Wenjing Wang Lab

Using protein engineering, we develop tools and technologies to enable the investigation of neuronal circuits that underlie pain modulation, reward, respiration and other vital processes.

Our lab develops optogenetic and chemogenetic technologies for protein detection and manipulation in living cells. The long-term goal of our research group is to develop molecular tools for monitoring and manipulating various biological processes with a spatiotemporal control to advance neuroscience research and potential therapeutics.

We utilize cutting-edge protein engineering methods, including directed evolution, to engineer these new tools. Various model systems—including mammalian cell culture, neuronal culture and animal models—are used to test the performance of our tools. Our goal is to expand the optogenetics and chemogenetics toolboxes, with widespread utility across multiple subfields of cell biology and neuroscience.

Wenjing Wang, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor, U-M Life Sciences Institute
William R. Roush Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, U-M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Assistant Faculty Director, Michigan Pioneer Fellows

Publication Highlights

A general method for chemogenetic control of peptide function

Shen J, Geng L, Li X, Emery C, Kroning K, Shingles G, Lee K, Heyden M, Li P,  Wang W, Nature Methods (2022)

α-Synuclein fibril-specific nanobody reduces prion-like α-synuclein spreading in mice
Riani YD, Liu Y, Kumbhar R , Zhao P, Gadhave K, Wang N, Li Y, Mao X, Wang W. Nat Comm. (2022)
A light-and calcium-gated transcription factor for imaging and manipulating activated neurons
Wang W, Wildes CP, Pattarabanjird T, Sanchez MI, Glober GF, Matthews GA, Tye KM, Ting AY, Nat Biotechnol (2017)
Time-gated detection of protein-protein interactions with transcriptional readout

Kim MW, Wang W, Sanchez MI, Coukos R, von Zastrow M, Ting AY, Elife (2017)

Tuning the electronic absorption of protein-embedded all-trans-retinal

Wang W, Nossoni Z, Berbasova T, Watson CT, Yapici I, Lee KS, Vasileiou C, Geiger JH, Borhan B, Science (2012)

Room: 4115
Life Sciences Institute
Mary Sue Coleman Hall
210 Washtenaw Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2216
“The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together.”
— Carl Sagan