Ji Zhou

Ji Zhou

Head of Data Sciences Department

Research group: Sustainable crop nutrition

Ji Zhou


Ji Zhou (周济) is Head of the Data Sciences Department at NIAB. He is an expert in multi-scale plant phenotyping, computer vision (CV) based trait analysis, IoT, and artificial intelligence (AI) modelling. Since his appointment at NIAB in early 2020, he and his collaborators have been jointly contributing to the plant research community worldwide, including AI and CV powered analytic solutions for assessing seed quality and vigour (e.g. SeedGerm), screening nitrogen use efficiency wheat varieties using LiDAR (CropQuant-3D), performing drone phenotyping to quantify growth-related trait for crop improvement (AirMeasurer), establishing ultra-scale yield prediction for lettuces (AirSurf), and monitoring wheat growth and yield formation (e.g. CropSight and YieldQuant-Mobile). These studies were enabled by cross-disciplinary research with labs in the UK (e.g. the University of Cambridge), France (e.g. INRAe and the University of Angers), Japan (the Tokyo University), and China (the Chinese Academy of Sciences).
Ji is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB), a core member of PhenomUK, an associate editor for journals such as Horticulture Research and Plant Phenomics. Since 2013, he has published 30+ research articles (both English and Chinese) in leading academic journals. Moreover, Ji works closely with breeding and growing companies such as Bayer Crop Science, Limagrain, Syngenta and the POME consortium. He holds a Professorship (chair) at the Nanjing Agricultural University, course lecturer and project supervisor for MPhil in Crop Sciences, computer science undergraduates at the University of Cambridge. Prior to NIAB, Ji was a project leader at Earlham, a joint research fellow between JIC and TGAC, and a post-doctoral researcher at The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) in Norwich. Before his academic career, he worked in industry for nearly a decade, initially as a bilingual IT professional in Shanghai, then a systems analyst and a project consultant at Aviva UK.



The dissection of Nitrogen response traits using drone phenotyping and dynamic phenotypic analysis to explore N responsiveness and associated genetic loci in wheat

Date: 22 December 2023

Contributors: Ding G, Shen L, Dai J, et al., Zhou J

Journal: Plant Phenomics


AirMeasurer: open-source software to quantify static and dynamic traits derived from multi-seas7on aerial phenotyping to empower genetic mapping studies in rice.

Date: 28 July 2022

Contributors: Sun G, Lu H, et al., Han B*, Zhou J*

Journal: New Phytologist


Large-scale field phenotyping using LiDAR and CropQuant-3D to measure structural responses in wheat.

Date: 16 July 2021

Contributors: Zhu Y, Sun G, Ding G, et al., Ober E, Zhou J*

Journal: Plant Physiology


SeedGerm: a cost-effective phenotyping platform for automated seed imaging and machine-learning based phenotypic analysis of crop seed germination

Date: 13 June 2020

Contributors: Colmer J, et al., Penfield S*, Zhou J*

Journal: New Phytologist


Combining computer vision and deep learning to enable ultra-scale aerial phenotyping and precision agriculture: a case study of lettuce

Date: 1 June 2019

Contributors: Bauer A, Bostrom A, Ball J, Applegate C, et al., Zhou J*

Journal: Horticulture Research


CropSight: a scalable open and distributed data management system for crop phenotyping and IoT based crop management

Date: 31 January 2019

Contributors: Reynolds D, et al., Zhou J*

Journal: GigaScience


Speed breeding is a powerful tool to accelerate crop research and breeding

Date: 1 January 2018

Contributors: Amy Watson, Sreya Ghosh, Matthew J. Williams, William S. Cuddy, James Simmonds, María-Dolores Rey, M. Asyraf Md Hatta, Alison Hinchliffe, Andrew Steed, Daniel Reynolds, Nikolai M. Adamski, Andy Breakspear, Andrey Korolev, Tracey Rayner, Laura E. Dixon, Adnan Riaz, William Martin, Merrill Ryan, David Edwards, Jacqueline Batley, Harsh Raman, Jeremy Carter, Christian Rogers, Claire Domoney, Graham Moore, Wendy Harwood, Paul Nicholson, Mark J. Dieters, Ian H. DeLacy, Ji Zhou, Cristobal Uauy, Scott A. Boden, Robert F. Park, Brande B. H. Wulff & Lee T. Hickey

Journal: Nature Plants


Leaf-GP: an open and automated software application for measuring growth phenotypes for arabidopsis and wheat

Date: 22 December 2017

Contributors: Ji Zhou, Christopher Applegate, Albor Dobon Alonso, Daniel Reynolds, Simon Orford, Michal Mackiewicz, Simon Griffiths, Steven Penfield & Nick Pullen

Journal: Plant Methods volume


Genomic innovation for crop improvement.

Date: 16 March 2017

Contributors: Bevan M. W., Uauy C., Wulff B. B. H., Zhou J., Krasileva K., Clark M. D.

Journal: Nature


Spatio-Temporal Cellular Dynamics of the Arabidopsis Flagellin Receptor Reveal Activation Status-Dependent Endosomal Sorting

Date: 19 October 2012

Contributors: Martina Beck, Ji Zhou, Christine Faulkner, Daniel MacLean, and Silke Robatzek1

Journal: The Plant Cell

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