David Wang, Ph.D.

Molecular Microbiology
Pathology and Immunology

Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Program
Immunology Program
Computational and Systems Biology Program
Plant and Microbial Biosciences Program

  • 314-286-1123

  • 314-286-1124

  • 314-362-1232

  • 8230

  • 8250 McDonnell Pediatric Research Building

  • davewang@wustl.edu

  • http://wanglab.wustl.edu

  • microbial pathogenesis, functional genomics, virology, genome analysis, computational biology

  • Discovery and Characterization of Novel Viruses

Research Abstract:

Research in our laboratory is focused on the identification and characterization of novel viruses. This is motivated largely by the fact that the etiologies of many diseases remain cryptic; for example, 70% of cases of viral encephalitis and 30% of respiratory tract infections defy the most sophisticated diagnostic tests used today, suggesting that unknown agents are likely to be involved in the pathogenesis of these diseases. Furthermore, new emerging viruses (e.g. SARS) pose constant threats to public health. We have developed Next Generation sequencing and bioinformatic tools optimized to detect viruses. These approaches enable systematic and unbiased screening of clinical specimens for the presence of microbial agents. To date, we have identified more than 100 novel viruses and are now working to characterize the molecular virology and clinical relevance of these viruses. Foe example, we are also evaluating a set of novel astroviruses we have discovered in patients with unexplained diarrhea. Diarrheal disease results in ~ 2 million deaths worldwide, primarily in young children in developing countries; 40% of diarrheal disease cannot be explained by the known microbial agents. Thus, our working hypothesis is that one or more of these novel astroviruses is responsible for some fraction of the unexplained diarrheal disease burden. New data suggests that they may also be causal agents of encephalitis. Finally, we have recently discovered the first viruses that infect the nematode C. elegans. We are now using the experimental infection system, in conjunction with the robust genetics available in C. elegans, to systematically define host antiviral immunity. Collectively, these projects are multidisciplinary and draw upon a broad range of experimental approaches at the interface of genomics, molecular virology, epidemiology, clinical investigation, model organism biology and bioinformatics.

Selected Publications:

Jiang H, Chen K, Sandoval L, Leung C, Wang D “An evolutionarily conserved pathway required for Orsay virus infection of C. elegans” mBio 2017: 8(5). pii: e00940-17. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00940-17 PMCID: PMC5587906.

Janowski AB, Bauer I, Holtz L, Wang D “Propagation of astrovirus VA1, a neurotropic human astrovirus, in cell culture”. J. Virol. 2017: pii: JVI.00740-17. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00740-17. PMCID: PMC5599743.

Krishnamurthy S, Janowski AB, Zhao G, Barouch D, Wang D “Hyperexpansion of RNA bacteriophage diversity” PLoS Biology 2016: 14(3): e1002409. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002409. PMCID: PMC4807089.

Zhao G, Wu G, Lim ES, Droit L, Krishnamurthy S, Barouch DH, Virgin HW, Wang D. VirusSeeker, a computational pipeline for virus discovery and virome composition analysis.” Virology 2017: 503:21-30. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2017.01.005. PMCID: PMC5326578.

Lim ES, Zhou Y, Zhao G, Bauer IK, Droit L, Ndao IM, Warner BB, Tarr PI, Wang D*, Holtz LR* “Early life dynamics of the human gut virome and bacterial microbiome in infants” Nature Medicine 2015: doi10.1038/nm.3950. PMCID: PMC4710368. *co-corresponding authors

Norman JM, Handley SA, Baldridge MT, Droit L, Liu C, Keller BC, Kambal A, Monaco, CL, Zhao G, Fleshner P, Stappenbeck TS, McGovern DPB., Keshavarzian A, Mutlu EA, Sauk J, Gevers D, Xavier R, Wang D, Parkes M, and Virgin HW “Disease-specific Alterations in the Enteric Virome in Inflammatory Bowel Disease” Cell 2015: 160: 447-60. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.01.002. PMCID: PMC4312520

Handley SA, Thackray LB, Zhao G, Presti R, Miller AD, Droit L, Abbink P, Maxfield LF, Kambal A, Duan E, Stanley K, Kramer J, Macri SC, Permar SR, Schmitz JE, Mansfield K, Brenchley JM, Veazey RS, Stappenbeck TS, Wang D, Barouch DH, Virgin HW; “Pathogenic simian immunodeficiency virus infection is associated with expansion of the enteric virome” Cell 2012: 151: 253.

Felix MA, Ashe A, Pifaretti J, Wu G, Nuez I, Belicard T, Jiang Y, Zhao G, Franz CJ, Goldstein LD, Sanroman M, Miska EA, Wang D, "Natural and experimental infection of Caenorhabditis nematodes by novel viruses related to nodaviruses" PLoS Biology 2011: 9: e1000586

Last Updated: 8/17/2018 1:42:35 PM

Back To Top

Follow us: