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Miao Sun

Name (Simplified Chinese):Miao Sun
Name (English):Miao Sun
Name (Pinyin):sunmiao
Business Address:Office 326 Southern Building of Horticulture and Forestry Sciences
Degree:Doctoral degree
Professional Title:Professor
Alma Mater:Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Other Contact Information:





Miao Sun is a professor in College of Horticulture and Forestry Sciences Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, Hubei, China. His current research interest is manily focusing on the ornamental plants resouces and genetic breeding, exploring their key innovation characters/traits along their evolution history by taxonomic, phylogenetics, phylogenomics and other comparative bioinformatics approaches, and by so, his team endeavor to  protect the genetic resources and diversity of ornamental plants. 

Miao was born in Suide, Shaanxi, China, known as loess plateau. His last postdoc position was Aarhus University in Denmark. He is also a former Soltis Lab member (as they said, once gator, always gator! 🐊 ). He spent almost five year in Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL). Miao also was a visiting scholar in Dr. Stephen Smith's Lab at University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA).

Miao has keen passion for applying phylogenetic tree as a pivotal framework attempting to solve fundamental issues in biology. Phylogenetic tree is a crucial reference system for biological research. It captures evolutionary relationships among species, linking all the biological data together with an evolutionary context. Miao has published high-profile papers in journals such as Nature, Nature Communications, Systematic Biology, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, etc. He has also served the scientific research community as a reviewer from journals in Global Ecology and Biogeography, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Taxon, etc. Miao is also a member of Botanical Society of America, and a certified Data and Software Carpentry Instructor.

For more details of Miao's research work and experiences, please visit his personal website:

Last not least, we are hiring for research assistant, postdocs, and graduate students. Please contact me via miaosun@mail"dot"hzau"dot"edu"dot"cn or 🐦 "@Miao_the_Sun".

Selected publications:

1. Carruthers T, Sun M , Baker WJ, Smith SA, de Vos JM, Wolf L. Eiserhardt WL. (2021) The implications of topological incongruence between gene trees and the species tree for divergence time estimation. Systematic Biology, syac012. doi:10.1093/sysbio/syac012.

2. Sun M*, Folk FA*, Gitzendanner MA, Soltis PS, Chen ZD, Soltis DE, Guralnick RP. (2020). Recent, accelerated diversification in rosids occurred outside the tropics. Nature Communications 11: 3333. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-17116-5.

3. Sun M*, Folk FA*, Gitzendanner MA, Soltis PS, Chen ZD, Soltis DE, Guralnick RP. (2020). Estimating rates and patterns of diversification with incomplete sampling: A case study in the rosids. American Journal of Botany 107(6): 1–15. doi: 10.1002/ajb2.1479.

4. Sun M, Solits DE, Soltis PS, Zhu XY, Burleigh GJ, Chen ZD. (2015) Deep phylogenetic incongruence in the angiosperm clade RosidaeMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 83: 156–166.

5. Lu LM*, Mao L*, Yang T*, Ye JF*, Liu B,* Li HL*, Sun M*, Miller JT, Mathews S, Hu HH, Niu YT, Peng DX, Chen YH, Smith SA, Chen M, Xiang KL, Le CT, Dang VC, Lu AM, Soltis PS, Soltis DE, Li JH, Chen ZD. (2018). Evolutionary history of the angiosperm flora of China. Nature 554: 234–238. doi: 10.1038/nature25485.

6. Sun M, Naeem R, Su JX, Burleigh GJ, Solits DE, Soltis PS, Chen ZD. (2016) Phylogeny of the Rosidae: A dense taxon sampling analysis. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 54(4): 363–391.

7. Sun M, Lin Q. (2010) A revision of Elaeagnus L. (Elaeagnaceae) in mainland China. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 48(5): 356–390.

8. Lichman BR, Godden GT, Hamilton JP, Lira Palmer L, Kamileen MO, Zhao D, Vaillancourt B, Wood J, Sun M, Henry LK, Lopez CR, Dudareva N, Soltis DE, Soltis PS, Buell CR, O’Connor SE. (2020). The evolutionary origins of the cat attractant nepetalactone in catnip. Science Advances 6: eaba0721. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aba0721.

9. Yang T, Tedersoo L, Soltis PS, Soltis DE, Gilbert JA, Sun M, Shi Y, Wang HF, Li YT, Zhang J, Chen ZD, Lin HY, Zhao YP, Fu CX, Chu HY. (2018). Phylogenetic imprint of woody plants on the soil mycobiome in natural mountain forests of eastern China. The ISME Journal 13: 686–697. doi: 10.1038/s41396-018-0303-x.

10. Mu XY, Sun M, Yang PF, Lin QW. (2017) Unveiling the identity of Wenwan walnuts and phylogenetic relationships of Asian Juglans species using restriction Site-associated DNA-sequencing. Frontiers in Plant Science (8): 1708. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.01708.

11. Hodel RG, Segovia-Salcedo MC, Landis JB, Crowl AA, Sun M, Liu XX, Gitzendanner MA, Douglas NA, Germain-Aubrey CC, Chen SC, Soltis DE, Soltis PS. (2016) The report of my death was an exaggeration: A review for researchers using microsatellites in the 21st century. Applications in Plant Sciences 4(6): 1600025.

12. Chen ZD, Yang T, Li Lin, Lu LM, Li HL, Sun M, Liu B, Chen M, Niu YT, Ye JF, Cao ZY, Liu HM, Wang XM, Wang W, Zhang JB, Meng Z, Cao W, Li JH, Wu SD, Zhao HL, Liu ZJ, Du ZY, Wang QF, Guo J, Tan XX, Su JX, Zhang LJ, Yang LL, Liao YY, Li MH, Zhang GQ, Chung SW, Zhang J, Xiang KL, Li RQ, Soltis DE, Soltis PS, Zhou SL, Ran JH, Wang XQ, Jin XH, Chen YS, Gao TG, Li JH, Zhang SZ, Lu AM. (2016) Tree of life for the genera of Chinese vascular plants. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 54(4): 227–306.

Last update: 2022-03-31

Educational Experience

[1] 2009.9——2014.12
Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences > Botany > Doctoral degree > Postgraduate (Postdoctoral)
[2] 2006.9——2009.7
Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences > Botany > Master's degree > Postgraduate (Master's Degree)
[3] 2002.9——2006.7
Beijing Forestry University > Environmental Science > Bachelor's Degree > University graduated

Work Experience

[1] 2022.2-Now
Huazhong Agricultural University > College of Horticulture and Forestry Sciences > employed
[2] 2019.10-2021.9
Aarhus University > Department of Biology > Contract ends
[3] 2015.1-2019.8
University of Florida > Florida Museum of Natural History > Contract ends