Bo Zhang

Research Assistant Professor


Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology. University of Arkansas, 2006

M.S., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 2003

B.S., Horticulture, Shenyang Agricultural University, 1998


2014 - Present - Research Assistant Professor, Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech

2013 - Present - Senior Research Associate, Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech

2011 - 2013 - Assistant Professor, Agricultural Research Station, Virginia State University

2008 - 2011 - Molecular Lab Supervisor, Bayer Crop Science

2007 - 2009 - Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Arkansas

Link to curriculum vita

Program Focus

The soybean breeding program focuses on developing new, improved and market-needed soybean cultivars adapted to Virginia and mid-Atlantic region. All elite varieties are selected through extensive testing in diverse locations in Virginia with Eastern Virginia AREC in Warsaw as the main location. The specific interests of the soybean breeding team are:

  • Develop new and improved, conventional and herbicide tolerant soybean varieties adapted to various production systems in Virginia and mid-Atlantic region in a steady flow;
  • Incorporate value-added traits to specialty soybeans to reinforce VA soybean growers’ competitive ability in various markets.
  • Develop diverse soybean germplasm in yield, maturity, pest resistance, stress tolerance, value added traits, etc. to broad genetic background of soybean;
  • Utilize molecular techniques to modify seed compositions for seed quality improvement.

Role of Graduate Students

Each student graduating from the soybean breeding program should have the ability to independently carry out research projects, adequately present him/herself in various-size meetings, and effectively socialize with professionals, peers, growers, etc. 

  • Graduate students in the soybean breeding program will receive intensive hands-on training in modern plant breeding both in the field and in the laboratory using traditional and molecular breeding methodologies. Research idea development and validation are strongly encouraged;
  • Graduate students not only conduct research on their own research projects, but they also need to help and collaborate with other students to expand their knowledge in different subjects and improve social skills for future job market;
  •  All students also have opportunities to publicly present their research findings at field days, local, national and even international conferences, etc.

Future Research

In order to better serve soybean growers in Virginia and mid-Atlantic area, our program plan to collaborate with national and international research programs in the public and private sectors in the following areas:

  • Apply genome-wide selection for quantitative traits into soybean breeding scheme;
  • Enhance the study of genetics and utilization of pathogen resistance in soybean;
  • Commercialize conventional soybeans with unique value-added traits.
Bo Zhang
  • (540) 231-1731
  • 220 Ag Quad Lane
    509 Latham Hall
    Blacksburg, Virginia