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Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies

Kentaro Shimizu

Research interests

Molecular basis of biodiversity, speciation by genome duplication (polyploidy), language evolution, evolution of mating systems and self-incompatibility, evolutionary and ecological genomics for predicting evolutionary and plastic responses in changing environments. The study species include Arabidopsis relatives as model species, wheat as a crop species, tropical trees as environmentally relevant species, and human beings. To study them, new bioinformatic tools (e.g. HomeoRoq for polyploid RNA-seq), machine learning tools (e.g. PlantServation for field plant images) and database (e.g., GeLaTo, GEnes and LAnguages TOgether) are developed.


Education and professional positions

2021 - present Co-director of the University Research Priority Program of Evolution in Action, link
2019 - present Full Professor, Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland
2016 - present Director of PhD Program in Evolutionary Biology
2015 NISTEP Award (Award for nice step researchers) from the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan
2015 - present Guest Professor at the Kihara Institute for Biological Research, Yokohama City University, Japan
2015 Visiting Professor at the Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University, Japan
2015 - present Swiss representative of the Multinational Arabidopsis Steering Committee
2011 - 2018 Associate Professor, Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland
2006 - 2011 Assistant Professor, Institute of Plant Biology, University of Zurich, Switzerland
2003 - 2006 Research Scholar, Department of Genetics, North Carolina State University, USA
2002 - 2003 Postdoctoral fellow, Kyoto University, Japan
1997 - 2002 Graduate studies (Ph.D.) in Biology, Kyoto University, Japan
1993 - 1997 Undergraduate studies (B.S.) in Biology, Kyoto University, Japan

Selected publications

See complete publication list on Google Scholar.

  • Barbieri C., Blasi DE., Arango-Isaza E., Sotiropoulos AG., Hammarström H., Wichmann S., Greenhill SJ., Gray RD., Forkel R., Bickel B., Shimizu KK. (2022). A global analysis of matches and mismatches between human genetic and linguistic histories. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119:47. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2122084119
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  • Tsuchimatsu T., Kakui H., Yamazaki M., Marona C., Tsutsui H., Hedhly A., Meng D., Sato Y., Städler T., Grossniklaus U., Kanaoka MM., Lenhard M., Nordborg M., Shimizu KK. (2020). Adaptive reduction of male gamete number in the selfing plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Nature Communications 11: 2885. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16679-7
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  • Walkowiak S., et al. (2020). Spotlight on global wheat genome variation and impact for modern breeding. Nature 588; 277-283. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2961-x
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  • Paape T., Briskine RV., Lischer HEL., Halstead-Nussloch G., Shimizu-Inatsugi R., Hatakeyama M., Tanaka K., Nishiyama T., Sabirov R., Sese J., Shimizu KK. (2018). Patterns of polymorphism and selection in the subgenomes of the allopolyploid Arabidopsis kamchatica. Nature Communications 9: 3909. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-06108-1
    Nature Link
  • Tsuchimatsu T., Suwabe K., Shimizu-Inatsugi R., Isokawa S., Pavilidis P., Städler T., Suzuki G., Takayama S., Watanabe M., Shimizu KK. (2010). Evolution of self-compatibility in Arabidopsis by a mutation in the male specificity gene. Nature, 464, 1342-1346. DOI: 10.1038/nature08927

Weiterführende Informationen

Kentaro K. Shimizu

Kentaro K. Shimizu

Full Professor / Vice Director

Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
University of Zurich
Winterthurerstrasse 190
8057 Zurich

Office: Y13-J-76
Phone: +41 44 635 6740

UZH news

Media news

Public talk "Gene Technology and Climate Change" for Daiwa foundation seminar 2021
TV program by NHK World (in English)
Exploring the Mystery of Plant Diversity - Evolutionary Biologist, Kentaro Shimizu 
According to Nikkei Business, Kentaro Shimizu is one of the 50 Japanese who move the world.
Science Channel by Japan Science and Technology Agency. “Mystery of evolution studied by whole genome analysis” (Caption in English, spoken in Japanese).
9-17 Mar 2015 (seven chapters). National Geogaphic Web reported Series Visiting laboratories: Prof. Dr. Kentaro Shimizu, Evolutionary and Ecological Genomics, University of Zurich (in Japanese reported by Hiroto Kawabata)

Recent publications

Shimizu KK., et al. (2020). De Novo Genome Assembly of the Japanese Wheat Cultivar Norin 61 Highlights Functional Variation in Flowering Time and Fusarium Resistance Genes in East Asian Genotypes. Plant and Cell Physiology, 62(1), 8-27. DOI: 10.1093/pcp/pcaa152
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