PROF. ZHAO, Zhongying (趙中應)


Postdoc (University of Washington)
Ph.D. (Simon Fraser University)


Professor Zhongying Zhao obtained his BSc and MSc at the Department of Biology from Anhui Normal University and Beijing Normal University in Anhui and Beijing China respectively. He earned his PhD from the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Simon Fraser University in BC, Canada. Prior to joining the University in 2010, he did his postdoc at the Department of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA for 5 years.

His research activities are mainly funded by Hong Kong Research Grant Council (RGC). As a PI, he has so far secured seven RGC grants to support his research, including five General Research Funds (GRFs), one NSFC/RGC Joint Research Scheme fund and one Early Career Scheme (ECS) project since 2011. He has established wide collaborations both locally, regionally and internationally, which helped him win RGC Collaborative Research Fund as the Principle coordinator (PC).


  • Mechanism of postzygotic hybrid incompatibilities between nematode species
  • Developmental dynamics of signaling pathways during nematode embryogenesis
  • Gene regulatory networks underlying cell fate determination during nematode embryogenesis



      1. Runsheng Li, Xiaoliang Ren, Qiutao Ding, Yu Bi, Dongying Xie, Zhongying Zhao* (2019) Direct full-length RNA sequencing reveals unexpected transcriptome complexity during C. elegans development. Genome Research. PMID: 32024662.
      2. Bi Y, Ren X, Li R, Ding Q, Xie D, Zhao Z* (2019) Specific Interactions Between Autosome and X Cause Hybrid Male Sterility in Caenorhabditis Species. Genetics. 2019 May 7. pii: genetics.302202.2019. doi: 10.1534/genetics.119.302202. PMID: 31064822
      3. Liang W, Yang Y, Fang Y, Zhao Z, Hu J (2019) Bayesian Detection of Abnormal Asynchrony of Division Between Sister Cells in Mutant Caenorhabditis elegans Embryos. J Comput Biol. 2019 May;26(5):495-505. doi: 10.1089/cmb.2018.0246. PMID:30964328.
      4. Sun J, Mu H, Ip JCH, Li R, Xu T, Accorsi A, Sánchez Alvarado A, Ross E, Lan Y, Sun Y, Castro-Vazquez A, Vega IA, Heras H, Ituarte S, Van Bocxlaer B, Hayes KA, Cowie RH, Zhao Z, Zhang Y, Qian PY, Qiu JW (2019) Signatures of Divergence, Invasiveness, and Terrestrialization Revealed by Four Apple Snail Genome. Mol Biol Evol. 2019 Jul 1;36(7):1507-1520. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msz084. PMID: 30980073
      5. Cao J, Wong MK, Zhao Z, Yan H (2019) 3DMMS: robust 3D Membrane Morphological Segmentation of C. elegans embryo. BMC Bioinformatics. 2019 Apr 8;20(1):176. doi: 10.1186/s12859-019-2720-x. PMID:30961566.


      1. Runsheng Li, Xiaoliang Ren, Yu Bi, Qiutao Ding, Vincy Wing Sze Ho, Zhongying Zhao* (2018) Species-specific sampling of partial D-loop as a novel Non-Coding Region (NCR) in the mitochondrial genome. DNA Research. 2018 Dec 1;25(6):577-586. doi: 10.1093/dnares/dsy026. PMID: 30085012
      2. Long Chen#, Vincy Wing Sze Ho#, Ming-Kin Wong#, Xiaotai Huang#, Lu-yan Chan, Hon Chun Kaoru Ng, Xiaoliang Ren, Hong Yan & Zhongying Zhao* (2018) Automated inference of signaling interactions at cellular resolution for every cell cycle of embryogenesis . Genetics. 2018 Mar 22. pii: genetics.300820.2018. doi: 10.1534/genetics. PMID:29567658. Highlight in Genetics. Data access
      3. Xiaoliang Ren#, Runsheng Li#, Xiaolin Wei#, Yu Bi, Vincy Wing Sze Ho, Qiutao Ding, Zhihong Zhang, Chia-Ling Hsieh, Amanda Young, Jianyang Zeng*, Xiao Liu*, Zhongying Zhao* (2018) Genomic bases of recombination suppression in the hybrid between hermaphroditic Caenorhabditis briggsae and gonochoristic C. nigoni. Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Feb 16;46(3):1295-1307. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkx1277. PMID: 29325078


