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Kedong Da and Plant Transformation

Kedong Da

Dr. Kedong Da, Director of the NC State Plant Transformation Lab (PTL), brings diversity and caliber in his ability to advance plant tissue culture, plant transformation, genome editing, and bioengineering. The PTL was created from NC State’s collaborative spirit to advance and innovate plant sciences and is known as a top plant transformation lab in North America. For Kedong Da, the PTL is the opportunity to work with premier diverse talent, perform his best research and apply his knowledge.

Tell me about you and your area(s) of expertise.

I have 30 years of plant tissue culture, transformation, gene editing, plant stem cell and molecular biology research experience. I conducted research and practiced education in Asia, Europe, and different parts of the United States including North Carolina. I have advanced the science and practice of tissue culture for a broad range of crops including, but not limited to, horticulture and row crops such as apple, pear, cherry, grape, blueberry, strawberry, sweet potato, potato, ornamental grasses, various flowering plants, cotton, wheat, corn, and soybeans. I have enhanced genetic transformation systems for apple, cabbage, orchid, chive, rose, lettuce, and cotton and conducted gene-editing work with cherry, grape, tomato, and strawberry. My past leadership roles have included director of the horticultural crop biotechnology center (College of Horticulture, Shandong Agricultural University (SDAU)); Director of plant tissue culture micro-propagation center at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Virginia). I joined NC State in 2020.

Why did you choose to work at NC State?

NC State is a world-famous university. It has an extraordinary community shaped by diversity, collaboration and an innovation culture; a long history of performing great research and education in both basic and applied science. Working at NC State is more than a job, it’s an opportunity to be my best. 

What are you and the Plant Transformation Lab researching?

My role at NC State is to direct the Plant Transformation Laboratory, to work with faculty, staff, students, and industry partners to advance plant tissue culture, transformation, genome editing, and bioengineering. Presently, my transformation work is focusing on rose genome editing toward virus resistance, a collaboration with Dr. Tom Ranney; sweet potato genome editing aimed at insect resistance and heat tolerance in collaboration with Dr. Craig Yancho and Dr. Wusheng Liu; Blueberry genome editing for fruit firmness, a collaboration with Dr. Hamid Ashrafi; novel soybean transformation system development, a collaboration with Dr. Ricardo Hernandez; Maize genome editing for glycerolipid gene regulation, a collaboration with Dr. Ruben Rellan Alvarez; tomato genome editing for disease resistance, a collaboration with Dr. Dilip Panthee, and lettuce transformation, a collaboration with Dr. Wusheng Liu. My lab also carries out Arabidopsis and Peanut transformation contracts for industry partners. 

PTL is focused on crop transformation research and service. More collaboration projects are under finalization, including hemp, strawberry, tobacco, and sunflower. In addition to expertise in field crops, our goal is to be one of the best specialty crop transformation labs in North America.

About the Plant Transformation Lab

To learn more about how the Plant Transformation Lab can best support your research program, request a letter of support for a grant proposal, or propose a collaboration, contact Kedong Da at