Guijun Yan

Professor, MSc HebeiAgric., PhD Auck.

  • The University of Western Australia (M084), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


I grew up in one of the most remote country areas in Mainland China in the 1960s. After the Cultural Revolution, I had a chance to take the first entrance examination to the Universities, and I was one of the 200,000 lucky ones out of the 10,000,000 candidates. I started my undergraduate study at the age of 21, majored in agriculture with the aim of improving the living of the billions of peasants (farmers) in rural China.
I completed my undergraduate study in Horticulture in early 1982 and my MSc in Horticulture in 1984. I started my interest in genetics during my MSc study and my thesis was on cytogenetics and taxonomy of Chinese date (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.).
After my graduation, the University where I studied (Hebei Agricultural University) immediately employed me as a Lecturer to teach pomology and to do research on the domestication and breeding of Chinese date. I was also interested in the genetics and breeding of walnuts, apples and other vegetatively propagated perennials.
From early 1992 to mid 1996, I worked and studied for my PhD between HortResearch (formerly DSIR) and The University of Auckland in New Zealand. During those five years, my research was concentrated on kiwifruit breeding and genetics. My PhD supervisors were Associate Professor Brian Murray, Dr. Ross Ferguson and Dr. Mark McNeilage. My PhD research on the cytogenetic and molecular studies of kiwifruit genomes has led to six papers , in international prestigious journals.
As soon as I finished writing up my thesis, I was offered an academic position at the University of Western Australia, and two days after capping on 9th September, 1996, I commenced my present work at the University of Western Australia.

Roles and responsibilities

Plant genetics and breeding
Molecular genetics

Coordinator - AGRI5502

Deputy Leader, Plant Production Systems Program, Institute of Agriculture (2006-2015)

Chair, Ornamental Genetic Resources Working Group, International Society for Horticultural Science (2008-2012)

Future research

Plant genetics and breeding

Funding overview

RIRDC-Leucadendron breeding
FANS-Breeding bush tomatoes
RIRDC-breeding waxflowers
ARC-breeding field pea and wheat
Salinity CRC-Genetics and breeding of Acacia saligna
Ausaid-Molecular genetics of Leucadendron
Ausaid-Cauliflower genetics and production
ARC-Breeding Grevillea and Hakea
ACC-wheat breeding
DIISR-barley and Brassica breeding
GRDC-barley breeding

Previous positions

Feb./09 to Dec./14 - Associate Professor
Feb./06 to Feb./09 - Senior Lecturer
Sept./01 to Jan./06 - Lecturer
Sept. 1996 to Sept. 2001 - Research Fellow. Plant Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, The University of Western Australia.
Dec.1991 to Feb. 1993 - Visiting Scientist. HortResearch, Mt. Albert Research Centre, Auckland. (Formerly DSIR, Fruit and Trees).
Mar. 1985 to Nov. 1991 - Lecturer-Research/Teaching. Department of Horticulture, Agricultural University of Hebei, Baoding, China.

Current projects

Waxflower genetics and breeding
Leucadendron genetics and breeding
Acacia saligna genetics and breeding
Chickpea genetics and breeding
Bush tomato genetics and breeding
Field pea genetics and breeding
Cauliflower genetics and production
Brassica genetics and breeding
Barley genetics and breeding
Wheat genetics and breeding

Industrial relevance

Agriculture, Horticulture, Natural Resource Management

Teaching overview

Principles of Inheritance GENE2250
Plant/Animal Genetics and Breeding AGRI4404/05
Case studies in Genetics and Genomics AGRI5502

I have been involved in coordinating and teaching Introduction to Genetics and Biometrics to second year, Plant and Animal Breeding to third year and Plant Breeding Methodology to fourth year students. I also coordinated 4th year horticulture research projects, Horticultural Science 401 and Work (Farm) Experience for undergraduates of Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Sciences and Natural Resource Management. I also enjoy supervising Honours, Masters and PhD projects.


• Genetics and Plant Breeding
• Molecular phylogenetics
• Cytogenetics
• Molecular genetics



Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Research expertise keywords

  • Molecular genetics
  • Cytogenetics
  • Molecular cytogenetics
  • Molecular phylogenetics
  • Plant genomics and proteomics
  • Horticultural plants
  • Broad acre crops


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