      1. An X, Shao J, Zhang H, Ren X, Ho VWS, Li R, Wong MK, Zhao Z* (2017) Comparative proteome analysis between C . briggsae embryos and larvae reveals a role of chromatin modification proteins in embryonic cell division. Scientific Reports. 2017 Jun 27;7(1):4296. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-04533-8. PMID:28655887
      2. Huang XT, Zhu Y, Chan LHL, <b, Yan H* (2017) Inference of cellular level signaling networks using single-cell gene expression data in Caenorhabditis elegans reveals mechanisms of cell fate specification. Bioinformatics. 2017 May 15;33(10):1528-1535. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btw796. PMID: 28011782
      3. Guan D, Yan B, Thieme C, Hua J, Zhu H, Boheler KR, Zhao Z, Kragler F*, Xia Y*, Zhang S*. (2017) PlaMoM: a comprehensive database compiles plant mobile macromolecules. Nucleic Acids Res. 2017 Jan 4;45(D1):D1021-D1028. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkw988. PMID: 27924044


      1. Li R#, Ren X#, Bi Y, Ho VW, Hsieh CL, Young A, Zhang Z, Lin T, Zhao Y, Miao L, Sarkies P*, Zhao Z.* (2016) Specific Downregulation of Spermatogenesis Genes Targeted by 22G RNAs in Hybrid Sterile Males Associated with an X-Chromosome Introgression. Genome Res. PMID:27197225
      2. Wong MK, Guan D, Ng KH, Ho VW, An X, Li R, Ren X, Zhao Z. * (2016) Timing of Tissue-specific Cell Division Requires a Differential Onset of Zygotic Transcription during Metazoan Embryogenesis. J Biol Chem. 2016;Apr 7. pii:jbc.M115.705426. PMID: 27056332
      3. Ren-E Huang*, Runsheng Li, Zhongying Zhao* (2016) Discovery of a free-living nematode phylogenetically related to vertebrate parasites of the genus Strongyloides (Nematoda: Strongyloidoidea): morphological, anatomical and molecular characterisation. Invertebrate Systematics. 2016. In press. Paper access
      4. Chen Long, Zhongying Zhao, Hong Yan* (2016) A Probabilistic Relaxation Labeling (PRL) Based Method for C. elegans Cell Tracking in Microscopic Image Sequences. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing. 2016 February issue;Page(s):185 – 192. Paper access
      5. Huang XT, Zhu Y, Chan LL, Zhao Z, Yan H. (2016) An integrative C. elegans protein-protein interaction network with reliability assessment based on a probabilistic graphical model. Mol Biosyst. 2016 Jan;12(1):85-92. doi: 10.1039/c5mb00417a. PMID: 26555698


      1. Huang RE*, Ye W, Ren X, and Z Zhao* (2015) Morphological and Molecular Characterization of Phasmarhabditis huizhouensis sp. nov. (Nematoda: Rhabditidae), a New Rhabditid Nematode from South China. PLoS One. 2015 Dec 16;10(12):e0144386. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144386. PMID:26674768
      2. Jie Hu*, Zhongying Zhao, Hari Krishna Yalamanchili, Junwen Wang, Kenny Ye, Xiaodan Fan* (2015) Bayesian detection of embryonic gene expression onset in C. elegans. Annals of Applied Statistics. 2015, Vol. 9, No. 2, 950-968. Paper access
      3. WS Ho#, MKWong#, XM An#, DG Guan#, JF Shao, HC Ng, XL Ren, K He, J Liao, Y Ang, L Chen, X Huang, B Yan, Y Xia, LH Chan, KL Chow, H Yan and Z Zhao* (2015) Systems-level quantification of division timing reveals a common genetic architecture between asynchrony and fate asymmetry. Molecular Systems Biology. 2015;11(6):814. doi: 10.15252/msb.20145857. PMID:26063786 Data access PMID:26063786 Data access
      4. Runsheng Li, Chia-Ling Hsieh, Amanda Young, Zhihong Zhang, Xiaoliang Ren and Zhongying Zhao* (2015)
        Illumina Synthetic Long Read Sequencing Allows Recovery of Missing Sequences even in the “Finished” C. elegans Genome. Scientific Reports. 2015 ;5:10814. doi: 10.1038/srep10814. PMID: 26039588
      5. Yu Bi1#, Xiaoliang Ren1#, Cheung Yan, Jiaofang Shao, Dongying Xie and Zhongying Zhao* (2015) A Genome-Wide Hybrid Incompatibility Landscape between Caenorhabditis briggsae and C. nigoni. PLoS Genet. 2015 Feb 18;11(2):e1004993. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004993. eCollection 2015 Feb. PMID: 25692300


