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.), postdoc, and visiting students/scholars. 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)

Crop Physiology  

Recent Publications

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. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS) 106: 18849-18854. 

Slewinski, T., Zhang, C and Robert Turgeon. 2013. Structural and functional heterogeneity in phloem loading and transport. Frontiers in Plant Science  4: 1-11. 

Slewinski, T., Anderson, A, Zhang, C and Robert Turgeon. 2012. Scarecrow regulates kranz anatomy in maize leaves. Plant Cell Physiology 53: 2030-2037.

Majeran, W, Friso, G, Ponnala, L, Connolly, B, Huang, M, Reidel, E, Zhang, C., Asakura, Y, Bhuiyan,N,  Sun, Q, Turgeon, R and van Wijk, K.  2010.  Structural and metabolic transitions of C4 leaf development and differentiation defined by microscopy and quantitative proteomics in maize. Plant Cell 22: 3509-3542. 

Si, Y, Zhang, C., Meng S, and Dane, F. 2009. Gene expression changes in response to drought stress in Citrullus colocynthis. Plant Cell Reports 28: 997-1009. 

P. Lang*, Zhang C.*, F. Dane, R. C. Ebel and W.A. Dozier.  2005. Cloning of cold acclimated genes in Citrus unshiu using mRNA differential display. Gene 10: 111-118. (* co-first author) 

Zhang, C., P. Lang, F. Dane, R.C. Ebel, N.K. Singh, R. Locy and W.A. Dozier. 2005. Cold acclimation induced genes of trifoliate orange. Plant Cell Reports 23: 764-769. 

Zhang, C., P. Lang, F. Dane, R.C. Ebel, N.K. Singh, R. Locy and W.A. Dozier. 2005. The effect of chilling temperatures on gene expression in Poncirus trifoliata. Canadian Journal of Plant Sciences 85: 417-424.​ ​​​​​​