Siyuan Ding, PhD
DEPARTMENT OF MOLECULAR MICROBIOLOGY
Assistant Professor of Molecular Microbiology
2023 Dean’s Impact Award Recipient
Since joining the Department of Molecular Microbiology in September 2019, Siyuan Ding, PhD, has established a thriving group working on enteric viral pathogens. The pandemic began just as he was getting his laboratory operational. He pivoted his research program to SARS-CoV-2 and has since been exceptionally productive, publishing 20 manuscripts and securing his first R01 on a first submission. He was among the first to show that the host cell proteases TMPRSS2 and TMPRSS4 serve as the relevant proteases for SARS-CoV-2 infection. This study, published in Science Immunology 2020, has been cited more than 500 times. He also was among the first to perform a screen of interferon-stimulated genes to identify any that specifically suppress SARS-CoV-2 infection. His group identified three candidates, including cholesterol 25-hydroxylase, and found that it works by impeding the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to catalyze membrane fusion. This important study, published in December 2020 in PNAS, has been cited over 100 times. Both of these projects, initiated by Ding, engaged collaborators within and outside the institution, highlighting his ability to lead team-based science. Several other studies from his group may have a major impact, including developing an improved method for rotavirus genome manipulation, which allowed his group to study the role of specific viral proteins in pathogenesis and viral transmission. He is continuing to exploit the method to express heterologous genes, including those of other enteric pathogens with a view to advancing bivalent vaccines. He is also successfully mentoring several new post-doctoral fellows and graduate students.