      1. Huang RE, Ren X, Qiu Y, Zhao Z* (2014) Description of Caenorhabditis sinica sp. n. (Nematoda: Rhabditidae), a nematode species used in comparative biology for C. elegans. PLoS One. 2014 Nov 6;9(11):e110957. PMID: 25375770
      2. Guan D, Shao J, Zhao Z , Wang P, Qin J, Deng Y, Boheler KR, Wang J, Yan B* (2014) PTHGRN: unraveling post-translational hierarchical gene regulatory networks using PPI, ChIP-seq and gene expression data. Nucleic Acids Res. 2014 Jul;42. PMID: 24875471
      3. He K, Zhou T, Shao J, Ren X, Zhao Z, Liu D* (2014) Dynamic regulation of genetic pathways and targets during aging in Caenorhabditis elegans. Aging (Albany NY). 2014 Mar;6(3):215-30. PMID: 24739375
      4. He K, Shao J, Zhao Z, Liu D* (2014) The comprehensive transcriptional analysis in Caenorhabditis elegans by integrating ChIP-seq and gene expression data. Genet Res (Cambridge). 2014 Jan;96:e005. PMID: 25023089
      5. Daogang Guan, Jiaofang Shao, Youping Deng, Zhongying Zhao, Yan Liang, Junwen Wang, Bin Yan* (2014) CMGRN: a web server for constructing multi-level gene regulatory networks using ChIP-seq and gene expression data. Bioinformatics. 2014 Jan 21. PMID: 24389658


      1. Hari Krishna Yalamanchili, Bin Yan, Zhongying Zhao, Francis YL Chin, Mulin Jun Li, Jing Qin and Junwen Wang* (2013) Gapped Alignment Algorithm for Gene Regulatory Network Inference from High Throughput Temporal Data. Bioinformatics. 2014 Feb 1;30(3):377-83. Epub 2013 Nov 27. PMID: 24285602
      2. Shao J, He K, Wang H, Ho WS, Ren X, An X, Wong MK, Yan B, Xie D, Stamatoyannopoulos J*, Zhao Z* (2013) Collaborative Regulation of Development but Independent Control of Metabolism by Two Epidermis Specific Transcription Factors in C. elegans. J Biol Chem. 2013 Nov 15;288(46):33411-26. PMID: 24097988
      3. Long Chen*, Leanne Lai Hang Chan, Zhongying Zhao and Hong Yan (2013) A novel cell nuclei segmentation method based on bi-directional prediction. BMC Bioinformatics. 2013 Nov 19;14:328. PMID: 24252066
      4. Huang X*, Chen L, Chim H, Chan LL, Zhao Z, Yan H (2013) Boolean genetic network model for the control of C. elegans early embryonic cell cycles. Biomed Eng Online. 2013;12 Suppl 1:S1. Epub 2013 Dec 9. PMID: 24564942


      1. Yan C, Bi Y, Yin D, Zhao Z* (2012) A method for rapid and simultaneous mapping of genetic Loci and introgression sizes in nematode species. PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e43770. PMID: 22952761
      2. Murray JI, Boyle TJ, Preston E, Vafeados D, Mericle B, Weisdepp P, Zhao Z, Bao Z, Boeck M, Waterston RH, Flibotte S, Murray JI, Blick D, Boyle TJ, Gupta B, Moerman DG, Waterston RH. (2012) Multidimensional regulation of gene expression in the Caenorhabditis briggsae embryo. Genome Res. 2012 Jul;22(7):1282-94. Epub 2012 Apr 16. PMID: 22508763


      1. Zhao Z*, Boyle TJ, Liu Z, Murray JI, Wood WB, Waterston RH. (2010) A negative regulatory loop between microRNA and Hox gene controls posterior identities in Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS Genet. 2010 Sep 2;6(9). pii: e1001089. PMID: 20824072
      2. Zhao Z*, Flibotte S, Murray JI, Blick D, Boyle TJ, Gupta B, Moerman DG, Waterston RH. (2010) New tools for investigating the comparative biology of Caenorhabditis briggsae and C. elegans. Genetics. 2010 Mar;184(3):853-63. Epub 2009 Dec 14. PMID: 20008572


