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Zhang Peng
Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology

Research Focus

Cassava and sweetpotato are important root crops in the world. The objective of our team is to answer basic scientific questions related to the constraints of cassava and sweet potato production and to develop technologies for bridging the gap of scientific discoveries and applications, especially related to biofortification and bio-energy. SCCB has identified five research areas of strategic importance as the initial basis for our research programs of cassava and sweetpotato:

1.In vitro plant regeneration and genetic transformation;

2.Engineering of sucrose and starch metabolism;

3.Engineering biotic and abiotic stress tolerance;

4.Reduction of post-harvest deterioration of storage roots;

5.Field performance of transgenic plants for trait evaluation.




1998.05-2001.02, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH-Zürich), Ph.D. in Plant Biotechnology, under the supervision of Profs. Nikolaus Armhein and Ingo Potrykus;

1992.09-1995.07, South China Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, M.A. in Plant Genetics, under the supervision of Prof. Dinghou Ling;

1988.09-1992.08, Shandong Normal University, B.S. in Biology.

Academic Experience

2005.7-present, Professor of the Institute of Plant Physiology & Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences

2001.02-2006.12, Group leader (Oberassistant) of Cassava Biotechnology Group at Plant Biotechnology Laboratory (Prof. Wilhelm Gruissem), Institute of Plant Sciences, ETH-Zürich

1995.8-1998.8, Researcher of Shandong Institute of Pomology, Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Selected Honors

The Fellow of “Shanghai Pujiang Talent Program” in 2008

The Fellow “One-Hundred Talent Program” of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2005

The Jubilee Prize 2003 of the Eiselen Foundation Ulm, Germany, Ulm/Berlin, October 5, 2004


1.Methods of shoot regeneration from in vitro roots in sweet potato and its application. State Intellectual Property Office, Application No.: 200710044453.4

2.Methods of regulating starch composition in root plants. State Intellectual Property Office, Application No.: 200810042545.3


Selected Publications

1.    Vanderschuren H, Alder A, Gruissem W and Zhang P (2009) Dose-dependent RNAi-mediated geminivirus resistance in the tropical root crop cassava. Plant Molecular Biology 70:265–272.

2.    Vanderschuren H, Akbergenov R, Pooggin M, Hohn T, Gruissem W and Zhang P (2007) Transgenic cassava resistance to African cassava mosaic virus is enhanced by viral DNA-A bidirectional promoter-derived siRNAs. Plant Molecular Biology 64, 549-557.

3.    Vanderschuren H, Stupak M, Fütterer J, Gruissem W and Zhang P (2007) Engineering resistance to geminiviruses - Review and perspectives. Plant Biotechnology Journal 5, 207-220.

4.    Akbergenov R, Si-Ammour A, Blevins T, Amin I, Kutter C, Vanderschuren H, Zhang P, Gruissem W, Meins F Jr, Hohn T and Pooggin MM (2006) Molecular characterization of geminivirus-derived small RNAs in different plant species. Nucleic Acids Research 34(2) , 462-471.

5.    Stupak M, Vanderschuren H, Gruissem W and Zhang P (2006) Biotechnological approaches to cassava protein improvement. Trends in Food Science and Technology 17,634-641.

6.    Zhang P, Vanderschuren H, Fütterer J and Gruissem W (2005) Resistance to cassava mosaic disease in transgenic cassava expressing antisense RNAs targeting virus replication genes. Plant Biotechnology Journal 3, 385-397.

7.    Zhang P, Bohl-Zenger S, Puonti-Kaerlas J, Potrykus I and Gruissem W (2003) Two cassava promoters related to vascular expression and storage root formation. Planta 218, 192-203.

8.    Zhang P, Jaynes JM, Potrykus I, Gruissem W and Puonti-Kaerlas J (2003) Transfer and expression of an artificial storage protein (ASP1) gene in cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz). Transgenic Research 12, 243-250.

9.    Zhang P and Gruissem W (2003) Efficient replication of cloned African cassava mosaic virus in cassava leaf disks. Virus Research 92, 47-54.

10. Zhang P, Phansiri S and Puonti-Kaerlas J (2001) Improvement of cassava shoot organogenesis by the use of silver nitrate in vitro. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture 67, 47-54.

11. Zhang P, Potrykus I and Puonti-Kaerlas J (2000) Efficient production of transgenic cassava using negative and positive selection. Transgenic Research 9, 405-415.

12. Zhang P, Legris G, Coulin P and Puonti-Kaerlas J (2000) Production of stably transformed cassava plants via particle bombardment. Plant Cell Reports 19, 939-945.

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