DR. NG, Danny Wang Kit (吳宏杰)

Assistant Professor

Ph.D. (Texas A & M)
M.Phil. (CUHK)
B.Sc. (Hons.) (HKBU)


  • Epigenetics and gene regulation
  • Plant defense against pathogens
  • Polyploidy and hybrid vigor


    Polyploidy is a common phenomenon in plants and has been widely used in agriculture as a breeding approach. It can be used to overcome the problems of hybrid sterility and inbreeding depression in diploid hybrids. Our research goal is to understand what happens when genome diverged or hybridized. Specifically, we are interested in how transcriptional reprogramming in hybrids is achieved. We hypothesize that homoeologous genome interactions in the hybrids create an extra capacity for potential improvement of regulatory signaling pathways, contributing to heterosis in hybrids. To this end, we focus on one important plant-specific transcription factor family, WRKYs, that is involved in plant defense and diverse aspects of plant development. Many of these transcription factors can form homo- or hetero- dimers or interact with other proteins. They also have a well-defined DNA binding domain (WRKY domain) that binds to the W-box of target promoters. Therefore, these properties make them an excellent group of genes for understanding transcriptional reprogramming in hybrids. To achieve our goal, we use an established Arabidopsis polyploid system with two closely related autotetraploid parents, Arabidopsis thaliana and Arabidopsis arenosa, and their interspecific tetraploid hybrid (allotetraploid) to which its genome composition is comparable to the naturally occurring Arabidopsis suecicia. This system offers a permanent fixation of heterozygosity in the hybrids, hence providing a valuable resource to study genome interaction in hybrids. Insights gained will have significant implications in molecular breeding in agriculture.


  • ECS/UGC 1/2014-12/2015
    Title: Mechanism of WRKY factors-mediated defense and heterosis in Arabidopsis polyploids (HK$617,353)
  • FRG/HKBU 7/2013-7/2015
    Title: Study the role of Arabidopsis thaliana miR163 and its targets in plant defense (HK$150,000)
  • GRF/UGC 1/2015-12/2017
    Title: Regulation and functional role of Arabidopsis miR163 and its targets in plant defense (HK$565,370)


  1. Ng, D.W., Miller, M.*, Yu, H.H.*, Huang, T.Y., Kim, E.D., Lu, J., Xie, Q., McClung, C.R., and Chen, Z.J. (2014b). A Role for CHH Methylation in the Parent-of-Origin Effect on Altered Circadian Rhythms and Biomass Heterosis in Arabidopsis Intraspecific Hybrids. The Plant cell 26, 2430-2440. [Pubmed]
  2. Ng, D.W., Shi, X., Nah, G., and Chen, Z.J. (2014a). High-throughput RNA-seq for allelic or locus-specific expression analysis in Arabidopsis-related species, hybrids, and allotetraploids. Methods Mol Biol 1112, 33-48.[Pubmed]
  3. Zhang, C., Ng, D.W., Lu, J., and Chen, Z.J. (2012). Roles of target site location and sequence complementarity in trans-acting siRNA formation in Arabidopsis. The Plant journal : for cell and molecular biology 69, 217-226. [Pubmed]
  4. Shi, X., Ng, D.W.*, Zhang, C., Comai, L., Ye, W., and Chen, Z.J. (2012). Cis- and trans-regulatory divergence between progenitor species determines gene-expression novelty in Arabidopsis allopolyploids. Nature communications 3, 950.[Pubmed]
  5. Ng, D.W., Zhang, C., Miller, M., Shen, Z., Briggs, S.P., and Chen, Z.J. (2012b). Proteomic divergence in Arabidopsis autopolyploids and allopolyploids and their progenitors. Heredity 108, 419-430.[Pubmed]
  6. Ng, D.W., Lu, J.*, and Chen, Z.J. (2012a). Big roles for small RNAs in polyploidy, hybrid vigor, and hybrid incompatibility. Current opinion in plant biology 15, 154-161.[Pubmed]
  7. Ng, D.W., Zhang, C., Miller, M., Palmer, G., Whiteley, M., Tholl, D., and Chen, Z.J. (2011). cis- and trans-Regulation of miR163 and target genes confers natural variation of secondary metabolites in two Arabidopsis species and their allopolyploids. The Plant cell 23, 1729-1740.[Pubmed]
  8. Ha, M., Ng, D.W., Li, W.H., and Chen, Z.J. (2011). Coordinated histone modifications are associated with gene expression variation within and between species. Genome research 21, 590-598.[Pubmed]
  9. Lau, O.S., Ng, D.W., Chan, W.W., Chang, S.P., and Sun, S.S. (2010). Production of the 42-kDa fragment of Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein 1, a leading malaria vaccine antigen, in Arabidopsis thaliana seeds. Plant biotechnology journal 8, 994-1004.[Pubmed]
  10. Lackey, E., Ng, D.W.*, and Chen, Z.J. (2010). RNAi-mediated down-regulation of DCL1 and AGO1 induces developmental changes in resynthesized Arabidopsis allotetraploids. The New phytologist 186, 207-215. [Pubmed]
  11. Ng, D.W., and Hall, T.C. (2008). PvALF and FUS3 activate expression from the phaseolin promoter by different mechanisms. Plant molecular biology 66, 233-244.[Pubmed]
  12. Ng, D.W., Wang, T., Chandrasekharan, M.B., Aramayo, R., Kertbundit, S., and Hall, T.C. (2007). Plant SET domain-containing proteins: structure, function and regulation. Biochimica et biophysica acta 1769, 316-329. [Pubmed]
  13. Ng, D.W., Chandrasekharan, M.B., and Hall, T.C. (2006). Ordered histone modifications are associated with transcriptional poising and activation of the phaseolin promoter. The Plant cell 18, 119-132.[Pubmed]
  14. Ng, D.W., Chandrasekharan, M.B., and Hall, T.C. (2004). The 5′ UTR negatively regulates quantitative and spatial expression from the ABI3 promoter. Plant molecular biology 54, 25-38.[Pubmed]
  15. * Equal contribution as the first author


    Research Assistant (Plant Molecular Biology)

    We are seeking a research assistant to conduct research in plant molecular biology and genetics, particularly focusing on plant stress biology. He/ She should be able to work independently. He/She is responsible for keeping good laboratory records, daily plant materials maintenance and presenting research findings. Applicants should possess a Bachelor’s degree or above in Biology, Molecular Biology or related disciplines. Good command of written and spoken English and Chinese is essential. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Initial appointment will be made on a fixed-term contract of one year and is expected to commence duty as soon as possible. Re-appointment thereafter is subject to mutual agreement and availability of funding. Interested candidates should send their CV and cover letter to Dr. Danny Ng via email dannyng@hkbu.edu.hk.


Email: dannyng@hkbu.edu.hk
Office: T1004
Office Tel: (+852) 3411 7747