Auburn University names Liu associate vice president for research and associate provost

Zhanjiang “John” Liu
AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Following an internal search, the Offices of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development and the Provost announce the appointment of Zhanjiang “John” Liu as Auburn University’s associate vice president for research and associate provost, effective Dec. 1.

“Dr. Liu has the experience, background and strong desire to assist faculty in seeking external sponsorship for their scholarly work across our campus,” said Vice President for Research and Economic Development John Mason. “His scholarly achievements and administrative leadership are an excellent fit for the position as we continue to strengthen the quality and visibility of our research programs.”

As associate vice president for research and associate provost, Liu will serve as a liaison between the university’s administration, the colleges and schools, the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, in addition to representing Auburn among key stakeholders in government, industry and foundations.

“As a recognized researcher, scholar and administrator, Dr. Liu understands the importance of our faculty in advancing Auburn’s mission as an economic leader,” said Provost Timothy Boosinger. “His ability to align our research activities with the university’s strategic plan is crucial to Auburn’s role in developing practical solutions for the citizens of Alabama and beyond.”

A professor in the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences, Liu has served as the associate dean for research and assistant director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station since 2007. A recognized leader in the field of genome research of catfish, Liu’s previous appointments include serving as director of the Program of Cell and Molecular Biosciences in the Aquatic Genomics Unit, coordinator of the college’s China Programs, Alumni Professor and director of the Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures.

Liu will be responsible for supporting academic units in identifying, facilitating, promoting and developing sponsorship for cross-disciplinary research initiatives, in addition to working closely with the associate deans for research and various university committees and governance groups to implement Auburn’s strategic research goals.

“I am honored to serve Auburn University at this level of leadership and look forward to working with our faculty as we address current and future challenges,” said Liu. “Research is a core value of our land-grant mission as it enhances students’ competitiveness in the global job market, generates technologies for economic development in the state and provides a basis for excellence in outreach and extension.”

Liu received a Bachelor of Science in 1981 from Northwestern Agricultural University in Shaanxi Province, China, followed by a master’s degree in 1986 and a Ph.D. in 1989 from the University of Minnesota.

He is a member of the College of Agriculture’s Academy of Fellows and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2012 Liu was named honorary dean at Qingdao Agricultural University’s College of Marine Science and Engineering and has been recognized by the USDA for his outstanding work in the field of aquaculture.

Contact: Brian Keeter, Director of Public Affairs, Office of the President (334) 844-4650, (, or Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999, (