Zhe Ji (Luke)


Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3RB

DPhil candidate, Plant Sciences Department

Luke is interested in plant genetics, mineral nutrient uptake/assimilation, and their relevance to food security.

Global food demand is predicted to double by 2050 with a 50% increase in world population. Achieving this without compromising environmental integrity and public health poses an even greater challenge. The high-yielding “Green Revolution” cereal varieties introduced in the 20th century were lately found to suffer from low soil nutrient use efficiency (NUE), and are therefore reliant on environmentally unsustainable application of fertilizers. Recent preliminary studies have identified potential master-regulators that are involved in the regulation of plant mineral nutrient uptake/assimilation. Luke is interested in taking molecular and genetic approaches to understand how plant growth and development mediated by these master-regulators are coordinated with plant metabolism. At the practical level, he wishes to contribute to the development of new crop varieties maintaining high yields but with a decreased dependency on high-level fertilizer application, exploiting revolutionary “genome-editing” techniques.

Before joining Department of Plant Sciences as a DPhil candidate, Luke received a BA in Biological Sciences (first class) from Oxford University.