Microbiology Experts

Zhao Guoping

Department of Microbiology
Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences
Hong Kong


Guo-Ping ZHAO is a molecular microbiologist. Since July 2008, he has been the Joint Professor of the Department of Microbiology and the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital and directing a Clinical Microbial Genomics research group focusing on identifying novel virulence factors from bacteria that cause important infectious diseases, e.g., tuberculosis, employing various technologies of “omics”. Guo-Ping ZHAO has been working on microbial molecular physiology and metabolic regulation since he graduated from Fudan University receiving B.S. degree in Biology (specialty in microbiology) in 1982.  He is currently the Director of CAS-Key Laboratory of Synthetic Biology, at the Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology (IPPE), Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences (SIBS), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Director of Department of Microbiology and Microbial Engineering and Center for Synthetic Biology at the School of Life Sciences, Fudan University. He has been focusing his research activities on systems and synthetic biology of microorganisms in these two institutions since 2008. Guo-Ping Zhao obtained his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from Purdue University, Indiana, USA in 1990 and returned to China in 1992 as the founding production manager of Shanghai Promega Biological Products, Ltd, a subsidiary joint venture of Shanghai Research Center of Biotechnology (SRCB), CAS. He was promoted to full Professor in 1995 after rejoining the Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology (SIPP), CAS, where he started his graduate studies in 1982.  He was appointed as the Director of SRCB, CAS, from 1997 to 1999 and the Vice-President of SIBS from 1999 to 2002, where he began to work on the Human Genome Project of CAS (1998-2001). Since 2002, he has been the Executive Director of the Chinese National Human Genome Center at Shanghai and Director of the National Engineering Center for BioChip at Shanghai, continuing the endeavor of genomic sequencing and typing (Genomics) as well as large scale transcriptomic profiling (Transcriptomics) on various organisms ranging from virus to high plants and human being. Guo-Ping ZHAO was elected as a member of the CAS in 2005 and the Honored President of the Chinese Society for Microbiology in 2011 after serving the presidency position for the 5-year term of 2006-2011. He was elected as a member of the Third World Academy of Sciences in 2011.

Research Interest

1. Interested in the research of genomics and functional genomics. Prof. Zhao started his genomic research in the area of positional cloning of human disease genes and was responsible for developing platforms of cDNA microarray, bioinformatics and proteomics in China in the late 1990’s. He later focused on genomics and functional genomics research of microorganisms, particularly pathogens. He was responsible for the initiation of bacterial genomic sequencing projects in China and directly involved in the implementation of the genomics research for Leptospira interrogans and the functional genomics and comparative genomics analyses for Xanthomonas campestris. He successfully combined the technology and theory of genomics with the epidemiology of SARS to study the molecular evolution of SARS-CoV. Recently, taking the advantage of the next-generation sequencing technology, he is particularly interested in different levels of comparative genomic studies, ranging from comparisons between mutant and the prototype strain and of industry strain against the natural isolates, to the pan-genomic analysis among certain taxonomic clades. He is also interested in the research of genomics for eukaryotic pathogens, such as Shistosoma janonicum and the metagenomics for human health, such as the gut microbiota. 2. Interested in molecular mechanistic studies of physiology and pathogenesis/virulence of microorganisms. For this direction, his research focused in two areas. The first is to study the regulatory relationship between primary and secondary metabolism of actinomycetes, particularly, the rifamycin SV producing strain, Amycolatopsis mediterranei. He is also using Streptomyces coelicolor as the model system to reveal the mechanisms not only at the transcription level but also at the signal transduction level. The second area is to study the physiology and pathogenesis of pathogens, particularly, Leptospira interrogans and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.


  • Yan X, Fan Y, Wei W, Wang PP, Liu QF, Wei YJ, Zhang L, Zhao GP*, Yue JM*, Zhou ZH*. Production of bioactive ginsenoside compound k in metabolically engineered yeast. Cell Research 2014;24:770-773.

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