Yong Zhao

Yong Zhao

Assistant Professor

Current research

High-value plant specialized metabolites. Plant specialized metabolites (e.g. the antimalarial drug artemisinin and the anticancer drug paclitaxel) are promising sources of drug leads due to their enormous diversity and structural complexity unsurpassed by any synthetic libraries. I am particularly interested in the discovery of novel chemical structures and explore their potential bio-applications, which include but not limited to their pharmaceutical activities.

Bio-analytical technologies. The development of new bioanalytical technologies will enable accelerated and sustainable discovery of high-value compounds from renewable resources – such as traditional medicinal plants. I am also interested in developing and applying new state-of-the-art bioanalytical techniques, such as bioactivity profiling and molecular networking, for advanced chemical and pharmacological investigation of complex plant extracts.

Pathway elucidation and synthetic biology. Synthetic biology approaches allow scalable and sustainable bio-production of high-value plant specialized metabolites. A central part of my research is focus on the pathway elucidation and heterologous biosynthesis of complex natural products in tobacco and/or yeast cells.

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