Prof. Chengshu Wang

Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences,

Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, CAS

300 Fenglin Road, Shanghai 200032


Research Areas

There are about one thousand of known fungal species capable of killing insects, most of which are ascomycetous fungi. The species like Metarhizium anisopliae, M. robertsii, M. acridum  and Beauveria bassiana have been developed as environmentally  friendly biological control agents against different insect pests. The species of Cordyceps militaris and C. sinensis (syn.  Ophiocordyceps sinensis), however, are best known as traditional Chinese Medicines that have been used for hundreds of years in Eastern countries. We are studying the genetics, evolution, populationg genetics and chemical biology of these fungi.


09/1998-07/2001, Ph D in Microbiology, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China.
09/1993-07/1996, MSc in Plant Protection, Anhui Agricultural Unversity, Hefei, China.
09/1989-07/1993, BSc in Plant Protection, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei, China.


06/2020-,            Professor/Principal Investigator at the Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences, Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, CAS

01/2007-05/2020, Professor/Principal Investigator at Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, CAS

01/2004-12/2006, Research associate (postdoc) at Department of Entomology, University of Maryland.

07/2001-12/2003, Research associate (postdoc) at School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales Swansea, UK.

08/1999–09/2000, Visiting scholar supported by China Scholarship Council, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales Swansea, UK.


1.      Mei LJ, Chen MJ, Shang YF, Tang GR, Tao Y, Zeng L, Huang B, Li ZZ, Zhan S*, Wang CS*. 2020. Population genomics and evolution of a fungal pathogen after releasing exotic strains to control insect pests for 20 years. ISME J, doi: 10.1038/s41396-020-0620-8.

2.      Huang W, Hong S, Tang GR, Lu YZ, Wang CS*. 2019. Unveiling the function and regulation control of the DUF3129 family proteins in fungal infection of hosts. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 374(1767): 20180321. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2018.0321

3.      Yang XQ, Feng P, Yin Y, Bushley K, Spatafora JW, Wang CS*. 2018. Cyclosporine biosynthesis in Tolypocladium inflatum benefits fungal adaptation to the environment. mBio, 9(5):e01211-18.

4.      Wang CS*, Wang SB. 2017. Insect pathogenic fungi: genomics, molecular interactions, and genetic improvements. Annual Review of Entomology, 62: 73-90.

5.      Xia YL, Luo FF, Shang YF, Chen PL, Lu YZ, Wang CS*. 2017. Fungal cordycepin biosynthesis is coupled with the production of the safeguard molecule pentostatin. Cell Chemical Biology, 24: 1479-1489.

6.      Cen K, Li B, Lu YZ, Zhang SW, Wang CS*. 2017. Divergent LysM effectors contribute to the virulence of Beauveria bassiana by evasion of insect immune defenses. PLoS Pathogens, 13(9): e1006004.

7.      Feng P, Shang YF, Cen K, Wang CS*. 2015. Fungal biosynthesis of the bibenzoquinone oosporein to evade insect immunity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 112(36): 11365-11370.

8.      Shang YF, Feng P, Wang CS*. 2015. Fungi that infect insects: altering host behavior and beyond. PLoS Pathogens, 11(8): e1005037.

9.      Hu X, Xiao GH, Zheng P, Shang YF, Su Y, Zhang XY, Liu XZ, Zhan S, St. Leger RJ, Wang CS*. 2014. Trajectory and genomic determinants of fungal-pathogen speciation and host adaptation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 111(47): 16796-16801.

10.    Li L, Hu X, Xia YL, Xiao GH, Zheng P, Wang CS.* 2014. Linkage of oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunctions to spontaneous culture degeneration in Aspergillus nidulans. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, 13(2): 449-461.

11.    Duan ZB, Chen YX, Huang W, Shang YF, Chen PL, Wang CS*. 2013. Linkage of autophagy to fungal development, lipid storage and virulence in Metarhizium robertsii. Autophagy, 9(4): 538-549.

12.    Wang B, Kang QJ, Lu YZ, Bai LQ, Wang CS*. 2012. Unveiling the biosynthetic puzzle of destruxins in Metarhizium species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 109(4): 1287-1292.

13.    Zheng P, Xia YL, Xiao GH, Xiong CH, Zhang SW, Zheng HJ, Huang Y, Zhou Y, Wang SY, Zhao G-P. Liu XZ, St. Leger RJ, Wang CS*. 2011. Genome sequence of the insect pathogenic fungus Cordyceps militaris, a valued traditional Chinese medicine. Genome Biology, 12(11): R116.

14.    Gao Q, Jin K, Ying S-H, Zhang YJ, Xiao GH, Shang YF, Duan ZB, Hu X, Xie XQ, Zhou G, Peng GX, Luo ZB, Huang W, Wang B, Fang WG, Wang SB, Zhong Y, Ma L-J, St. Leger RJ, Zhao G-P, Pei Y, Feng M-G*, Xia YX*, Wang CS*. 2011. Genome sequencing and comparative transcriptomics of the model entomopathogenic fungi Metarhizium anisopliae and M. acridum. PLoS Genetics, 7(1): e1001264.

