Zhiyan conducted her PhD research (Genetics) with Bonning from 2001 to 2007. She worked on characterization of the protein DmP29 in Drosophila melanogaster. The protein was initially identified as a binding protein of juvenile hormone esterase, although the significance of this interaction remains unclear. Misexpression of DmP29 resulted in some very interesting fly phenotypes, reflective of a role of this protein in the JH pathway. See the Videos of Drosophila aberrant courtship behavior I, II and III taken by Dr. Zhiyan Liu. Following graduation, Zhiyan left for a postdoctoral research position at Harvard Medical School.
Zhiyan's PhD dissertation: Subcellular Location and Function of a Putative Juvenile Hormone Esterase Binding Protein in Drosophila melanogaster