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Meixia Zhao

Assistant Professor 

  • Teaching Interests
    • MCB 4934/6937 - Computational Genomics and Epigenomics
    • BSC 4913/4914 - Independent Research in Bioinformatics
  • Education
    • Postdoctoral Training: Plant Genetics, Epigenetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics, Purdue University

    • Ph.D.: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (dissertation done at Purdue University)

    • Visiting Ph.D. Student: Plant Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics, Purdue University

    • BS: Biotechnology, College of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, HeFei University of Technology, China

  • Description of Research

    Our research laboratory uses a combination of computational and functional genomic, genetic and epigenetic approaches to study the mechanisms underlying genome evolution, transposon silencing, and epigenetic regulation of meiotic recombination and plant-microorganism interactions using maize and soybean as model systems. Ongoing research area includes:

    • Comparative genomics and epigenomics in plant genome evolution. We seek to understand the function of transposable elements in plant evolution, the differentiation and functional consequences of duplicated genes, and co-evolution of small RNAs and their targets, including the fates of microRNAs and protein encoding genes, and the evolutionary patterns of small interfering RNAs and RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) components.
    • Genetic and epigenetic regulation of meiotic recombination in maize. We are currently using classical genetics and computational genomics to dissect genetic and epigenetic regulation of meiotic recombination in maize. We have focused on how RdDM pathway mutants affect the rates of meiotic recombination, and how and why sexes differ in meiotic recombination using the parental lines of maize nested association mapping populations. We are also extending our maize epigenetic work to soybean to compare the conservation and differentiation of the RdDM pathway in these two important crops.
    • Genetic and epigenetic regulation of soybean immunity. We are interested in dissecting how epigenetic regulation including small RNA, DNA methylation and histone modification is involved in the interactions between soybean and microorganisms.
  • Publications

Meixa Zhao Profile Image

Contact Information


Rm. # 1006
Microbiology Building 981

The Zhao Lab