Sara Alford Graduate StudentCankui Zhang 

Assistant Professor of Agronomy

 Department: Agronomy
 Phone: 765.496.6889
 Office: Lilly 3-347
 Area of Expertise: Crop Physiology

Curriculum Vitae​​

The Zhang lab periodically recruits graduate student (M.S. and Ph.D.), postdocs, and visiting students/scholars. Visiting students/scholars are actively involved in our on-going projects and it is our hope that they can publish paper (s) in high profile journals from results derived from their visits. For example, Mr. Chao Xia, a visiting student from Sichuan Agricultural University, has published a first author paper in Plant Physiology. Four more papers with him as a first author are in preparation; Mr. Manrong Zha, a visiting student from Nanjing Agricultural University, has published a paper in Journal of Experimental Botany in which he was a second author. In addition, Manrong is preparing two papers with him as the first author.

If you are interested in joining the lab, please contact via email listed above.



Dr. Cankui Zhang is an Assistant Professor in Crop Molecular Physiology in the Department of Agronomy at Purdue University. He was trained as a basic plant molecular physiologist before joining Purdue. At Purdue he would like to use his knowledge in basic plant biology to improve the quality and productivity of crops. His research focuses on the yield improvement via the manipulation of carbon partitioning; whole plant signaling under either abiotic (mineral deficiency) or biotic (root-microbe interactions) stress; genetic engineering to increase Fe/Zn accumulation in tubers and seeds; and heat/drought stress. Crops involved in his research include maize, soybean, rice, wheat, and tomato.

Research interest 

Yield Improvement, Plant Mineral Physiology, Biofortification and Long Distance Signaling

Teaching (from 2015)

AGRY 518: Plant Physiology and Biotechnology Research Techniques.   

Selected Publications (in total 28 papers)

Xia, C., Zheng, Y., Huang, J., Zhou, X., Li, R., Zha, M., Wang, S., Huang, Z., Lan, H., Turgeon, R., Fei, Z. and Zhang C.  2018. Elucidation of the mechanisms of long-distance mRNA movement in a Nicotiana benthamiana/tomato heterograft system. Plant physiology, 177: 745-758.

Xia C. is a visiting student from Sichuan Agricultural University.

Chen, Q., Payyavula, R. S., Chen, L., Zhang, J., Zhang, C., & Turgeon, R. (2018). FLOWERING LOCUS T mRNA is synthesized in specialized companion cells in Arabidopsis and Maryland Mammoth tobacco leaf veins. PNAS, 115, 2830-2835 (Zhang, C. is co-corresponding author).

Zhang, C. & Turgeon, R. 2018. Mechanism of phloem loading. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 43: 71-75

Zhou X, Zha M, Huang J, Li L, Imran M, Zhang C. 2017. StMYB44 negatively regulates phosphate transport by suppressing expression of PHOSPHATE1 in potato. Journal of Experimental Botany. 68: 1265-1281.

Zha, M. is a visiting student from Nanjing Agricultural University.

Savage, J., Clearwater, M., Haines, D., Klein, T., Mencuccini, M., Turgeon, R., Zhang, C. 2016. Allocation, stress tolerance and carbon transport in plants: How does phloem physiology affect plant ecology? Plant, Cell & Environment 39: 709-725 (Savage is corresponding author).

Zhang, C., Han, L, Slewinski, T., Sun, J., Zhang J, Wang Z-Y and Turgeon, R. 2014. Symplastic phloem loading in poplar.  Plant Physiology 166: 306-313.

Zhang, C., Yu, X, Ayre, B and Turgeon, R. 2012. The origin and composition of cucurbit phloem exudate. Plant Physiology 158: 1873-1882.

Zhang, C. and Robert Turgeon. 2009. Downregulating the sucrose transporter VpSUT1 in Verbascum phoeniceum L. does not inhibit phloem loading. PNAS 106: 18849-18854.

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