      1. Murray JI, Bao Z, Boyle TJ, Boeck ME, Mericle BL, Nicholas TJ, Zhao Z, Sandel MJ, Waterston RH.(2008) Automated analysis of embryonic gene expression with cellular resolution in C. elegans. Nat Methods. 2008 Aug;5(8):703-9. Epub 2008 Jun 29. PMID: 18587405
      2. Bao Z#, Zhao Z#, Boyle TJ, Murray JI, Waterston RH.(2008) Control of cell cycle timing during C. elegans embryogenesis. Dev Biol. 2008 Jun 1;318(1):65-72. Epub 2008 Mar 13. PMID: 18430415
      3. Zhao Z*, Boyle TJ, Bao Z, Murray JI, Mericle B, Waterston RH. (2008) Comparative analysis of embryonic cell lineage between Caenorhabditis briggsae and Caenorhabditis elegans. Dev Biol. 2008 Feb 1;314(1):93-9. Epub 2007 Nov 22. PMID: 18164284


      1. Hunt-Newbury R, Viveiros R, Johnsen R, Mah A, Anastas D, Fang L, Halfnight E, Lee D, Lin J, Lorch A, McKay S, Okada HM, Pan J, Schulz AK, Tu D, Wong K, Zhao Z, Alexeyenko A, Burglin T, Sonnhammer E, Schnabel R, Jones SJ, Marra MA, Baillie DL, Moerman DG. (2007) High-throughput in vivo analysis of gene expression in Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS Biol. 2007 Sep;5(9):e237.PMID: 17850180
      2. Zhao Z*, Thomas JH, Chen N, Sheps JA, Baillie DL. (2007) Comparative genomics and adaptive selection of the ATP-binding-cassette gene family in Caenorhabditis species. Genetics. 2007 Mar;175(3):1407-18. Epub 2006 Dec 28. PMID: 17194779


      1. Zhao Z*, Fang L, Chen N, Johnsen RC, Stein L, Baillie DL. (2005) Distinct regulatory elements mediate similar expression patterns in the excretory cell of Caenorhabditis elegans. J Biol Chem. 2005 Nov 18;280(46):38787-94. Epub 2005 Sep 13. PMID: 16159881
      2. Chen N, Pai S, Zhao Z, Mah A, Newbury R, Johnsen RC, Altun Z, Moerman DG, Baillie DL, Stein LD. (2005) Identification of a nematode chemosensory gene family. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Jan 4;102(1):146-51. Epub 2004 Dec 23. PMID: 15618405


      1. Zhao Z, Sheps JA, Ling V, Fang LL, Baillie DL. (2004) Expression analysis of ABC transporters reveals differential functions of tandemly duplicated genes in Caenorhabditis elegans. J Mol Biol. 2004 Nov 19;344(2):409-17. PMID: 15522294
      2. Zhao Z*, Fang LL, Johnsen R, Baillie DL. (2004) ATP-binding cassette protein E is involved in gene transcription and translation in Caenorhabditis elegans. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Oct 8;323(1):104-11. PMID: 15351708
      3. Sheps JA, Ralph S, Zhao Z, Baillie DL, Ling V. (2004) The ABC transporter gene family of Caenorhabditis elegans has implications for the evolutionary dynamics of multidrug resistance in eukaryotes. Genome Biol. 2004;5(3):R15. Epub 2004 Feb 11.PMID: 15003118


      1. McKay SJ, Johnsen R, Khattra J, Asano J, Baillie DL, Chan S, Dube N, Fang L, Goszczynski B, Ha E, Halfnight E, Hollebakken R, Huang P, Hung K, Jensen V, Jones SJ, Kai H, Li D, Mah A, Marra M, McGhee J, Newbury R, Pouzyrev A, Riddle DL, Sonnhammer E, Tian H, Tu D, Tyson JR, Vatcher G, Warner A, Wong K, Zhao Z, Moerman DG. (2004) Gene expression profiling of cells, tissues, and developmental stages of the nematode C. elegans. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 2003;68:159-69. Review. PMID: 15338614

*Corresponding author, # Equal contributor


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