Research associate


I am interested in the molecular and biochemical mechanisms of whitefly interactions with begomoviruses and plants as well as the interactions between cryptic species of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci species complex. To reveal the mechanisms underlying the various interactions, a multifaceted approach involving transcriptomics, metabolomics, reverse genetics and ecological methods has been applied. For the whitefly-begomovirus interactions, immune and metabolic response of whiteflies to the begomoviruses has been analyzed. For the whitefly-begomovirus-plant interactions, plant defense responses and insect detoxification activities have been investigated. For the whitefly mating interactions, previous work during my Ph.D. study revealed the asymmetric mating interactions between these closely related species. Currently, the role of sex pheromone in mating interactions between whiteflies is being studied. For the whitefly development, the function of ecdysone pathway genes has been explored using newly developed gene silencing method. In addition, to facilitate the molecular research in whiteflies and more broadly in hemipteran insects, I studied transcriptome of three whitefly species and salivary glands of whiteflies jointly with other members in our lab. Currently, I am also developing multiple methods of gene silencing in whiteflies.

I have been awarded the Distinguished Young Scientist Award by The Entomological Society of China and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem–China scholarship council joint scholarship in 2011.

As part of a strategic plan to promote long-term collaboration between this laboratory and the laboratory led by Professor Angela Douglas in Cornell University ( am currently working as Research Associate at Cornell, and I focus on whitefly symbiosis and reverse genetics


Luan JB, Shan HW, Isermann P, Huang JH, Lammerding J, Liu SS, Douglas AE. 2016. Cellular and molecular remodeling of a host cell for vertical transmission of bacterial symbionts. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences. 283: 20160580. 

Luan JB, Chen WB, Hasegawa DK, Simmons AM, Wintermantel WM, Ling KS, Fei ZJ, Liu SS, Douglas AE. 2015. Metabolic coevolution in the bacterial symbiosis of whiteflies and related plant sap-feeding insects. Genome Biology and Evolution, 7, 2635–2647. 

Luan JB, Wang XW, Colvin J. and Liu SS (2014) Plant-mediated whitefly-begomovirus interactions: research progress and future prospects. Bulletin of Entomological Research 104: 267-276.

Luan JB, Wang YL, Wang J, Wang XW and Liu SS (2013) Detoxification activity and energy cost is attenuated in the whiteflies feeding on begomovirus-infected tobacco plants. Insect Molecular Biology22, 597-607.

Luan JB, Ghanim, M, Liu SS, Czosnek H (2013) Silencing the ecdysone synthesis and signaling pathway genes disrupts nymphal development in the whitefly. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 43, 740-746.

Luan JB, Yao DM, Zhang T, Walling LL, Yang M, Wang YJ and Liu SS (2013) Suppression of terpenoid synthesis in plants by a virus promotes its mutualism with vectors. Ecology Letters, 16, 390–398.

Wang YL, Wang YJ, Luan JB, Yan GH, Liu SS and Wang XW (2013) Global analysis of the transcriptional differences between indigenous and invasive whiteflies reveals possible mechanisms of whitefly invasion. PLoS ONE 8(5):e62176.

Zhang T*, Luan JB*, Qi JF, Huang CJ, Li M, Zhou XP and Liu SS (2012) Begomovirus-whitefly mutualism is achieved through repression of plant defenses by a virus pathogenicity factor. Molecular Ecology 21, 1294–1304. * First co-authors. Equal contribution.

Luan JB, De Barro PJ, Ruan YM and Liu SS (2012) Distinct behavioural strategies underlying asymmetric mating interactions between invasive and indigenous whiteflies. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 146, 186–194.

Luan JB, Xu J, Lin KK, Zalucki MP and Liu SS (2012) Species exclusion between an invasive and an indigenous whitefly on host plants with differential levels of suitability. Journal of Integrative Agriculture 11, 101–105.

Wang XX, Zhao QY, Luan JB, Wang YJ, Yan GH and Liu SS (2012) Analysis of a native whitefly transcriptome and its sequence divergence with two invasive whitefly species. BMC Genomics 13, 529.

Su YL, Li JM, Li M, Luan JB, Ye XD, Wang XW and Liu SS (2012) Transcriptomic analysis of the salivary glands of an invasive whitefly. PLoS ONE 7, e39303.

Luan JB, Li JM, Varela N, Wang YL, Li FF, Bao YY, Zhang CX, Liu SS and Wang XW (2011) Global analysis of the transcriptional response of whitefly to Tomato yellow leaf curl China virus reveals their relationship of coevolved adaptations. Journal of Virology 85, 3330–3340. (appeared on journal cover).

Luan JB and Liu SS (2011) Differences in mating behavior lead to asymmetric mating interactions and consequential changes in sex ratio between an invasive and an indigenous whitefly. Integrative Zoology 7, 1–15.

Wang XW*, Luan JB*, Li JM, Su YL, Xia J and Liu SS (2011) Transcriptome analysis and comparison reveal divergence between two invasive whitefly cryptic species. BMC Genomics 12, 458. * First co-authors. Equal contribution.

Luan JB and Liu SS (2011) Behavioral mechanisms in animal invasions. Journal of Biosafety 20, 29–36. (in Chinese with English summary).

Sun DB, Xu J, Luan JB and Liu SS (2011) Reproductive incompatibility between the B and Q biotypes of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci in China: genetic and behavioural evidence. Bulletin of Entomological Research 101, 211–220.

Sun DB, Luan JB and Liu SS (2011) Leaf substrates determine oviposition and in turn frequency of copulation in the whitefly Bemisia tabaci. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 139, 180–185.

Wang XW. Luan JB, Li JM, Bao YY, Zhang CX and Liu SS (2010) De novo characterization and comparison of the whitefly transcriptomes reveals genes associated with development and insecticide resistance. BMC Genomics 11, 400.

Luan JB and Liu SS (2010) Roles of vector-virus-plant interactions in biological invasions. Biodiversity Science 18, 598–604. (in Chinese with English summary).

Luan JB, Ruan YM, Zhang L, De Barro PJ and Liu SS (2008) Pre-copulation intervals, copulation frequencies, and initial progeny sex ratios in two biotypes of whitefly, Bemisia tabaci. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 129, 316–324.

Liu SS, De Barro PJ, Xu J, Luan JB, Zang LS, Ruan YM and Wan FH (2007) Asymmetric mating interactions between closely related organisms drive widespread invasion and displacement. Science 318, 1769–1772.

Ruan YM, Luan JB, Zang LS and Liu SS (2007) Observing and recording copulation events of whiteflies on plants using a video camera. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 124, 229–233.