Bo Zhang, Ph.D.


2003 to 2010 Ph.D. The Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

1999 to 2003 B.A. Nanjing Agricultural University, China


  • 2019 to date, Assistant Professor at WKU
  • 2018 to 2019 Program Manager of Mount Vernon Pipeline to College Partnership Program with Lehman College, CUNY
  • 2011 to 2019 Research Assistant Professor, Postdoctoral Researcher and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Lehman College, CUNY
    Course:Bio166 Cells and Genes, Bio167 Organisms, Bio230 Microbiology, Bio238 Genetics, Bio331 Experimental Microbiology.
  • 2017 to 2019 Adjunct Assistant Professor at Mercy College, New York
    Course: BIOL160 General Biology, BIOL265 Microbiology, BIO360 Genetics.
  • 2010 to 2011 Postdoctoral Researcher at Georgia Institute of Technology


  • 2010, Liyuehua Zhu Outstanding Doctoral Award (Chinese Academy of Sciences)
  • 2010, Yihai-Kerry Enterprises Award (The Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology)

Research interests

  • Rho-Pol II Signaling in Eukaryotes

Our previous results have identified a novel Rho-Pol II signaling pathway that is highly conserved in eukaryotes. Despite its well-established function in modulating cell cytoskeleton, Rho GTPases, including Rho, Cdc42, Rac, and ROP subfamilies, are also key signaling molecules in RNA polymerase II (Pol II) transcriptional control. In canonical pathways, the MAP kinase cascade amplifies and relays upstream signals to transcription factors, and then Pol II will be recruited to facilitate downstream transcriptional events. In our newly establish shortcut model, however, targeting directly at the C-terminal domain (CTD) phosphorylation status of Pol II would trigger rapid and large-scale changes in gene expression. Moreover, our results indicate that cell morphogenesis is predominantly regulated by CTD, affecting CTD phosphorylation status will consequently impact cell morphogenesis. As one of the key properties altered in cancer cells, if morphology abnormality can be reversed by transcriptional control via CTD phosphatases or protein degradation mechanisms, our model would be one of the key events modulated in the early steps in carcinogenesis. In order to devise novel therapeutic strategies based on Rho or transcriptional control signaling network, our primary focus now is to identify the incompletely characterized factors maintaining the balance between cell morphogenesis and transcriptional control.

  • Host-Microbe symbiosis

We are also interested in the interaction in host-microbe symbiosis, with a focus on the α-Proteobacteria RSI invasion switch, which is crucial in the invasion of Agrobacterium, Rhizobium, and Brucella.

Courses Taught

  • General Biology (Bio1000 and Bio1400)
  • Microbiology (Bio3315 and Bio3315L, Zhejiang Provincial First Rate Course of Year 2022,浙江省线下一流课程)
  • Cell Biology (Bio 4236)
  • Foundations of Environmental Science (Env 1100)
  • Molecular Biology of Cancer (STME5310)
  • Advanced Molecular & Cellular Tech (STME5170)

Selected Publication

  1. Zhang, B., Zhong, X., Sauane, M., Zhao, Y., & Zheng, Z. L. (2020). Modulation of the Pol II CTD Phosphorylation Code by Rac1 and Cdc42 Small GTPases in Cultured Human Cancer Cells and Its Implication for Developing a Synthetic-Lethal Cancer Therapy. Cells, 9(3), 621.
  2. Gharbaran, R., Zhang, B., Valerio, L., Onwumere, O., Wong, M., Mighty, J., & Redenti, S. (2019). Effects of vitamin D3 and its chemical analogs on the growth of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, in vitro. BMC research notes,12(1), 216.
  3. Zhang, B., Yang, G., Chen, Y., Zhao, Y., Gao, P., Liu, B., … & Zheng, Z. L. (2016). C-terminal domain (CTD) phosphatase links Rho GTPase signaling to Pol II CTD phosphorylation in Arabidopsis and yeast. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201605871.
  4. Zheng, Z. L., Zhang, B., & Leustek, T. (2014). Transceptors at the boundary of nutrient transporters and receptors: a new role for Arabidopsis SULTR1; 2 in sulfur sensing. Frontiers in plant science, 5.
  5. Zhang, B., Pasini, R., Dan, H., Joshi, N., Zhao, Y., Leustek, T., & Zheng, Z. L. (2014). Aberrant gene expression in the Arabidopsis SULTR1; 2 mutants suggests a possible regulatory role for this sulfate transporter in response to sulfur nutrient status. The Plant Journal, 77(2), 185-197.
  6. Zhang, B., Chen, H. W., Mu, R. L., Zhang, W. K., Zhao, M. Y., Wei, W., … & Ma, B. (2011). NIMA-related kinase NEK6 affects plant growth and stress response in Arabidopsis. The Plant Journal, 68(5), 830-843.
  7. Wuriyanghan, H*., Zhang, B*., Cao, W. H*., Ma, B., Lei, G., Liu, Y. F., … & Cao, Y. R. (2009). The ethylene receptor ETR2 delays floral transition and affects starch accumulation in rice. The Plant Cell, 21(5), 1473-1494. (*: co-first author)


  1. Bo Zhang, “Roles of a protein kinase gene in plant ethylene response and stress responses in Arabidopsis”  (2009 NAIST Global COE International Student Workshop and GCOE International Symposium, 2009, Japan.)
  1. Bo Zhang, “Arabidopsis NIMA-related Kinase Regulates Organ Size and Stress Tolerance and Interacts with Ethylene Signaling”  (Peking University, 2010, China)
  1. Bo Zhang, “Rho GTPase, a Smart Regulator Beyond Cytoskeleton”  (Wuhan University, 2017, China)
  1. Bo Zhang, “C-terminal domain (CTD) phosphatase links Rho GTPase signaling to Pol II CTD phosphorylation in Yeasts, Arabidopsis and Human” (Huazhong Agricultural University, 2017, China)