Texas A&M University Institute of Advanced Studies

Shengdi Hu

Shengdi Hu

My research is to understand how glycine (a nutritionally essential amino acid for neonates) is synthesized in young pigs. This work is highly significant in both animal nutrition field and pig industry, because sow's milk provides at most 20% of glycine to support piglets' growth, but pathways for endogenous synthesis of glycine in piglets or humans are still unknown. Of note, results of my recent research indicate that the IUGR newborn piglets (low birth weight animal) have much lower blood glycine concentration than normal-birth-weight piglets. It is possible that an unknown pathway for glycine synthesis may affect neonatal growth in humans and livestock species.

The support of a HEEP fellowship has greatly facilitated my research progress. As one of the most outstanding scientists and pioneer in studying glycine biochemistry, Faculty Fellow Dr. Brosnan guided me in experimental design and data analysis. Now I can use different biochemical and molecular methods to determine possible enzymes involved in glycine synthesis in different tissues (e.g., liver, small intestine, kidneys, and skeletal muscle) of neonatal pigs. With Dr. Brosnan’s help, I have conducted many experiments. Based on my findings, we propose that hydroxyproline (a non-essential amino acid abundant in sow’s milk and piglet connective tissue) may be the major precursor for glycine synthesis.

The work with Dr. Brosnan through my HEEP fellowship is focused on a highly significant problem of neonatal survival in livestock species. Now we are writing a journal article for publication.

Mr. Hu is expected to graduate in December 2017. 


Animal Science

Graduation Year

December 2017

Degree Type


Fellowship Year(s)

'15- '16

Previous Education

M.S. in Animal Nutrition - China Agricultural University - '13
B.S. in Animal Science - China Agricultural University - '08


G. Wu


1, July 13-16, 2017. 50th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproduction. Poster presentation "L-Arginine Enhances Water and Amino Acid Transport by the Porcine Placenta", Washington, D.C. (Accepted)


2, July 8-12, 2017. 2017 American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) Annual Meeting. Poster presentation"The hydroxyproline-glycine pathway for glycine synthesis in neonatal pigs". Baltimore, Maryland. (Accepted)


3, March 28th, 2017. 20th annual Student Research Week (SRW) in TAMU. Oral presentation"Hydroxyprolineglycine pathway, majority endogenous glycine synthesis pathway in the postnatal pig". College Station, Texas.