Zhenglong Gu


Zhenglong Gu

Associate Professor
312 Savage Hall
Phone: (607) 254-5144 Fax: (607) 255-1033
Email: zg27@cornell.edu
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Curriculum Vitae
Biographical Statement:

Dr. Zhenglong Gu received his Bachelors of Science degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Peking University in 1998, and his PhD degree in Ecology and Evolution in 2003 from University of Chicago. He conducted his postdoctoral research at Stanford Genome and Technology Center from 2004 to 2006. He became an Assistant Professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University in 2006.

Dr. Gu's laboratory uses a combination of computational and experimental approaches to understand the structure of metabolic networks and how these have been shaped over evolutionary time by selective pressures, such as those imposed by nutrient constraints. Much of the effort is devoted to understanding these issues in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, because of its simplicity, rapid growth and the availability of robust experimental and computational tools. Specific interests include evolution of aerobic fermentation in yeast and its implication in ethanol production and cancer physiology, duplicate gene regulation and evolution of antagonistic pleiotropy, genetic and evolution of complex life traits in pathogenic fungi. His laboratory also has interests in using computational and experimental approach to investigate function, evolution and diseases relevance for mitochondria.

Teaching and Advising Statement:
  • Teaching: I believe the primary goal of teaching at a prestigious academic institution is to provide knowledge and instruction to students, encourage them to fulfill their potential and challenge them to perform above their own expectations. 
  • Advisory: The primary goals of an advisor are to serve as a mentor to students, and assist them in their pursuit of meaningful educational programs, which is important for fulfilling their life goals. The positive experience for students during their years at Cornell will have a great impact on their future. I have been fortunate to serve as an advisor to many students, and I have performed this role with care.

Current Professional Activities:
  • Genomics (minor field), 2009-present
  • Genetics, Genomics & Development, 2008- present
  • Computational Biology, 2008-present
  • Nutritional Sciences, 2006-present

Current Research Activities:
  • Evolution of Aerobic Fermentation in Yeasts
  • Metabolic Adaptation during Human Evolution
  • Mitochondrial DNA Variation and Adaptation
  • Mitochondrial Function and Diseases

  • PhD, Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, 2003
  • BS, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Peking Unversity, China, 1998

Courses Taught:
  • NS2750, Human Biology and Evolution
  • BIOG 4990, Independent Undergraduate Research
  • NS 4010, Empirical Research (Independent Study)

Related Websites:

Gu Lab website
Cornell Center for Comparative & Population Genomics

Administrative Responsibilities:
  • Division Curriculum Committee, Chair, 2012-2016
  • Executive Committee (Seed Funding and Shared Resources), VERGE, 2011-present

Selected Publications:

1.     Billing-Ross P, Germain A, Ye K, Keinan A, Gu Z & Hanson MR. Mitochondrial DNA variants correlate with symptoms in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome Journal of Translational Medicine. 2016; 14:19. PMID: 26791940 PMCID: PMC4719218

2.     Wang Y, Picard M, & Gu Z. Genetic Evidence for Elevated Pathogenicity of Mitochondrial DNA Heteroplasmy in Autism Spectrum Disorder. PLoS Genetics. 2016; 12(10):e1006391. PMID: 27792786 PMCID: PMC5085253.

3.     Zhang R, Nakahira K, Guo X, Choi AM, & Gu Z. Very Short Mitochondrial DNA Fragments and Heteroplasmy in Human Plasma. Scientific Reports. 2016; 6:36097. PMID: 27811968 PMCID: PMC5095883.

