Nanjing University, China

Dr. Xiaowei Zhang is Professor of Environmental Toxicology at Nanjing University, where he also served as the Director of the Research Centre on Environmental Safety of Chemicals. Dr. Zhang’s research focuses on development...

of omics-based science and technologies to improve the monitoring and assessment of ecological and health risks by environment chemicals. He regularly advises national and international organizations on issues relating to chemical impacts on the environment, including on the Steering Committee of AOP and Omics advisory groups of Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). Dr. Zhang has published over 120 SCI journal publication with an h-index of 32. He has won many national and international awards, including SETAC/Elsevier Best Paper Award (North America) and Young Changjiang Scholar from Ministry of Education China.



Omics advances in Ecotoxicology

Xiaowei Zhang1, *

1 State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control & Resource Reuse, School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China

Toxic substances in the environment generate adverse effects at all levels of biological organization from the molecular level to community and ecosystem. Given this complexity, it is not surprising that ecotoxicologists have struggled to address the full consequences of toxic substance release at ecosystem level, due to the limits of observational and experimental tools to reveal the changes in deep structure at different levels of organization. -Omics technologies, consisting of genomics and ecogenomics, have the power to reveal, in unprecedented detail, the cellular processes of an individual or biodiversity of a community in response to environmental change with high sample/observation throughput. This represents a historic opportunity to transform the way we study toxic substances in ecosystems, through direct linkage of ecological effects with the systems biology of organisms. Three recent examples of -omics advance in the assessment of toxic substances are explored here: 1) the use of functional genomics in the discovery of novel molecular mechanisms of toxicity of chemicals in the environment; 2) the development of laboratory pipelines of dose-dependent, reduced transcriptomics to support high-throughput chemical testing at the biological pathway level; and 3) the use of eDNA metabarcoding approaches for assessing chemical effects on biological communities in mesocosm experiments and through direct observation in field monitoring. -Omics advances in ecotoxicological studies not only generate new knowledge regarding mechanisms of toxicity and environmental effect, improving the relevance and immediacy of laboratory toxicological assessment, but can provide a wholly new paradigm for ecotoxicology by linking ecological models to mechanism-based, systems biology approaches.



  1. Xia, P.; Zhang, X.; Zhang, H.; Wang, P.; Tian, M.; Yu, H., Benchmarking Water Quality from Wastewater to Drinking Waters Using Reduced Transcriptome of Human Cells. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2017, 51, (16), 9318-9326.
  2. Wang, P.; Xia, P.; Yang, J.; Wang, Z.; Peng, Y.; Shi, W.; Villeneuve, D. L.; Yu, H.; Zhang, X., A Reduced Transcriptome Approach to Assess Environmental Toxicants Using Zebrafish Embryo Test. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2018, 52, (2), 821-830.
  3. Zhang, X.; Xia, P.; Wang, P.; Yang, J.; Baird, D. J., Omics Advances in Ecotoxicology. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2018.