Research Group of Medicinal Plants and Secondary Metabolism

Research Areas

Biosynthesis and regulation of secondary metabolites in medicinal plants; Resources, biodiversity, geographic distribution and phylogenetics of medicinal plants in the family of Lamiaceae.

Ongoing Research:
1.Biosynthesis and regulation of Phenolic acids in Salvia miltiorrhiza.
2.Transcriptomes and metabolomes of Salvia herbs.
3.Genetic engineering and synthetic biology of active compounds from Salvia plants.

Principal Investigator (PI)
Xiaoya Chen, PhD, Professor, CAS academician.
Tel: 021-54924033,021-67657815
Address: Shanghai Chenshan Plant Science Research Center, 3888 Chenhua Road, Songjiang District, Shanghai 201602

Xiaoya Chen,
Ph.D., Principle Investigator. He was nominated as a CAS member in 2005, TWAS member in 2008 and is currently serving as director of Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden, director of Shanghai Chenshan Plant Science Research Center, Chairman of Standing Committee of Chinese Society of Plant Biology (CSPB).

Dr. Chen is interested in plant secondary metabolism, and his early academic career was devoted to plant taxonomy. His group has conducted in-depth study of terpene biosynthesis and regulation in several plant species, including cotton, Artemisia annua, Arabidopsis thaliana, and Salvia spp. He has made an important contribution to elucidation of gossypol biosynthesis pathway. Based on an insect model of cotton bollworm (Heliothis armigera), his group has made a technology breakthrough in developing plant-mediated RNA interference, which can effectively and specifically suppress the gene expressions herbivorous insects. Dr. Chen has hitherto more than 100 publications, the majority in prestigious journals, including Nature Biotechnology, Nature communication, Plant Cell, Plant Journal, Plant Physiology, etc. He has applied 14 invention patents. Among them, 7 have been authorized.

Jingjing Xu
Tel: 021-37792288*622
Lei Yang
Senior Engineer 
Tel: 021-37792288-913
Yujiao Yan
Research Assistant 
Tel: 021-37792288-518


Xiaojie Zhu

  1. Xin Fang, Chen-Yi Li, Yue Yang, Meng-Ying Cui, Xiao-Ya Chen and Lei Yang*. Identification of a novel (-)-5-epieremophilene synthase from Salvia miltiorrhiza via transcriptome mining. Frontiers in Plant Science. 2017. 8:627.

  2. Ying-Bo Mao, Yao-Qian Liu, Dian-Yang Chen, Fang-Yan Chen, Xin Fang, Gao-Jie Hong, Ling-Jian Wang, Jia-Wei Wang, Xiao-Ya Chen*. Jasmonate response decay and defense metabolite accumulation contributes to age-regulated dynamics of plant insect resistance. Nature Communications. 2017. 8:13925.

  3. Lu-Men Chao, Yao-Qian Liu, Dian-Yang Chen, Xue-Yi Xue, Ying-Bo Mao, Xiao-Ya Chen*. Arabidopsis Transcription Factors SPL1 and SPL12 Confer Plant Thermotolerance at Reproductive Stage. Molecular Plant. 2017.10:735-748.

  4. Xin Fang, Jian-Xu Li, Jin-quan Huang, You-Li Xiao, Peng Zhang and Xiao-Ya Chen*. Systematic identification of functional residues of Artemisia annua amorpha-4,11-diene synthase. Biochemical Journal. 2017. 474:2191-2202.

  5. Qing Zhao, Xiao-Ya Chen*. Development: A new function of plant trichomes. Nature Plants. 2016. 2(7).

  6. Lei Yang, Changqing Yang, Chenyi Li, Qing Zhao, Ling Liu, Xin Fang, Xiao-Ya Chen*. Recent advances in biosynthesis of bioactive compounds in traditional Chinese medicinal plants. Science Bulletin. 2016. 61(1):3-17.

  7. Qing Zhao, Xiao-Ya Chen, Cathie Martin. Scutellaria baicalensis, the golden herb from the garden of Chinese medicinal plants. Science Bulletin.2016.61(18):1391-1398.

  8. Yu Kong, Yu-Kun Wei, Yan-Bo Huang. Comparative Analysis of Tanshinones Content in the roots of Six Salvia L. Species by HPLC-DAD. Journal of Chinese Medicinal Materials. 2016. 1: 131-133.

  9. Zong-xia Yu, Ling-jian Wang, Bo Zhao, Chun-min Shan, Yu-hua Zhang, Dong-fang Chen, Xiao-Ya Chen*. Progressive Regulation of Sesquiterpene Biosynthesis in Arabidopsis and Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) by the miR156-Targeted SPL Transcription Factors. Molecular Plant.2015. 8:98-110.

  10. Yu-Kun Wei*, Jian-Xu Li, Wen-Li Hu, Chang-Qing Yang, Ling-Jian Wang*. Isolation and characterization of AaAER, a novel double bond reductase from Artemisia annuaJournal of  Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology. 2015. 24(3): 331-337.

  11. Yan-Bo Huang, Yu-Kun Wei, Qi Wang, Yue-E Xiao, Xi-Yang Ye. Floral morphology and pollination mechanism of Salvia liguliloba, a narrow endemic species with degraded lever-like stamens. Chinese Journal of Plant Ecology. 2015. 39 (7): 753–761.

  12. Qi Wang, Yu-Kun Wei, Yan-Bo Huang. Research on distribution pattern of Subg.Salvia Benth.(Lamiaceae), an important group of medicinal plants in East Asia, Acta Ecologica Sinica. 2015. 35(5):1470-1479.

  13. Yu-Kun Wei, Yan-Bo Huang, Qi Wang. Species diversity and distribution of Salvia (Lamiaceae),  Biodiversity Science.2015. 23(1): 3-10.

  14. Lei Yang, Xiao-ju Zhao, Hong Zhu, Matthew Paul, Yuan-gang Zu and Zhong-hua Tang*. Exogenous trehalose largely alleviates ionic unbalance, ROS burst, and PCD occurrence induced by high salinity in Arabidopsis seedlings. Frontiers in Plant Science. 2014. 5:570.

  15. Yan-Bo Huang, Yu-Kun Wei, Bin-jie Ge, Qi Wang. Pollination Mechanisms of genus Salvia  (Lamiaceae) in East Asia (China), Acta Ecologica Sinica. 2014. 34(9):2282-2289.

  16. Lei Yang, Guo-Hui Ding, Hai-Yan Lin, Hai-Ning Cheng, Yu Kong, Yu-Kun Wei, Xin Fang, Renyi Liu, Ling-Jian Wang, Xiao-Ya Chen and Chang-Qing Yang. Transcriptome analysis of medicinal plant Salvia miltiorrhiza and identification of genes related to tanshinone biosynthesis. PLOS ONE. 2013. 8(11):e80464.

  17. Juan Guo, Yongjin J. Zhou, Matthew L. Hillwig, Ye Shen, Lei Yang, Yajun Wang, Xianan Zhang, Wujun Liu, Reuben J. Peters, Xiaoya Chen, Zongbao K. Zhao and Luqi Huang. CYP76AH1 catalyzes turnover of miltiradiene in tanshinones biosynthesis and enables heterologous production of ferruginol in yeasts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2013. 110(29):12108-13.

  18. Jianjun Sun, Fei Xia, Langjun Cui, Jian Liang, Zhezhi Wang, Yukun Wei. Characteristics of foliar fungal endophyte assemblages and host effective components in Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 2013. DOI: 10.1007/s00253-013-5300-4.