Dae-Kyun Ro

Dr. Dae-Kyun Ro

Contact information

Web presence

Phone number

Office: +1 (403) 220-7099


Office: BI393


Educational Background

B.S. Agricultural Biology, Korea University, 1995

Doctor of Philosophy Botany, University of British Columbia, 2002


Areas of Research


Personal EDI statement

“I am fully committed to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in my research program at University of Calgary. A harmonized blend of individuals with diverse personal experience and knowledge, cultural and language background, gender, religion, ethnicity, physical and invisible disability, gender identity, and sexual orientation should be established as a norm in all modern societies. Age, immigration status, parental responsibility, education, and economic status also should be considered and accommodated in our society. Regardless of varying status and condition of an individual, equal opportunities and rewards will be given to all research personnel to keep their personal integrity and to fully realize their research potential and career success without restrictions. As a biologist and history-lover, from time to time, I also sense that EDI is not hard-inscribed in human society. Therefore, the core values of EDI are something we should consciously recognize and promote at the expense of energy; otherwise, the value and importance of EDI can be forgotten and erased in our society. Beyond the awareness of EDI, I strive to create a research environment which deeply respects and wisely harnesses the power of EDI for innovative and collaborative research that benefit every member in my group and eventually our society.”  


Research activities

My research focuses on metabolic and chemical biology in plants and microbes. Our society is heavily dependent on the cost-effective and sustainable supplies of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, industrial chemicals, and bio-fuels, derived from various plants and microbes. In-depth understanding of their biosynthesis and regulation in native hosts, together with synthetic metabolic redesign in heterologous organisms, can allow us to produce a diverse array of chemicals for human health and industrial uses. However, biosynthetic mechanism and metabolic regulation of many naturally occurring chemicals are still not fully understood. We use interdisciplinary and integrative research approaches, such as molecular genetics, biochemical, cell biological, and genomics tools, to advance our knowledge of metabolic and chemical biology in plants and microbes. 

Specific research activities in my lab are as follows.

  • Chemical diversity and evolution of sesquiterpene lactone in lettuce, sunflower, and related Asteraceae (Compositae) plants. 
  • Natural rubber biosynthesis in lettuce (Latuca sativa)
  • Comparative genomics of proanthcyanidin biosynthesis in pea (Pisum sativum) and Arabidopsis.
  • Functional transcriptomics of medicinal plants and implementation of synthetic metabolism in microbe and plant by various biotechnological tools.


Course number Course title Semester
BIOL 505 Medicinal Plant Biochemistry Fall 2022
PLBI 403 Plant Physiology Fall 2022
BIOL 309 Plants and People Winter 2023


  • Creating a synthetic microbial platform for diterpenoids production - Student poster. Dae-Kyun Ro. CSPB conference poster. (2017)
  • Cell-type specific transcriptional regulations of natural rubber and sesquiterpene biosynthetic genes in lettuce - PI poster. Dae-Kyun Ro. Terpnet conference poster. (2017)
  • Three sesquiterpene synthases from unripen seed of Piper nigrum - student poster. Dae-Kyun Ro. Terpnet conference poster. (2017)
  • Overexpression of biotin carboxyl carrier protein (BCCP1) boosts accumulation of sesquiterpene in Nicotiana benthamiana transient expression system - student poster. Dae-Kyun Ro. Terpnet conference poster. (2017)
  • Natural rubber and sesquiterpene lactones co-accumulate in laticifer but their promoters show differential expression patterns in lettuce. - Student poster. Dae-Kyun Ro. CSPB conference Poster. (2017)
  • The Molecular and Biochemical Characterization of cis-Prenyltransferase Binding Protein and cis-Prenyltransferases in Parthenium argentatum with an Emphasis on Natural Rubber - Student poster. Dae-Kyun Ro. CSPB conference poster. (2017)

More Information

More Publications

 Google Scholar Link

  • Lee, AR, Kwon M, Kang MK, Kim J, Kim SU, Ro DK (2019) Increased sesqui-and triterpene production by co-expression of HMG-CoA reductase and biotin carboxyl carrier protein in tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana). Metabolic Engineering 52, 20-28
  • Lakusta AM, Kwon M, Kwon EJG, Stonebloom S, Scheller HV, RO DK (2019) Molecular studies of the protein complexes involving cis-prenyltransferase in guayule (Parthenium argentatum), an alternative rubber-producing plant. Frontiers in Plant Science 10   
  • Zhou Y, Ma Y, Zeng J, Duan L,, Xue X, Wang H, Lin T, Liu Z, Zeng K, Zhong Y, Zhang S, Hu Q, Liu M, Zhang H, Reed J, Moses T, Liu X, Huang P, Qing Z, Liu X, Tu P, Kuang H, Zhang Z, Osbourn A, Ro DK, Shang Y, Huang S (2016) Convergence and divergence of bitterness biosynthesis and regulation in Cucurbitaceae. Nature Plants 2:16183

  • Qu Y, Chakrabarty R, Tran HT, Kwon EJG, Kwon M, Nguyen TD, Ro DK (2015) A lettuce (Lactuca sativa) homolog of human Nogo-B receptor interacts with cis-prenyltransferase and is necessary for natural rubber biosynthesis. J. Biol. Chem. 290:1898-1914

  • Pickel, B., Drew, D.P., Manzcak, T., Weitzel, C., Simonsen, H.T., and Ro, D.K. (2012) Identification and characterization of a kunzeaol synthase from Thapsia garganica: Implications for the biosynthesis of the pharmaceutical thapsigargin. Biochem. J. 448:261-271

  • Ikezawa, N., Göpfert, J.C., Nguyen, D.T., Kim, S.U., Paul E. O’Maille, Spring O., and Ro, D.K. Lettuce costunolide synthase (CYP71BL2) and its homolog (CYP71BL1) from sunflower catalyze distinct regio- and stereoselective hydroxylations in sesquiterpene lactone metabolism. (2011) J. Biol. Chem. 286:21601-21611

  • Barriuso, J., Nguyen, D.T., Li, J., Roberts, J., MacNevin, G., Chaytor, J. L., Marcus, S., Vederas, J., Ro, D.K. Double oxidation of the cyclic nonaketide dihydromonacolin L to monacolin J by a single cytochrome P450 monooxygenase, LovA. (2011) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 133: 8078-8081

  • Nguyen, D.T., Göpfert, J.C., Ikezawa, N., MacNevin, G., Kathiresan, M., Conrad , J., Spring, O. and Ro, D.K. Biochemical Conservation and Evolution of Germacrene A Oxidase in Asteraceae (2010) J. Biol. Chem.285:16588-16598.

  • Chang, M.C.Y., Eachus, R.A., Trieu, W., Ro, D.K. and Keasling J.D. (2007) Engineering Escherichia coli for production of functionalized terpenoids using plant P450s. Nature Chem. Biol. 3: 274-277.

  • Ro, D.K., Paradise, E.M., Ouellet, M., Fisher, K.J., Newman, K.L., Ndungu, J.M., Chang, M.C.Y., Ham, T.S., Eachus, R.A., Ho, K.A., Shiba, Y., Sarpong, R., Keasling, J.D. (2006) Production of the anti-malarial drug precursor artemisinic acid in engineered yeast. Nature. 440: 940-943

  • Ro, D.K., Arimura, G.I., Lau, S, Piers, E., and Bohlmann, J. (2005) Loblolly pine abietadienol/abietadienal oxidase PtAO (CYP720B1) is a multi-functional, multi-substrate cytochrome P450 monooxygenase. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA. 102: 8060-8065