Liang Song

Assistant Professor

Academic History

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

Contact Information

  • 604-827-2720
  • Office: 2231 Biological Sciences Building
  • Lab: 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. 

Team Members

summer hiking and dinner (2019)​

new year BBQ (2020)​

summer hiking after vaccination (2021)

self portraits of graduate students (2021 winter)

Current members

graduate students:  
Milad Alizadeh, Ph.D. student (technician 2018 – 2019; UBC 4 YF awardee 2019 – )
Ryan Hoy, M.Sc. student (technician 2019 – 2020; BC Graduate Scholarship awardee 2020 – 2021)
Renwei Zheng, M.Sc. student (2021- )
Gloria Bailan Lu, M.Sc. student (WLIUR awardee, 2019; volunteer 2019 & 2020; SURE awardee 2020; BIOL448 directed studies student 2021 W2; 2021- )
Dongeun Go, M.Sc student (2021- )

undergraduate students: 

Kristen Tien (2022- )
Yasmine Tremblay (2022- )
Helena Zhou (2021- )
Ghazaleh Shoaib (volunteer 2021 – ; BIOL448 directed studies 2022)


Rebecca Ching-Chia Yu (NSERC USRA awardee 2019; volunteer 2019 – 2020; Work-Learn 2021)
Emma Laqua (Co-op student / volunteer, 2020 – 2021)
Katherine Feng (NSERC USRA awardee, 2021)
Parmida Nafezi (BIOL448 directed studies student 2019 W1 & 2020 W1; volunteer 2020)
Ivan Bao, undergradate (engineering student; gadget builder, 2019)
Chanwoo Ho, undergraduate (volunteer, 2019) ​

Selected Publications

underline: trainee authors from our group

*: corresponding author


Alizadeh M., Hoy R., Lu B., Song L.* (2021) Team effort: combinatorial control of seed maturation by transcription factors. Curr. Opin. Plant Biol 63, 102091


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