College Introduction

The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) has been established at Shenzhen University to provide both undergraduate and postgraduate education, focusing on interdisciplinary teaching and research. As a special platform at Shenzhen University, IAS seeks to


Junchao Huang

Ph.D., Professor



2000, The University of Hong Kong, Plant Genetics, Ph.D.

1992, Zhongshan University, Plant Genetics, Master

1987, South China Normal University, Biology, Bachelor

Working Experience:

2020.07-now, Shenzhen University, Professor

2011.02-2011.06, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Professor

Academic Affiliations:

Yunna Society of Cell biology, Director

Yunna Society of Botany, Director


2013, Yunnan high-talent program, China

Research Interests:

1.Isolation and characterization of genes encoding enzymes for carotenoid and fatty acid biosynthesis

The group has cloned a number of genes involved in carotenoid and fatty acid biosynthesis from green microalgae, e.g., Haematococcus pluvialis (Huang et al., 2006a), Chlorella zofingiensis (Huang et al., 2006b; Huang et al., 2008; Liu et al, 2010; Huang et al., 2012; Liu et al., 2013).

2.The biosynthesis and regulation of astaxanthin in green microalgae

Three carotenoid ketolase (BKT) genes were found in H. pluvialis, which are associated with the high contents of astaxanthin in the alga (Huang et al., 2006a). Whereas C. zofingiensis contains only one BKT gene (Huang et al., 2006b). The regulation of astaxanthin biosynthesis in the algae were studied in detail (Li et al., 2008, 2009).

3.Metabolic engineering of higher plants for astaxanthin production

We have achieved significant progress on astaxanthin biosynthesis in higher plants. We isolated and characterized several algal β-carotene ketolases (BKT) and found that the BKT from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii could confer plant cells to efficiently synthesize astaxanthin (Zhong et al., 2011; Huang et al., 2012). Furthermore, we have generated a more nutritious tomato by modifying the intrinsic carotenes to astaxanthin by introducing the algal BKT gene into the genome of a B-type tomato (Huang et al., 2013). Massive accumulations of mostly free astaxanthin in leaves (3.12 mg/g) but esterified astaxanthin in fruits (16.1 mg/g) were found in the transgenic tomato, leading to a 16-fold increase of total carotenoid capacity in the fruits with above 80% of the carotenoids being astaxanthin. This achievement opened up the possibility of employing crop plants as green factories for economical production of astaxanthin.

4.Microalgae as feedstock for biodiesel

We have searched for rapid growth, high lipid yields of microalgae as feedstock for the production of environmentally friendly biofuels. C. zofingiensis was assessed to be a candidate for such purposes (Liu et al., 2010a, b; 2011; 2012).

Publicationsand Patents:

1. Li Y.Y. and Huang J.C.* (2020) Charaterization of an algal phosphomannose isomerase gene and its application as a selectable marker for genetic manipulation of tomato.

2. Gong Y. and Huang J.C.* (2020) Characterization of four untapped microalgae for the production of lipids and carotenoids. Algal Research 49:101897.

3. Ye Y. and Huang J.C.*(2019) Defining the biosynthesis of ketocarotenoids in Chromochloris zofingiensis. Plant Diversity 1:61-66.

4. Lujun Yu, Qinfang Chen, Yujun Peng, Lijuan Xie, Di Liu, Muqian Han, Feng Chen, Shi Xiao,Junchao Huang J.C.* and Juan Li*(2019)Arabidopsis thaliana Plants Engineered To Produce Astaxanthin Show Enhanced Oxidative Stress Tolerance and Bacterial Pathogen Resistance.Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 67 : 12590 - 12598.

5. Liu M.M., Sandmann G., Chen F. and Huang J.C.* (2019) Enhanced coproduction of cell-bound zeaxanthin and secreted exopolysaccharides by Sphingobium sp. via metabolic engineering and optimized fermentation. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 67:12228-12236.

6. Ye J. R., Liu M. M., He M. X., Ye Y. and Huang J. C.* (2019) Defining and enhancing the biosynthesis of astaxanthin and docosahexaenoic acid in Aurantiochytrium sp. SK4. Marine Drugs 17(45):1-13.

7. Huang W. P., Lin Y., He M. X., Gong Y.H., and Huang J.C* (2018) Induced high-yield production of zeaxanthin, lutein, and β-carotene by a mutant of Chlorella zofingiensis. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 66:891-897.

8. Li S. and Huang J.C.* (2018) Assessment of expression cassettes and culture media for different Escherichia coli strains to produce astaxanthin. Natural Products and Bioprospecting, 8:397-403.V)

9. Huang W. P., Ye J.R., Lin Y., Zhang J.J., He M. and Huang J.C* (2016) Transcriptome analysis of Chlorella zofingiensis to identify genes and their expressions involved in astaxanthin and triacylglycerol biosynthesis. Algal Research 17:236-243.

10. Suen Y.L., Tang H.M., Huang J.C*., and Chen F*. (2014) Enhanced production of fatty acids and astaxanthin in Aurantiochytrium sp. by the expression of Vitreoscilla hemoglobin. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry62:12392-12398.

11.Huang J.C, Zhong Y.J, Liu J., Sandmann G, Liu J and Chen F* (2013) Metabolic engineering of tomato for high-yield production of astaxanthin. Metabolic Engineering 17:59-67.

