Liang Song

Faculty Profile

Faculty Profile

Assistant Professor

plant genomics, environmental stresses, seed development, gene expression

BSc., Fudan University
Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
Postdoctoral fellow, Salk Institute for Biological Studies 

Contact Information

2235 Biological Sciences Building
2234 Biological Sciences Building

Research Interests

1. Abscisic acid-regulated gene expression networks
Animals often employ a fight-or-flight strategy when facing challenges. By contrast, plants handle challenges on site through many molecular, morphological, and physiological solutions. The plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) is a nexus molecule of stress responses and plant development. Without proper ABA responses, plants would make unwise decisions such as germinating prematurely or failing to preserve water and other resources during a drought. The ABA responses are orchestrated through the expression of thousands of genes and the regulation of these gene products. Our lab studies ABA-regulated gene expression, and the specific regulation in different tissues or under various stresses.  
2. Environmental and genetic control of seed development
Grains and oilseeds are essential to humans. Seeds are also mini time machines that may outlive many generations of people. Several key stages of seed development, including storage reserve deposition, desiccation, and dormancy, are related to ABA. We study the environmental and genetic control of seed development, and use this model to understand how ABA shapes distinct and complex biological processes. 

Courses Taught/Teaching

BIOL433 Plant Genetics (2018 Winter Term 2)

BOTA501 Seminar in Botany (2019 Winter Term 1)

Team Members

2019 summer hiking and dinner

 summer hiking and dinner (2019)


new year BBQ (2020)


Research Opportunities:

Postdoc opening available. Applicants with genomics or protein biochemistry skills are preferred.  

Recruiting highly motivated graduate student(s) to start in May or September 2021.  Please send your cover letter, CV, and transcript to Liang by December, 2020.     

Undergraduate volunteers: Wanna gain research experience and prepare for NSERC USRA / WLIURA application? Please contact Liang if you can spend 5 - 10 hours / week in the lab during winter terms. 

Current members: 

Milad Alizadeh, Ph.D student (2019 - )

Ryan Hoy, technician (2019 - ) 

Rebecca Ching-Chia Yu, undergraduate (NSERC USRA Awardee, 2019, volunteer 2019 - )

Gloria Bailan Lu, undergraduate (Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Awardee, 2019, volunteer 2019 - )

Parmida Nafezi, undergraduate (Directed Studies student, 2019 - )

Emma Laqua (Co-op student, 2020 - )


Ivan Bao, undergradate (engineering student; gadget builder, 2019)

Chanwoo Ho, undergraduate (volunteer, 2019)

Selected Publications



Salehin M., Li  B.,  Tang M., Katz E., Song L., Ecker J.R., Kliebenstein D., Estelle M.* (2019) Auxin-sensitive Aux/IAA proteins mediate drought tolerance in Arabidopsis by regulating glucosinolate levels. Nat. Comm. 10:4021

Argueso C.T., Assmann S.M.*, Birnbaum K.D., Chen S., Dinneny J.R., Doherty C.J., Eveland A.L., Friesner J., Greenlee V.R., Law J.A., Marshall-Colón A., Mason G.A., O’Lexy R., Peck S.C., Schmitz R.J., Song L., Stern D., Varagona M.J., Walley J.W., Williams C.M. (2019) Directions for Research and Training in Plant Omics: Big Questions and Big Data. Plant Direct 3, e00133


Full Publication List in Google Scholar