Ying Gu

Principle Investigator

Dr. Gu is an associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State University. She received her PhD in Plant Genetics from 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 an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State University. He received his Ph.D. from the 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.

Xiaoyu Zhu

Graduate Student

Xiaoyu Zhu is a Ph.D. student in Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Bio-Sciences  (MCIBS) program at The Pennsylvania State University. She received her B.S. degree in Biotechnology from Shandong University. Currently she is studying the de novo secretion of cellulose synthase complex to the plasma membrane via exocyst complex-mediated exocytosis.

Xiaoran Xin

Graduate Student

Xiaoran Xin is a Ph.D. student in Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology (BMMB) program at Penn State. She received her B.S. degree in Biotechnology from Soochow University. Currently she is studying the regulation of cellulose synthase complexes.

Zican Wang

Undergraduate Researcher

Zican Wang is a Class of 2019 undergraduate researcher majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She joined Gu Lab in Spring 2018.


Postdoctoral Scholars

  • Sang Won Han 2016-2017, current position: Senior Research Engineer, LG Chemical Inc.
  • Colleen McMichael 2013-2014, current position: Consultant, Aleo BME, Inc.
  • Renhong Wu 2012-2013, current position: Postdoc, Stony Brook University
  • Juan Du 2010-2012, current position: Research Associate at Sichuan University

Graduate Students

  • 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

  • Amy (Boyoung) Kim, 2015-2017, current position: Research Technician, Harvard Medical School
  • Kelly Elizabeth Hartsough, 2015-2016
  • Beomyeol Oh, 2014-2015, current position: Sergeant, U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan
  • Ece Cetinkaya, 2014
  • Hieu Huu Nguyen, 2013
  • Yuhan Hu, 2010-2012, current position: Graduate Student, Yale University
  • Sherry Zhao, 2010-2011
  • Alan Shomo, 2010