Recognizing Plant Physiology authors: Geng Ding

Geng Ding, co-first author of Non-catalytic subunits facilitate quaternary organization of plastidic acetyl-CoA carboxylase

Current Position: Assistant Scientist, Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology, Iowa State University

Education: Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

Non-scientific Interests: Soccer, music, and sci-fi books

Brief bio: My destiny with the plant sciences started with my name. “Geng”, pronounced “gung”, means cultivation in my mother tongue, and I started to grow plants when I was 6 years old. This passion toward understanding plants has been thriving within me since then, which became the most powerful driving force for my everyday work and aligns perfectly with my career goal, which is to use different technologies to understand plant biology and help nourish our growing population. Specifically, I am working enzymes that share the common feature of using biotin as the cofactor for catalysis.  One of these (called 3-methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase) is involved in amino acid metabolism, and the second is acetyl-coA carboxylase, which is responsible for catalyzing the first committed reaction of fatty acid biosynthesis.  Both fats and amino acids are of vital importance in human and animal diets, and I have worked over the past 15 years on discovering new aspect of how these amazing biotin-dependent enzymes have evolved from a common chemical mechanism.  Every day I feel refreshed to face a new challenge and better understand fundamental biological processes that impact human needs.