15.    Wang CS*, St Leger RJ*. 2007. A scorpion neurotoxin increases the potency of a fungal insecticide. Nature Biotechnology 25(12):1455-1456.

16.    Wang CS, St Leger RJ*. 2006. A collagenous protective coat enables Metarhizium anisopliae to evade insect immune responses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 103(17): 6647-6652.

Research Interests

Our group is mainly focused on the studies of these fungi at genomics, transcriptomics and functional genomics levels to  understand the strategies/mechanisms employed by the fungi to interact with their insect hosts. We      sequenced/are sequencing more than 18 species of insect pathogenic  ascomycetes and the phylogenomical analyses indicate that fungal entomopathogenicity  has evolved  multiple times, but with a similar  expansion of  protease and chitinase protein families, an indication of  convergent evolution during fungal adaptation to  insect hosts. Gene function studies are  focused, in particular, to the receptors, effectors and transcription factors putatively involved in the fungus-insect interactions. We are  also interested in exploring the functions of those genes responsible for the biosynthesis of bioactive secondary metabolites and fungal sexuality control in insect pathogenic fungi. Based on the understanding of fungal molecular pathogenesis, genetic engineering of insect pathogenic fungi will be conducted to improve the  control efficacies of mycoinsecticides.


19-22/9/2019   Invited, session Chair and keynote speaker at the 10th International Medicinal Mushroom Conference, held at Nantong, China. Talk title: Genetics and chemical biology of the medicinal Cordyceps fungi.

28/7-1/8/2019  Invited and joined the International Congress on Invertebrate Pathology and Microbial Control & 52nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology, held at Valencia, Spain.

11-17/3/2019   Invited Concurrent session Chair and speaker at the 30th Fungal Genetics Conference, Pacific Grove, CA, USA. Talk title: “Fungus-insect interactions mediated by small molecules.”

13-16/11/2018 Invited plenary speaker at the 9st International Conference on Mushroom Biology and Mushroom Products, Shanghai China. Talk title: “Evolution and comparative genomics of the Cordyceps fungi”.

5-8/09/2018   Invited keynote speaker at the 3rd Asian Invertebrate Immunity Symposium, Fukuoka, Japan. Talk title: “Molecular and chemical interactions between fungi and insects”.

16-22/7/2018  Program committee member, Invited plenary speaker at the 11th International Mycological Congress, San Juan, PR, USA. Presentation title: “From one to many: Genomics and population genetics of fungal adaptation to hosts”.

14-16/05/2018  Invited plenary speaker at the 1st International Congress of Biological Control, Beijing, China. Talk title: “Genetic understanding and improvements of insect biocontrol fungi”.

25-28/2/2018    Invited plenary speaker at the 14th European Conference on Fungal Genetics, Haifa, Israel. Presentation title: “Genetics and Molecular biology of fungus-insect interactions”.

10-13/10/2017  Invited Session speaker at the Asian Mycological Congress, Hochiminh City, Vietnam, Talk title: “Comparative genomics and evolution of fungal entomopathogenicity”.

17-21/8/2017    Co-organizer and session speaker at the 5th International Conference on Biotic Plant Interaction, Xiamen, China. Talk title: “Genetics and metabolic responses of fungus-insect interactions”.

2-4/8/2017       Plenary speaker at the 13th Cross-Strait Mycological Symposium, Dalian, China. Talk title: “Comparative genomic analyses of Cordyceps species”.

7-12/5/2017      Keynote speaker at the 2nd International Symposium on Fungal Stress, Goiania, Brazil. Talk title: “Oxidative stress and fungal culture degeneration: cause or effect?”

16-20/10/2016   Session speaker at the 13th International Symposium on the Genetics of Industrial Microorganisms, Wuhan, China. Talk title: “Genetic potentials of bioactive molecule productions in Cordyceps fungi”.

24/9-1/10/2016   Concurrent Session speaker at XXV International Congress of Entomology, Orlando, Florida, USA. Talk titles: “Co-evolution and interactions between the insects and fungi” and “Genomic and molecular features in fungi to interact with insects”.

24-28/07/2016   Session speaker at the 2016 SIMB (Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology) Annual Meeting. New Orleans, LA, USA. Talk title: “Biosynthesis of bioactive molecules in the medicinal insect pathogenic fungi”

6-8/11/2015   Plenary Talk: “Secondary metabolic mechanisms of insect pathogenic fungi”. The 12th Cross-Strait Mycological Symposium, Tunghai University, Taichung, Taiwan.


23-25/10/2015  Keynote Speaker at the 2015 Annual Meeting of Chinese Society for Microbiology, Yichang, China. Talk title: “Genome evolution and secondary metabolisms of insect pathogenic fungi”.


20-22/9/2015   Organizer and keynote speaker at the 2015 Mycological Society of China Annual Meeting, Shanghai, China. Presentation title: Phenotypes and mechanisms of fungal culture degeneration.

17-22/3/2015    Plenary Talk: “Fungus-insect interactions: Genomics and molecular biology”. The 28th Fungal Genetics Conference, Pacific Grove, CA, USA.