RNA Faculty Spotlight — Jianzhi (George) Zhang, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Jianzhi (George) Zhang, Ph.D.
Marshall W. Nirenberg Collegiate Professor
Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Our lab is interested in evolution of gene expression and expression noise, RNA modification, and translation regulation.
Visit Lab Website


  • What are your research interests? My research area is molecular and genome evolution. I am particularly interested in the relative roles of chance and necessity in genotype and phenotype evolution. In relation to RNA biology, I have been studying the evolution of gene expression and expression noise, adaptive and nonadaptive RNA processing and modification, and translation regulation at the RNA level.


  • Who/what brought you to science? My father. He is a chemistry professor, so science was what we often talked about at dinner when I grew up. 


  • What advice would you give to students who’d like to get more involved in research? I would encourage students to talk to professors and find opportunities to do research.


  • Are there any opportunities for students to engage in your projects, currently or in the future? Yes.


  • What skills would they need, and what could they expect to learn? Having strong logic is most important. Students are expected to develop skills in designing (computational and/or wet lab) experiments, trouble-shooting, analyzing data, writing manuscripts, and presenting research. 


  • What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Writing fictions and essays. 


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