Thursday, April 5, 2018 – Reynolds Alumni Ctr.

2013 Distinguished Researcher Award: Shuqun Zhang

Shuqun Zhang

Shuqun Zhang, professor of biochemistry, has been with CAFNR for 15 years.

“We are nominating Dr. Zhang in recognition of his sustained contribution to understanding the role of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in plant signal transduction as related to stress, defense and development,” said Bruce McClure, professor of biochemistry. “All complex organisms respond dynamically to signals from their environment, from pathogens and from other cells in their bodies. Over the years, Zhang has brought to bear an elegant combination of biochemical, genetic and physiological approaches to understanding the roles of MAPK cascades and their upstream and downstream partners in a variety of important plant signaling systems. His elegant (actually, stunning) work showed that two major stress responsive kinases are active in tobacco. He also functionally identified the first upstream kinase, a MAPKK.”

“Dr. Zhang's excellence is evidenced by the more than 20 peer reviewed publications in the last five years,” commented Jeff Dangl, plant science investigator and John N. Couch Distinguished Professor at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. “More importantly, they reflect Dr. Zhang's broad interest in the many facets of MAPK signaling in different parts of plant biology. This broad interest is well reflected in his top 10 papers, which include very highly cited papers on MAPK signaling in stress, immune system function, and more recently, normal development such as floral abscission and influorescence architecture.”

“In my opinion, Dr. Zhang is an extraordinarily talented scientist who has consistently shown his highly impressive productivity and creativity,” said Jen Sheen, department of molecular biology at the Harvard Medical School. “Obviously, he is a devoted and passionate scientist with very impressive achievements. As Dr. Zhang has been an internationally recognized leader in the plant MAPK signaling field for the past decade, he truly deserves this timely and prestigious award to recognize his scientific contributions.”

I, and the members of my research group, have sought Dr. Zhang's advice and expertise. He is always willing to share ideas and research reagents. His sincerity and excitement to collaborate are true hallmarks of an outstanding scientist.

—John Walker, director and professor, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri