Professional Experience:

◆ 2019/02–now, Professor, Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety, Department of Biology, Southern University of Science and Technology

◆ 2017/10–2019/01, Young Research Fellow, CAS Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences; National Key Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics

◆2014/09–2019/01, Professor, Shanghai Center for Plant Stress Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China

◆ 2009/10–2014/08, Postdoc Research Fellow, Structural Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA

◆ 2008/07–2009/09, Research Assistant, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China

Educational Background:

◆ 2003/09–2008/07, PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China

◆ 1999/09–2003/07, BS in Biology, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Honors & Awards:

◆ 2018 The CAS Excellent Mentor Award

◆ 2017 The Excellent Young Scientist Fund of NSFC

◆ 2016 Project Leader of National Key R&D Project of MOST

Personal Profile


◆ Plant Gene Regulation

◆ Plant Epigenetics

◆ Biochemistry and Structural Biology

Publications Read More

(24) Zhang C#, Du X#, Tang K#, Yang Z, Pan L, Zhu P, Luo J, Jiang Y, Zhang H, Wan H, Wang X, Wu F, Tao WA, He XJ, Zhang H, Bressan RA, Du J*, Zhu JK*. Arabidopsis AGDP1 links H3K9me2 to DNA methylation in heterochromatin. Nat Commun. 2018b; 9: 4547. (* co-corresponding authors)

(23) Li X#, Harris CJ#, Zhong Z, Chen W, Liu R, Jia B, Wang Z, Li S, Jacobsen SE*, Du J*. Mechanistic insights into plant SUVH family H3K9 methyltransferases and their binding to context biased non-CG DNA methylation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018; 115: E8793-E8802. (* co-corresponding authors)

(22) Yang Z#, Qian S#, Scheid RN, Lu L, Chen X, Liu R, Du X, Lv X, Boersma MD, Scalf M, Smith LM, Denu JM, Du J*, Zhong X*. EBS is a bivalent histone reader that regulates floral phase transition in Arabidopsis. Nat Genet. 2018; 50: 1247-1253. (* co-corresponding authors)

Highlighted by Nat Genet. 2018; 50: 1206–1208

(21) Qian S#, Lv X#, Scheid RN#, Lu L, Yang Z, Chen W, Liu R, Boersma MD, Denu JM, Zhong X*, Du J*. Dual recognition of H3K4me3 and H3K27me3 by a plant histone reader SHL. Nat Commun. 2018; 9: 2425. (* co-corresponding authors)

(20) Yang Z, Qiu Q, Chen W, Jia B, Chen X, Hu H, He K, Deng X, Li S, Tao WA, Cao X*, Du J*. Structure of the Arabidopsis JMJ14-H3K4me3 Complex Provides Insight into the Substrate Specificity of KDM5 Subfamily Histone Demethylases. Plant Cell. 2018; 30: 167-177. (* co-corresponding authors)

Highlighted by Plant Cell. 2018; 30: 5–6

(19) Liu R#, Li X#, Chen W, Du J*. Structure and mechanism of plant histone mark readers. Sci China Life Sci. 2018; 61: 170-177. Review Article.

(18) Du J*. Structure and Mechanism of Plant DNA Methyltransferases. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016; 945: 173-92. Book Chapter.

(17) Li S, Yang Z, Du X, Liu R, Wilkinson AW, Gozani O, Jacobsen SE, Patel DJ, Du J*. Structural Basis for the Unique Multivalent Readout of Unmodified H3 Tail by Arabidopsis ORC1b BAH-PHD Cassette. Structure. 2016; 24: 486-94

(16) Du J#, Johnson LM#, Jacobsen SE, Patel DJ. DNA methylation pathways and their crosstalk with histone methylation. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2015; 1839: 519-32. (# co-first authors) Review Article

(15) Du J*, Patel DJ*. Structural biology-based insights into combinatorial readout and crosstalk among epigenetic marks. Biochim Biophys Acta (Gene Regulatory Mechanisms). 2014; 1839:719-27. (* co-corresponding authors) Review Article

(14) Du J#, Johnson LM#, Groth M, Feng S, Hale CJ, Li S, Vashisht AA, Gallego-Bartolome J, Wohlschlegel JA, Patel DJ, Jacobsen SE. Mechanism of DNA Methylation-Directed Histone Methylation by KRYPTONITE. Mol Cell. 2014; 55, 495–504. (# co-first authors)

(13) Zhong X#, Du J#, Hale CJ, Gallego-Bartolome J, Feng S, Vashisht AA, Chory J, Wohlschlegel JA, Patel DJ, Jacobsen SE. Molecular Mechanism of Action of Plant DRM De Novo DNA Methyltransferases. Cell. 2014; 157: 1050-60. (# co-first authors)

(12) Johnson LM#, Du J#, Hale CJ, Bischof S, Feng S, Chodavarapu RK, Zhong X, Marson G, Pellegrini M, Segal DJ, Patel DJ, Jacobsen SE. SRA- and SET-domain-containing proteins link RNA polymerase V occupancy to DNA methylation. Nature. 2014; 507: 124-8. (# co-first authors)

(11) Law JA#, Du J#, Hale CJ#, Feng S, Krajewski K, Palanca AM, Strahl BD, Patel DJ, Jacobsen SE. Polymerase-IV occupancy at RNA-directed DNA methylation sites requires SHH1. Nature. 2013; 498: 385-89. (# co-first authors)

(10) Du J#, Zhong X#, Bernatavichute YV, Stroud H, Feng S, Caro E, Vashisht AA, Terragni J, Chin HG, Tu A, Hetzel J, Wohlschlegel JA, Pradhan S, Patel DJ, Jacobsen SE. Dual binding of chromomethylase domains to H3K9me2-containing nucleosomes directs DNA methylation in plants. Cell. 2012; 151:167-80. (# co-first authors)

(9) Du J, Kelly AE, Funabiki H, Patel DJ. Structural basis for recognition of H3T3ph and Smac/DIABLO N-terminal peptides by human Survivin. Structure. 2012 ;20:185-95.

(8) Du J, Yang H, Zhang D, Wang J, Guo H, Peng B, Guo Y, Ding J. Structural basis for the blockage of IL-2 signaling by therapeutic antibody basiliximab. J Immunol. 2010; 184:1361-8.

(7) Du J#, Yang H#, Peng B, Ding J. Structural modeling and biochemical studies reveal insights into the molecular basis of the recognition of beta-2-microglobulin by antibody BBM.1. J Mol Recognit. 2009; 22:465-73. (# co-first authors)

(6) Du J, Yang H, Guo Y, Ding J. Structure of the Fab fragment of therapeutic antibody Ofatumumab provides insights into the recognition mechanism with CD20. Mol Immunol. 2009; 46:2419-23.

(5) Du J#, Hou S#, Zhong C#, Lai Z, Yang H, Dai J, Zhang D, Wang H, Guo Y, Ding J. Molecular basis of recognition of human osteopontin by 23C3, a potential therapeutic antibody for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. J Mol Biol. 2008; 382:835-842. (# co-first authors)

(4) Yu XL#, Hu T#, Du JM#, Ding JP#, Yang XM, Zhang J, Yang B, Shen X, Zhang Z, Zhong WD, Wen N, Jiang H, Zhu P, Chen ZN. Crystal structure of HAb18G/CD147: implications for immunoglobulin superfamily homophilic adhesion. J Biol Chem. 2008; 283:18056-65. (# co-first authors)

(3) Du J#, Wang H#, Zhong C, Peng B, Zhang M, Li B, Hou S, Guo Y, Ding J. Crystal structure of chimeric antibody C2H7 Fab in complex with a CD20 peptide. Mol Immunol. 2008; 45:2861-8. (# co-first authors)

(2) Du J, Wang H, Zhong C, Peng B, Zhang M, Li B, Hou S, Guo Y, Ding J. Structural basis for recognition of CD20 by therapeutic antibody Rituximab. J Biol Chem. 2007; 282:15073-80.

(1) Zhang P#, Du J#, Sun B, Dong X, Xu G, Zhou J, Huang Q, Liu Q, Hao Q, Ding J. Structure of human MRG15 chromo domain and its binding to Lys36-methylated histone H3. Nucleic Acids Res. 2006; 34:6621-8. (# co-first authors)

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Welcome to the Department of Biology! Since its establishment in 2012, the Department of Biology has attracted internationally renowned professors to join as leaders and dozens of young scientists to start their independent academic career here pursuit of excellence in research and teaching. The research interests of our faculty members include diverse topics such as systems biology, plant biology, neurobiology, structural biology and molecular cell biology. The primary goals of our faculty are to address the most significant fundamental biological questions and to develop new strategies to treat various complex diseases. Such efforts will benefit from the shared inter-disciplinary collaborative spirit deeply rooted in the minds of all the faculty members working in different departments at SUSTech.


Mentoring the next generation biologists with the highest standards is another primary task of the Department of Biology. Our professors choose internationally acclaimed textbooks to teach core courses biological sciences, biotechnology and bioinformatics. Undergraduates are encouraged to join the laboratory early to get firsthand working experience in basic and/or applied biological research, which helps them to consolidate the mastering of basic techniques, to broaden their knowledge horizons and to acquire the capabilities of problem identifying, hypothesis formulating and problem solving.


Life science, one of the fastest developing natural scientific disciplines, has been the driving force behind the growth of the world economy and provides the know for the development of new technologies serving to improve the human health and welfare at large. Wit generous financial support from the Shenzhen municipal government, we are confident that the Department of Biology in SUSTech will surely grow into a top tier globally-renowned research and teaching center!


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Biological Sciences


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