4.     Kothapalli, K.S., Ye, K., Gadgil, M.S., Carlson, S.E., O'Brien, K.O., Zhang, J.Y., Park, H.G., Ojukwu, K., Zou, J., Hyon, S.S., Joshi, K.S., Gu, Z., Keinan, A. & Brenna, J.T. Positive Selection on a Regulatory Insertion-Deletion Polymorphism in FADS2 Influences Apparent Endogenous Synthesis of Arachidonic Acid. Mol Biol Evol. 33(7):1726-1739 (2016). PMCID:PMC4915354

5.     Sun, X., Wang, Z., Guo, X., Li, H. & Gu, Z. Coordinated Evolution of Transcriptional and Post-Transcriptional Regulation for Mitochondrial Functions in Yeast Strains. PLoS ONE. 11(4):e0153523 (2016). PMCID: PMC4831757

6.     Barker B, Xu L, Gu Z. Dynamic Epistasis under Varying Environmental Perturbations. PLoS One. 2015 Jan 27;10(1):e0114911. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114911. eCollection 2015.

7.     Lei R, Ye K, Gu Z, Sun X. Diminishing returns in next-generation sequencing (NGS) transcriptome data. Gene. 2015 Feb 15;557(1):82-7.

8.     Jiang H, Xu L, Wang Z, Keene J, Gu Z. Coordinating expression of RNA binding proteins with their mRNA targets. Sci Rep. 2014 Nov 24;4:7175.

9.     Ye K, Lu J, Ma F, Keinan A, Gu Z. Reply to Just et al.: Mitochondrial DNA heteroplasmy could be reliably detected with massively parallel sequencing technologies. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Oct 28;111(43):E4548-50.

10.   Ye K, Lu J, Ma F, Keinan A, Gu Z. Extensive pathogenicity of mitochondrial heteroplasmy in healthy human individuals. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jul 22;111(29):10654-9

11.   Ahmad KM, Kokošar J, Guo X, Gu Z, Ishchuk OP, Piškur J. Genome structure and dynamics of the yeast pathogen Candida glabrata. FEMS Yeast Res. 2014 Jun;14(4):529-35.

12.   Liu, X., Jiang, H., Gu, Z. & Roberts, J.W. High-resolution view of bacteriophage lambda gene expression by ribosome profiling. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 110:11928-11933 (2013)

13.   Shestov, A.A., Barker, B., Gu, Z. & Locasale JW  Computational approaches for understanding energy metabolism. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Syst Biol Med. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.1238, (2013)

14.   Ye, K. Lu, J., Madhura Raj, S. & Gu, Z. Human expression QTLs are enriched in signals of environmental adaptation , Genome Biol Evol. 5:1689-1701 (2013)

15.   Xu, L., Barker, B. & Gu, Z. Dynamic epistasis for the different alleles of the same gene, PNAS, 109:10420-10425 (2012)

16.   Jiang, H., Guo, X., Xu, L. & Gu, Z. Rewiring of post-transcriptional RNA regulons: Puf4p in fungi as an example, Mol Biol Evol. 29:2169-2176 (2012)

17.   Stover, P. & Gu, Z.  Polymorphism: effect on nutrient utilization and metabolism.  Book Chapter,  Modern Nutrition in Health and Diseases, (2011)

18.   Ye, K. & Gu, Z. Recent advances in understanding the role of nutrition in genome evolution,Advances in Nutrition, 2:486-496, (2011)

19.   Xue, Z., He, Y., Ye, K., Gu, Z., Mao, Y. & Qi, L. A highly-conserved structural “hinge” bridging the kinase and RNase domains of the IRE1 protein is critical for its stability and activation. J Biol Chem 286:30859-30866 (2011)

20.   Xu, L, Jiang, H & Gu,  Z. Genetic architecture of complex traits revealed by epistatic interaction. In press, Genome Biol. & Evol. 3:909-914 (2011)

21.   Zou, Y., Huang, W., Gu, Z. & Gu, X. Predominant gain of promoter TATA box after gene duplication associated with stress responses. Mol Biol Evol. 28:2893-2904 (2011)

22.   Jiang, H. Xu, L & Gu, Z. Growth of novel epistatic interaction by gene duplication,  Genome Biol & Evol, 3:295-301 (2011)

Selected Keywords:
Mitochondrial Functional, Evolution and Diseases

The information on this bio page is taken from the CHE Annual Report.