Qijing Zhang is a microbiologist recognized for his work on antimicrobial resistance and bacterial pathogenesis. He is particularly known for his studies on the mechanisms underlying the development, persistence, and fitness of antibiotic resistant pathogens and the evolution of hypervirulent pathogenic variants. Zhang was born in Shandong Province and grew up in Feixian in China. He received his veterinary medicine degree from Shandong Agricultural University in 1983, a MS degree in veterinary microbiology from the National Control Institute of Veterinary Biologics (China) in 1986, a PhD degree in immunobiology from Iowa State University in 1994, and postdoc training in molecular microbiology from University of Missouri-Columbia from 1994 to 1997. He was an Assistant Professor at the Ohio State University from 1998 to 2003 and has been a faculty member at Iowa State University since 2003. Zhang is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and an elected fellow of American Academy of Microbiology and American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Research Interests

Qijing Zhang's research focuses on transmission, evolution, pathogenesis, and antimicrobial resistance of foodborne and zoonotic pathogens at the animal-human interface. His group utilizes various model systems and approaches to understand how bacteria develop resistance to clinically important antibiotics and how acquisition of resistance affects bacterial physiology and pathogenesis. Their studies have revealed the key function of multidrug efflux transporters not only in mediating antibiotic resistance but also in facilitating bacterial colonization in the intestinal tract. Their work has discovered emerging antibiotic resistance threats and determined the variable impacts of different antibiotic resistance mechanisms on bacterial fitness and persistence. Using genomics, molecular epidemiology, and animal models, Zhang's laboratory has been studying the emergence and evolution of antibiotic-resistant and hypervirulent pathogenic variants. Their work has identified bacterial species shift and clonal expansion in response to antibiotic and immune selection pressures and discovered the evolutionary genomic changes responsible for the enhanced virulence. The overall goal of Zhang's research is to generate knowledge and means that can be used to control antibiotic-resistant pathogens and improve food safety, animal health, and public health.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 61: Animal, Nutritional, and Applied Microbial Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 44: Microbial Biology