Transcriptomic analysis of photosynthesis related genes regulated by alternate wetting and drying (AWD) irrigation in flag leaves of rice. Food and Energy Security DOI: 10.1002/FES3.221
  5. Gao B, Chen M, Li X, Liang Y, Zhang D, Wood AJ, Oliver MJ*, Zhang J*. 2020. Ancestral large-scale gene duplication events in mosses characterized by integrated phylogenomic analyses. Journal of Systematics and Evolution DOI: 10.1111/jse.12683

Section B – Five representative publications beyond the recent five-year period with the latest publication entered first

  1. Yang J, Zhang J*. Grain filling of cereals under soil drying. New Phytologist 169, 223-236. (Invited Tansley Review).
  2. Zhang J*, Jia W, Yang J, Ismail AM. Role of ABA in integrating plant responses to drought and salt stresses. Field Crops Research 97, 111-119. (Invited Review).
  3. Kang S, Zhang J*. 2004. Controlled alternate partial rootzone irrigation: its physiological consequences and impact on water use efficiency. Journal of Experimental Botany 55, 2437-2446. (Invited Review).
  4. Yang J, Zhang J*. Grain-filling problem in ‘super’ rice. Journal of Experimental Botany 61, 1-5. (Invited Review)
  5. Zhang J*. 2011. China’s success in increasing per capita food production. Journal of Experimental Botany 62, 3707-11. (Invited Review)


Office: RRS824
Office Tel: (+852) 3411 2191