Dr. Ming Gao is a Senior Research Scientist at the Cooperative Agriculture Research Center at the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences, Prairie View A&M University of the Texas A&M University System, Texas. He received his Bachelor degree in Botany from Zhongshan University, Guanghou, China, and Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA. He started his research on starch and its biosynthesis in graduate school, and has been working in the research area ever since.
During his Ph.D. study, he worked on molecular and genetic characterization of starch branching enzymes (SBE) I, IIa and IIb in maize. His works first confirmed an independent genetic control of Maize SBEIIa, which cleared a long-standing controversy on the genetic control of the SBEIIa and IIb enzymes in starch synthesis. His works also established the regulatory role of the differential expression of SBE-encoding genes in starch biosynthesis. His postdoc research at Iowa State University first revealed the genetic lesion and molecular identity for the maize dull1 mutant deficient in starch biosynthesis in maize kernels. He continued his postdoc research on characterization of starch and starch synthases in wheat at the Plant Biotechnology Institute of NRC, Canada. Since 2004, He has turned to work with starch and its biosynthesis in sweetpotato. His current research focus is on how the contents of amylose and amylopectin impact the physical properties of starch granules in sweetptoatoes, and on crystallization of amylose and amylopectin.