Songwen Zhang

PhD Graduate Research Assistant

Songwen Zhang
1066 Bogue St, Room A326
East Lansing, MI 48824

Phone: (517) 940-1466

Area of expertise: Gibberellin signaling; apple flowering; GA2ox genes


I am currently a Ph.D. student, looking at the role of gibberellin (GA) in apple flowering under Dr. Steve van Nocker’s supervision. GA is a class of phytohormone that has profound effects on many aspects of plant growth and development. In contrast to its promotive role in floral induction in Arabidopsis, exogenous GA application during the summer period of floral induction can reduce bloom density and crop load in the subsequent year in apple and many other fruit trees. Thus, GAs are usually used to reduce bloom in commercial operations. However, the mechanism of GA-mediated flowering repression in apple and other plants remains unknown. We will address this deficiency of knowledge by documenting the transcriptional response of apple trees to exogenous GA application, and by identifying specific components in the mechanism linking GA perception with gene response, using the positive regulation of the GA2ox gene family by GA in model plant Arabidopsis. We hope to exploit the findings from our studies to design more efficient, GA-based methods to control flowering, while also identifying genetic loci that may be important for the development of new cultivars with desirable flowering traits.


Ph.D. in Horticulture, Michigan State University, USA, 2016–present 

M.S. in Horticulture, Northwest A&F University, China, 2013–2016

B.S. in Agriculture, Northwest A&F University, China, 2009–2013

Honors and Awards

Mericle Memorial Scholarship, Aug. 2016–Aug. 2017 


**For the up-to-date list please visit Google Scholar or Research Gate.

Zhang, S., Zhang, D., Fan, S., Du, L., Shen, Y., Xing, L., Li, Y., Ma, J. and Han, M., 2016. Effect of exogenous GA 3 and its inhibitor paclobutrazol on floral formation, endogenous hormones, and flowering-associated genes in ‘Fuji’ apple (Malus domestica Borkh.). Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 107, pp.178-186.

Xing, L., Zhang, D., Li, Y., Zhao, C., Zhang, S., Shen, Y., ... & Han, M. (2014). Genome-wide identification of vegetative phase transition-associated microRNAs and target predictions using degradome sequencing in Malus hupehensis. BMC genomics, 15(1), 1125.

Li, Y., Zhang, D., Xing, L., Zhang, S., Zhao, C., & Han, M. (2016). Effect of exogenous 6-benzylaminopurine (6-BA) on branch type, floral induction and initiation, and related gene expression in ‘Fuji’ apple (Malus domestica Borkh). Plant growth regulation, 79(1), 65-70.

Du, L., Qi, S., Ma, J., Xing, L., Fan, S., Zhang, S., Li, Y., Shen, Y., Zhang, D. and Han, M., 2017. Identification of TPS family members in apple (Malus x domestica Borkh.) and the effect of sucrose sprays on TPS expression and floral induction. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry.