Jianmin Zhong Ph.D.

Professor - Microbiology and Cellular and Molecular Biology

Photo of Jianmin Zhong
(707) 826-5554
SciB 220

I grew up in Shanghai China and received my Ph.D. degree from University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Specialty Area

To uncover the nature of tick-bacteria symbiosis and tick-pathogen interactions


Postdoctoral, 2006, University of California, Irvine
Ph.D., 2001, University of Tennessee Health Science Center
MS, 1991, Shanghai Medical College Fudan University
BS, 1988, Shanghai Medical College Fudan University

Courses Taught

General Microbiology
Principles of Biology
Medical Microbiology
Supervised Internship for Pre-Professional health


Tick-borne diseases continue to cause severe illness and death in otherwise healthy adults and children, thus tick control remains as a major challenge on a global basis. Our lab is to use microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetic approaches to uncover the nature of tick-bacteria symbiosis and tick-pathogen interactions. The outcomes of our studies will give insights on designing novel tick control measures with an ultimate goal of decreasing incidence of tick-borne diseases.


# HSU undergraduate student * HSU graduate studentĀ 

  • Bodnar, J*, Fitch, S#, Sanchez, J#, Lesser, M#, Baston, DS, and Zhong, J. 2020. GTP Cyclohydrolase I Activity from Rickettsia monacensis Strain Humboldt, a Rickettsial Endosymbiont of Ixodes pacificus. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 4(4):280-287.
  • Alowaysi M*, Chen J*, Stark S#, Teague K*, LaCourse M*, Proctor J#, Vigil K*, Corrigan J*, Harding A#, Li L#, Kurtti T, and Zhong J. 2019. Isolation and Characterization of a Rickettsia from the Ovary of a Western Blacklegged Tick, Ixodes pacificus. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 10(4):918-923.
  • Bodnar JL*, Fitch S#, Rosati A#, Zhong J. 2018. The folA gene from the Rickettsia endosymbiont of Ixodes pacificus encodes a functional dihydrofolate reductase enzyme. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 9(3): 443-449.
  • Bagheri G*, Lehner JD#, Zhong J. 2017. Enhanced detection of Rickettsia species in Ixodes pacificus using highly sensitive fluorescence in situ hybridization coupled with Tyramide Signal Amplification. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 8(6):915-921.
  • Hunter DJ#, Torkelson JL*, Bodnar J*, Mortazavi JB, Laurent T#, Deason J#, Thephavongsa K#, and Zhong J. 2015. The rickettsia endosymbiont of Ixodes pacificus contains all the genes of de novo folate biosynthesis. PLOS ONE. 10(12):e0144552.
  • Wu D., Kou J., Zhang H., Zhou H., Monagin C., Zhong J., Huang P., Ke C. and Lin J. 2015. Scrub typhus, a disease with increasing threat in Guangdong, China. PLOS One. 10(2):e0113968.
  • Kurlovs AH*, Li J#, Cheng D#, Zhong J. 2014. Ixodes pacificus ticks maintain embryogenesis and egg hatching after antibiotic treatment of Rickettsia endosymbiont. PLoS One. 9(8):e104815.
  • Cheng D#, Lane RS, Moore BD*, Zhong J. 2013. Host blood meal-dependent growth ensures transovarial transmission and transstadial passage of Rickettsia sp. phylotype G021 in the western black-legged tick (Ixodes pacificus). Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 4(5):421-6.
  • Cheng D#, Vigil K*, Schanes P#, Brown RN, Zhong J. 2013. Prevalence and burden of two rickettsial phylotypes (G021 and G022) in Ixodes pacificus from California by real-time quantitative PCR. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 4(4):280-7.
  • Cheng D#, Lane RS, and Zhong J. 2012. Field and laboratory studies on the transmission of the spotted fever group Rickettsia sp. phylotype G021 by the western black-legged tick (Ixodes pacificus). Proc Pap Annu Conf Calif Mosq Control Assoc. 80:123-127.
  • Phan JN#, Lu CR, Bender WG#, Smoak RM 3rd#, Zhong J. 2011. Molecular detection and identification of Rickettsia species in Ixodes pacificus in California. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 11(7):957-61.
  • Zhong J, Jasinskas A, and Barbour AG. 2007. Antibiotic Treatment of the Tick Vector Amblyomma americanum Reduced Reproductive Fitness. PLoS ONE. 2:e405.
  • Jasinskas A, Zhong J, and Barbour AG. 2007. Highly prevalent Coxiella sp. bacterium in the tick vector Amblyomma americanum. Appl Environ Microbiol. 73(1): 334-336.
  • Zhong J, Skouloubris S, Dai Q, Myllykallio H, and Barbour AG. 2006. Function and evolution of plasmid-borne genes for pyrimidine biosynthesis in Borrelia spp. J Bacteriol. 188(3):909-918.
  • Zhong J and Barbour AG. 2004. Cross-species Hybridization of a Borrelia burgdorferi DNA Array Reveals Infection- and Culture-associated Genes of the Unsequenced Genome of the Relapsing Fever Agent Borrelia hermsii. Mol Microbiol. 51(3):729-748.
  • Putteet-Driver AD, Zhong J, Barbour AG. 2004. Transgenic Expression of RecA of the Spirochetes Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia hermsii in Escherichia coli Revealed Differences in DNA Repair and Recombination Phenotypes. J Bacteriol. 186(8):2266-2274.
  • Zhong J, Douglas AL, and Hatch TP. 2001. Characterization of Integration Host Factor (IHF) Binding Upstream of the Cysteine-Rich Protein operon (omcAB) Promoter of Chlamydia trachomatis LGV Serovar L2. Mol Microbiol. 41: 451-462.

Graduate Students


Erin Trent, Nicholas Woronchuk


Maryam Alowaysi, Ghazaleh Bagheri, Junyan Chen, James Bodnar, Jeremy Corrigan, Brandon Hill, Taylor Howe, Andre Kurlovs, Christina Porras, Jessica Torkelson, Katie Vigil