Wang Receives NIH Grant to Study Drug Effects on the Carbohydrate Armor of Fungal Pathogens

Tuo Wang with graduate student Malitha Dickwella Widanage.  Tuo Wang (left) with graduate student Malitha Dickwella Widanage (right). 

Assistant Professor Tuo Wang has been awarded a $413,914, two-year exploratory/developmental research grant (R21) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The NIHโ€™s R21 mechanism is intended to encourage high-risk, high-reward projects that may result in new research directions. The grant will provide funding for Professor Wangโ€™s effort in characterizing the complex carbohydrates present in the pathogenic fungus ๐˜ˆ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜จ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ถ๐˜ด ๐˜ง๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ด.

Under this award, Professor Wang aims to develop solid-state NMR methods and identify the structural factors of cell walls that contribute to fungal virulence and drug resistance. They are trying to understand how the fungal pathogens adjust the architecture of their cell walls, the carbohydrate-rich armor of these microbes, to survive through treatments of antifungal drugs. Such efforts provide direct, molecular guide to the rational design of novel antifungal agents.

Dr. Wang joined the faculty at LSU in 2017. His research focuses on the development of solid-state NMR methods to determine the supramolecular structure and dynamics of complex carbohydrates in plant, fungi, and algae as well as structural elucidation of membrane proteins. Dr. Wangโ€™s research contributions have earned him eight independent papers, including two in Nature Communications, internal and federal funding as the lead or sole PI, and a 2019 Ralph E Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards through the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). He was also recently named as a 2020 NSF Career Awardee for the improvement of an LSU-based original database and integrating it with novel solid-state NMR methods to enable investigations of carbohydrate structure in intact cells.

 For additional information about Dr. Wangโ€™s research, please visit Wang Research Group.