David Wang, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
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 novel DNA microarray and high throughput sequencing approaches to identify novel viruses. These approaches enable systematic and unbiased screening of clinical specimens for the presence of microbial agents. To date, we have identified more than 40 novel viruses and are now working to characterize the molecular virology and clinical relevance of these viruses. One area of focus is analysis of the novel WU polyomavirus, which we discovered in 2007 in a child with unexplained respiratory disease. We are now trying to define the following: how frequently this virus infects humans, what tissues in the human body harbor the virus, what cell types support viral replication, and whether this virus causes human disease. In parallel, 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. 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, Franz CJ, Wang, D, “Engineering Recombinant Orsay Virus Directly in the Metazoan Host C. elegans” Journal of Virology 2014, JVI.01630-14. [Epub ahead of print].

Franz CJ, Renshaw H, Frezal L, Jiang Y, Felix MA, Wang D; “Orsay, Santeuil and Le Blanc viruses primarily infect intestinal cells in Caenorhabditis nematodes” Virology: 2014: 448: 255.

Lim ES, Reyes A, Antonio M, Saha D, Ikumapayi UN, Adeyemi M, Stine OC, Skelton R, Brennan DC, Mkakosya RS, Manary MJ, Gordon JI, Wang D; “Discovery of STL polyomavirus, a polyomavirus of ancestral recombinant origin that encodes a unique middle T antigen by alternative splicing” Virology 2013: 436: 295.

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.

Allred AF, Renshaw H, Weaver SC, Tesh RB, Wang D; “VIPR HMM: A hidden Markov model for detecting recombination with microbial detection microarrays" Bioinformatics 2012: 28: 2922.

Siebrasse EA, Bauer I, Holtz LR, Le BM, Lass-Claxton S, Canter C, Hmiel P, Shenoy S, Sweet S, Turmell Y, Shepherd R, Wang D; “Prevalence of human polyomaviruses in a pediatric transplant cohort” Emerging Infectious Diseases 2012: 18: 1676.

Cantalupo PG, Calgua B, Zhao G, Hundesa A, Wier AD, Katz JP, Grabe M, Hendrix RW, Girones R, Wang D, Pipas JM, “Raw sewage harbors diverse viral populations” mBio 2011: 2: 00180-11.

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

Finkbeiner SR, Allred AF, Tarr PI, Klein EJ, Kirkwood CD and Wang D, Metagenomic analysis of human diarrhea: viral detection and discovery. PLoS Pathog 2008: 4: e1000011.

Gaynor AM, Nissen MD, Whiley DM, Mackay IM, Lambert SB, Wu G, Brennan DC, Storch GA, Sloots TP and Wang D, Identification of a Novel Polyomavirus from Patients with Acute Respiratory Tract Infections. PLoS Pathog 2007: 3: e64.

Last Updated: 8/11/2014 11:17:47 AM

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