Uncovering molecular mechanisms of bacterial behaviors
We combine the power of chemical biology with the simplicity and robustness of bacteria to explore fundamental mechanisms:
We study how (p)ppGpp forces bacteria to reduce growth and division during starvation.
We use photo-crosslinking probes to capture metabolite-RNA interactions.
We use split-intein chemistry to make semi-synthetic proteins in living bacteria.
Boyuan Wang, Ph.D.
Undergraduate degree: B.S., Chemistry, Peking University
Graduate degree: Ph.D., Synthetic Protein Chemistry, The Rockefeller University
Postdoctoral Research: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Boyuan Wang has been committed to unraveling molecular mechanisms of bacterial signaling for more than a decade. In graduate school, Boyuan studied intercellular communication (quorum sensing) in Staphylococcus aureus and revealed unexpected physiological checkpoints of virulence induction, providing new insights for anti-virulence drug design.
His postdoctoral research harnessed photo-crosslinking chemistry to identify new signaling targets of guanosine tetraphosphate (ppGpp), a starvation-induced second messenger. ppGpp is a key physiological regulator universally conserved in the bacterial kingdom and is required for intracellular infection and antibiotic persistence in many pathogenic species.
As a faculty member at UT Southwestern, Boyuan will harness chemical biology approaches to address fundamental problems in bacteriology. The lab will also continue studying how ppGpp drives dormancy and antibiotic persistence in diverse bacteria.