Ying Huang studied Chinese Materia Medica at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China. She then received her M.Sc. in medicinal chemistry from Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Ji-Kai Liu. Her master’s thesis focused on the secondary metabolites of higher fungi and their bioactivities. In the process, she discovered many interesting compounds and became increasingly curious about how they are synthesized in living organisms. Therefore, she moved to Germany in April 2018 and started her PhD studies in biochemistry at the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology (Leibniz-HKI) under the supervision of Dr. Vito Valiante. Her PhD work focused on the biosynthesis and engineering of natural products (terpenes and polyketides) in microorganisms. After completing her PhD, she became interested in more complex systems (e.g. the interactions of microorganisms with each other and with the abiotic environment) and joined Pierre’s group at the Leibniz-HKI in Jena in January 2023, working on the interaction of commensal and pathogenic microorganisms with microplastic particles in the environment.