XU Jian

Associate Professor

Contact Information:

Department of Biological Science
National University of Singapore
14 Science Drive 4
Singapore 117543

Lab: Xu Jian Lab

6516 7835
6779 2486

Academic Qualifications

Ph.D. Utrecht University, the Netherlands

Research Areas

Molecular Cell Biology, Developmental Genetics, Evolutionary Developmental (Evo-Devo) Biology, Stem Cell Biology, Bioimaging.

Research Interests

My research interests lie primarily in two interconnected areas of plant biology: plant regenerative biology and plant stress biology. Fascinated by the extraordinary capabilities of plant roots to generate various types of lateral organs (such as lateral roots, nodules, root sprouts and tubers) and to survival from unfavourable and often damaging environmental conditions (such as cold, drought and salinity), I aimed to learn from the roots how plants originate, develop, cope with and recover from environmental stresses, right from the beginning of my independent career.

My research uses a multidisciplinary approach centered on two model plants: the eudicot plant Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) and the monocot crop Oryza sativa (rice). While Arabidopsis is well established as the premiere model species in plant biology, rice is currently the most advanced model for genotype-to-phenotype research in cereal crops. To translate basic research outcomes to practical applications in agriculture, I use rice to assess gene-trait associations across taxonomic divisions and in a crop species.

To achieve an in-depth understanding of the processes that link development and stress, I make full use of the experimental amenability of the root system, and continue to build on the strength of my research by developing innovative tools and systems. These offer exciting new avenues to unravel the underlying mechanisms of plant regenerative biology and plant stress biology, from molecular to ecosystem level.

This word cloud, created using the most commonly used words in the titles of my published work, provides a flavour for what I studied.


2007: NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) VENI Award. 1st position in the Earth and Life Sciences section, honourable
2009: NUS Young Investigator Award

Selected Publications

  1. Hong, J.H., Savina, M., Du, J., Devendran, A., Kannivadi Ramakanth, K., Tian, X., Sim, W.S., Mironova, V.V. and Xu, J.* (2017) A sacrifice-for-survival mechanism protects root stem cell niche from chilling stress. Cell170, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2017.06.002.

  2. Cruz-Ramírez, A., Díaz-Triviño, S., Blilou, I., Grieneisen, V.A., Sozzani, R., Zamioudis, C., Miskolczi, P., Nieuwland, J., Benjamins, R., Dhonukshe, P., Caballero-Pérez, J., Horvath, B., Long, Y.C., Mähonën, A.P., Zhang, H.T., Xu, J., Murray, J.A.H., Benfey, P.N., Bako, L., Marée, A.F.M.*, and Scheres, B.* (2012) A bistable circuit involving SCARECROW-RETINOBLASTOMA integrates cues to inform asymmetric stem cell division. Cell150, 1002-1015.

  3. Grieneisen, V.A., Xu, J., Maree, A.F.M., Hogeweg, P. and Scheres, B.* (2007) Auxin transport is sufficient to generate a maximum and gradient guiding root growth. Nature (Article) 449, 1008-1013.

  4. Wisniewska, J., Xu, J., Seifertova, D., Brewer, P.B., Ruzicka, K., Blilou, I., Benkova, E., Scheres, B. and Friml, J.* (2006) Polar PIN Localization Directs Auxin Flow in Plants. Science  312, 883.

  5. Xu, J., Hofhuis, H., Heidstra, R., Sauer, M., Friml, J. and Scheres, B.* (2006) A molecular framework for plant regeneration. Science 311, 385-388. (Featured in Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 7, 154, and Nature Reviews Genetics 7, 157.)

  6. Blilou, I., Xu, J., Wildwater, M., Willemsen, W., Paponov, I., Friml, J., Heidstra, R., Aida, M., Palme, K. and Scheres, B.* (2005) The PIN auxin efflux facilitator network controls growth and patterning in Arabidopsis roots. Nature (Article) 433, 39-44.