Zhou Fang

Post-doctoral Associate

Now a Research Scientist at Bayer Crop Sciences

Contact Information:

Email: zfang2@ncsu.edu



Why I Became a Scientist:

I was born and grew up in one of the biggest cities in China. I never walked in corn fields or any crop fields in my childhood. Accidentally, I went to China Agricultural University for my undergraduate study, where I started to realize the importance of agriculture to our world. At CAU, I also had the opportunity to meet or take the classes taught by many renowned biologists, especially plant geneticists. In that environment, I gradually found myself passionate about plant genetics, in particular plant quantitative genetics and population genetics.

I have loved mathematics, history and geography since my childhood. Working on plant quantitative genetics and population genetics is the optimal way to combine all my interests. After graduating from CAU, I went to the University of Minnesota. There I got a Master degree in statistics and a PhD degree in plant genetics. During my PhD, I used statistical and computational methods to study the evolutionary history of maize and barley, as well as the geographic and genomic distributions of adaptive genetic polymorphisms. Better understanding of the geographic distribution and evolutionary history of crop species, including crop wild relatives, is crucial for crop improvement.

I was a postdoc at North Carolina State University. Under the guidance of Dr Holland, I was using mixed model and genomic prediction to better understand the sophisticated and dynamic relationships between traits and genetic polymorphisms in maize, which is important for plant breeding. The great part of being a plant geneticist is that I can help increase the productivity, profitability and sustainability of crop plants.


In this photo I am standing next to tropical maize, which you can see is much taller than I am!


Panzea was funded by the National Science Foundation, Plant Genome Research Project, award #1238014: “The Biology of Rare Alleles in Maize and Its Wild Relatives”; the research groups on this project were also supported by the USDA-ARS, their home institutions, and/or various other sources of funding.