Ying Gu

Principal Investigator

Dr. Gu received her PhD in Plant Genetics at University of California-Riverside (supervisor: Dr. Zhenbiao Yang). For her thesis work, she made important contributions at the molecular level to the understanding of polar growth (pollen tube) and diffuse growth (pavement cells). She worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University (supervisor: Dr. Chris Somerville) and as an associate specialist at University of California Berkeley when Dr. Somerville became the Director of Energy Biosciences Institute. Dr. Gu started her own lab at Penn State in 2010. Her group is part of the “Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation”, an Energy Frontier Research Center.

Shundai Li

Assistant Research Professor

Dr. Li is received his Ph.D. in Plant Genetics at University of California-Riverside. His thesis work in characterizing Arp2/3 in plant cells was selected for High Impact paper in Plant Physiology. After he obtained his Ph.D. in Plant Biology, he decided to bring his talents to multiple fields including chemical genomics, transcriptional profiling, and plant-pathogen interaction. Dr. Li joined the laboratory of Dr. Gu as a research associate in 2010. Here, he began elucidating the molecular mechanism underlying the intimate relationship between microtubules and cellulose microfibrils and trafficking of cellulose synthase complexes to and from the plasma membrane. His current project aims to understand molecular mechanisms of cellulose synthesis in secondary cell walls.

Holly Allen

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Allen received her Ph.D. degree in Plant Sciences at the University of Manchester in 2019. Currently she is studying the molecular mechanisms underlying trafficking of cellulose synthase complex to the plasma membrane.

Donghui Wei

Graduate Student

Donghui Wei is a Ph.D. student in Plant Biology program at Penn State. She received her M.S. degree in Genetics at the Fudan University in 2018.

Ran Tao

Graduate Student

Ran Tao is a Ph.D. student in Plant Biology program at Penn State. He received his B.S. degree in Biological Science at the South University of Science and Technology in 2022.

Cara Fliegel

Undergraduate Researcher

Cara Fliegel is a Class of 2023 undergraduate researcher majoring in Biology. She joined Gu Lab in Spring 2022.

Jenna Patel

Undergraduate Researcher

Jenna Patel is a Class of 2024 undergraduate researcher majoring in Biology. She joined Gu Lab in Spring 2021.

Kevin Ding

Undergraduate Researcher

Kevin Ding is a Class of 2026 undergraduate researcher majoring in Biology. He joined Gu Lab in Spring 2023.


Postdoctoral Scholars

  • Sang Won Han, current position: Senior Research Engineer, LG Chemical Inc.
  • Colleen McMichael, current position: Consultant, Aleo BME, Inc.
  • Renhong Wu, current position: Postdoc, Stony Brook University
  • Juan Du, current position: Research Associate at Sichuan University

Graduate Students

  • Xiaoran Xin, Ph.D. 2020, current position: Microbiologist II, Quaker Houghton
  • Xiaoyu Zhu, Ph.D. 2018, current position: Project Manager, Creative-BioMart
  • Jingrui Liu, M.S. 2017
  • Lei Lei, Ph.D. 2015, current position: Associate Editor, Nature Plant
  • Logan Bashline, Ph. D. 2015, current position: Assistant Manager, Happy Valley Winery

Undergraduate Researchers

  • Zican Wang, current position: Graduate Student, Northeastern Univeristy
  • Amy (Boyoung) Kim, current position: Research Technician, Harvard Medical School
  • Kelly Elizabeth Hartsough
  • Beomyeol Oh, current position: Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Emory University
  • Ece Cetinkaya
  • Hieu Huu Nguyen
  • Yuhan Hu, current position: Graduate Student, Yale University
  • Sherry Zhao
  • Alan Shomo