12.Huang J.C, Zhong Y.J, Sandmann G, Liu J and Chen F* (2012) Cloning and selection of carotenoid ketolase genes for the engineering of high-yield astaxanthin in plants. Planta 236:691-699.

13. Liu J, Huang J.C*, Jiang Y and Chen F* (2012) Molasses-based growth and production of oil and astaxanthin by Chlorella zofingiensis. Bioresource Technology107:393-398.

14. Zhong Y-J, Huang J.C *, Liu J, Li Y, Jiang Y, Xu Z-F, Sandmann G, and Chen F* (2011) Functional characterization of various algal carotenoid ketolases reveals that ketolating zeaxanthin efficiently is essential for high production of astaxanthin in transgenic Arabidopsis. Journal of Experimental Botany 62:3659-69.

15. Liu J, Huang JC and Chen F (2011). Microalgae as Feedstocks for Biodiesel Production, Biodiesel - Feedstocks and Processing Technologies, Margarita Stoytcheva and Gisela Montero (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-713-0, InTech.

16. Liu J, Huang JC*, Sun Z, Zhong Y, Jiang Y,and Chen F* (2011) Differential lipid and fatty acid profiles of photoautotrophic and heterotrophic Chlorella zofingiensis: Assessment of algal oils for biodiesel production. Bioresource Technology. 102:106-110.

17. Liu J, Huang JC*, Fan K.W, Jiang Y, Zhong Y, Sun Z, and Chen F* (2010) Production potential of Chlorella zofingiensis as a feedstock for biodiesel. Bioresource Technology. 101:8658-63.

18. Liu J, Zhong Y, Sun Z, Huang JC*, Sandmann G, and Chen F* (2010) One amino acid substitution in phytoene desaurase makes Chlorella zofingiensis resistant to norflurazon and enhances the biosynthesis of astaxanthin. Planta 232:61-67.

19. Li AM, Yu bY, Chen FH, Gan HY, Yuan JG Qiu RL, Huang JC, Yang ZY and Xu ZF (2009) Characterization of the Sesbania rostrata phytochelatin synthase gene: Alternative splicing and function of four isoforms. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 10:3269-3282.

20. Li YT, Huang JC*, Sandmann G and Chen F* (2009) High-light and sodium chloride stress differently regulate the biosynthesis of astaxanthin in Chlorella zofingiensis (Chlorophyceae). Journal of Phycology 45:635-641.

21. Li YT, Huang JC*, Sandmann G and Chen F* (2008) Glucose sensing and the mitochondrial alternative pathway are involved in the regulation of astaxanthin biosynthesis in the dark-grown Chlorella zofingiensis (Chlorophyceae). Planta 228:735-743.

22. Sun N, Wang Y, Li YT, Huang JC* and Chen F* (2008). Sugar-based growth, astaxanthin accumulation and carotenogenic transcription of heterotrophic Chlorella zofingiensis (Chlorophyta). Process Biochemistry, 43, 1288-1292.

23.Huang JC, Liu J, Li YT and Chen F* (2008). Isolation and characterization of the phytoene desaturase gene as a potential selective marker for genetic engineering of the astaxanthin-producing green alga Chlorella zofingiensis (Chlorophyta). Journal of Phycology, 44, 684-690.

24.Huang JC, Wang Y, Sandmann G* and Chen F* (2006) Isolation and characterization of a carotenoid oxygenase gene from Chlorella zofingiensis (Chlorophyta). Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 71:473-479.

25.Huang JC, Sandmann G and Chen F* (2006) Stress-related differential expression of multiple b-carotene ketolase genes in the unicellular green alga Haematococcus pluvialis. Journal of Biotechnology 122:176-185.

26.Huang JC and Chen F*(2006) Simultaneous amplification of 5′ and 3′ cDNA ends based on template-switching effect and inverse PCR. Biotechniques 40:187-189.

27. Lai JP, Jiang Y, He XW, Huang JC and Chen F* (2004). Separation and determination of astaxanthin from microalgal and yeast samples by molecularly imprinted microspheres. Journal of Chromatography B, 804: 25-30.

28.HuangJC, Corke H and Sun M* (2002) Phylogenetic relationships of sweetpotato and its wild relatives in Ipomoea series Batatas (Convolvulaceae) detected by AFLPs and ITS sequence. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 49: 541-550.

29. Chen G, Ye CM, Huang JC, Yu M and Li BJ* (2001) Cloning of the papaya ringspot virus (PRSV) replicase (RP) gene and generation of PRSV-resistant papayas through introduction of PRSV replicase gene. Plant Cell Reports, 20: 272-277.

30.HuangJC and Sun M* (2000) Fluorecene PAGE analysis of Microsatellite-primed PCR: a fast and efficient approach for genomic fingerprinting. Biotechniques 28: 1068-1072.

31.Huang JC and Sun M* (2000) Genetic diversity and relationships of sweetpotato and its wild relatives in Ipomoea series Batatas (Convolvulaceae) as revealed by inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) and restriction analysis of chloroplast DNA, Theoretical and Applied Genetics 100: 1050-1060.

32.Huang JC, Ge XJ and Sun M* (2000) A modified CTAB protocol using a silica matrix for isolation of plant genomic DNA. Biotechniques 28: 432-434.

33. Li WD, Huang JC and Corke H* (2000) Effect of b–cyclodextrin on pasting properties of wheat starch. Nahrung –Food 44: 164-167. (changed to Molecular Nutrition and Food Research)