Doctor Hongwei Liu

Dr Hongwei LiuDr Hongwei (Jason) Liu has over 7 years' progressive experience in Microbiology and Microbial Ecology research, in particular in functional profiling of plant and soil microbiomes. He was awarded PhD degree in Agricultural Science at the University of Queensland in 2017 under the supervision of Professor Peer Schenk, Dr Paul G. Dennis and Dr Lilia C. Carvalhais. Through extensive training during his research, he now possesses the skills in a range of culture-independent methods for plant and soil ecology, in particular next generation sequencing techniques and microbial community profiling (16S and 18S rRNA amplicon sequencing). Other methods include qPCR and qRT-PCR functional and phylogenetic marker genes, T-RLFP, and Microresp®.

Plants are associated with diverse microbial communities that influence their health and nutrition. These organisms are known collectively as the plant microbiomes and could be used to more sustainably maintain or enhance global food security. His previous research aimed to testing those factors that influence soil and plant-associated microbiomes and exploring ways to manipulate them for a more sustainable agriculture. He was among one of the most productive PhD students in Schenk's lab, and successfully finished several major projects for his PhD degree, leading to 8 published papers in 2016 and 2017. Those finished projects include (i) effects of plant signalling pathways (jasmonic acid and salicylic acid) on wheat-associated microbiomes, (ii) effects of strategic tillage on microbial properties of continuous no-till soils in eastern-Australia, (iii) how wheat-associated microbiomes correlate to crown rot disease symptom at stems, and (iv) effects of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) and salinity on soil microbial properties and soil microbiomes.

Dr Liu now is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the institute (joined in 2017). He is currently involved in a multi-disciplinary project "Supporting Healthy Bees and Healthy Crops" that is aimed to better understand and protect Australian bees. He will undertake a combined methodologies approach to reveal both, the structure and function of honey bee microbiomes during plant and soil interactions. To find more about his recent research please visit (opens in a new window).

Areas of research/teaching expertise

Bacterial endophytes; Plant and soil microbiome; Plant-Microbe interactions; Soil biology and biochemistry

Awards and recognition

  • UQ Graduate School International Travel Grant, 2015

Selected publications

Dang YP, Balzer A, Crawford M, Rincon-Florez V, Liu H, Melland A, Antille D, Kodur S, Bell M, Whish J, Lai Y, Seymour N, Carvalhais LC, Schenk PM. (2017) 'Strategic tillage in conservation agricultural systems of north-eastern Australia: why, where, when and how?', Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

Liu H, Mirzaee H, Rincon-Florez V, Moyle RL, Carvalhais LC, Schenk PM, (2017) 'Emerging culture-independent tools to enhance our understanding for soil microbial ecology'. In book: A paradigm shift in terrestrial biogeochemistry, World Scientific.

Liu H, Carvalhais LC, Dennis PG, Schenk PM, (2017) 'Effects of jasmonic acid signalling on the wheat microbiome differ between body sites', Scientific Reports, vol.7, p 41766

Liu H, Carvalhais LC, Crawford M, Dang YP, Dennis PG, Schenk PM, (2016) 'Strategic tillage increased the relative abundance of Acidobacteria but did not impact on overall soil microbial properties of a 19-year no-till Solonetz', Biology and Fertility of Soils, vol.52, no.7, pp 1021-1035

Liu H, Carvalhais LC, Kazan K, Schenk PM, (2016) 'Development of marker genes for jasmonic acid signaling pathway in shoots and roots of wheat', Plant Signaling and Behavior, vol.11, no.5, e1176654

Liu H, Carvalhais LC, Rincon-Florez V, Crawford M, Dang YP, Dennis PG, Schenk PM, (2016) 'One-time strategic tillage does not cause major impacts on soil microbial properties in a no-till Calcisol', Soil and Tillage Research, vol.158, no.5, pp 91-99

Liu H, Crawford M, Carvalhais LC, Dang YP, Dennis PG, Schenk PM, (2016) 'Strategic tillage on a Grey Vertosol after fifteen years of no-till management had no short-term impact on soil properties and agronomic productivity', Geoderma, vol.267, pp 146-155

Crawford M, Rincon-Florez V, Balzer A, Carvalhais LC, Dang YP, Liu H, Schenk PM, (2015) 'Changes in the soil quality attributes of continuous no-till farming systems following a strategic tillage', Soil Research, vol.53, no.3, pp 263-273

Feng G, Wu H, Li X, Lai F, Zhao G, Yang M, Liu H, (2015) 'A new, efficient and highly-regioselective approach to synthesis of 6-O-propionyl-D-glucose by using whole-cell biocatalysts', Biochemical Engineering Journal, vol.95, pp 56-61

Li X, Lu Z, Liu H, Zhao G, Wu H, Yuan K, Yu Y, (2012) 'Dependence of catalytic performance of a freeze-dried whole-cell biocatalyst of Pseudomonas fluorescens in regioselective acetylation of 1-beta-D-arabinofuranosylcytosine on growth conditions', Process Biochemistry, vol.47, no.12, pp 1826-1831