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Lei Wang, PhD

TitleAssociate Professor
SchoolUCSF School of Pharmacy
DepartmentPharmaceutical Chemistry
Address555 Mission Bay Blvd South
San Francisco CA 94158
Phone415-502-3383
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    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse Education and Training
    University of California at BerkeleyPh.D.2002Department of Chemistry
    Peking UniversityM.S.1997Department of Chemistry
    Peking UniversityB.S.1994Department of Chemistry
    Collapse Awards and Honors
    National Institutes of Health2008NIH Director’s New Innovator Award
    March of Dimes2008Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar
    California Institute for Regenerative Medicine2008New Faculty Award
    Ray Thomas Edwards Foundation2007Career Development Award
    Searle Scholars Program2006Searle Scholar
    Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation2006Beckman Young Investigator
    MIT Technology Review 2004Top Young Innovator
    Sino-American Biotechnology & Pharmaceutical Professional Association and American Chemical Society2004San Diego BioPharma Award
    Science (AAAS) and Amersham Biosciences 2003Young Scientist Award
    Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation2003  - 2005Merck Fellow
    US National Inventors Hall of Fame2002Collegiate Inventor

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse Overview
    Lei Wang received BS and MS from Peking University mentored by Zhongfan Liu, and PhD from UC Berkeley mentored by Peter G. Schultz. His graduate research resulted in the first expansion of the genetic code to include unnatural amino acids (Uaas) in 2001, for which he was awarded the Young Scientist Award by the journal Science. After postdoctoral training with Roger Y. Tsien, Wang started his group at the Salk Institute in 2005, and moved to UCSF in 2014. Wang’s group has developed new methods for the expansion of the genetic code in a variety of cells and model organisms, including mammalian cells, stem cells, C. elegans, and recently embryonic mouse. His group discovered that release factor one (RF1) is nonessential in E. coli, and engineered autonomous bacteria capable of incorporating Uaas at multiple sites with high efficiency. By developing the concept of proximity-enabled bioreactivity, Wang’s group designed and demonstrated that a new class of Uaas, the bioreactive Uaas, can be genetically encoded in live systems. These bioreactive Uaas enable novel covalent bonding abilities to be specifically introduced into proteins and biosystems, opening the door for new protein engineering and biological research in vivo. Wang is a 2006 Beckman Young Investigator, a 2006 Searle Scholar, and a 2008 National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award recipient.


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    Collapse Featured Publications

    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse Publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
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    1. Hoppmann C, Wong A, Yang B, Li S, Hunter T, Shokat KM, Wang L. Site-specific incorporation of phosphotyrosine using an expanded genetic code. Nat Chem Biol. 2017 Jun 12. PMID: 28604697.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Klippenstein V, Hoppmann C, Ye S, Wang L, Paoletti P. Optocontrol of glutamate receptor activity by single side-chain photoisomerization. Elife. 2017 May 23; 6. PMID: 28534738.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Chen Y, Ma J, Lu W, Tian M, Thauvin M, Yuan C, Volovitch M, Wang Q, Holst J, Liu M, Vriz S, Ye S, Wang L, Li D. Heritable expansion of the genetic code in mouse and zebrafish. Cell Res. 2016 Dec 09. PMID: 27934867.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Kobayashi T, Hoppmann C, Yang B, Wang L. Using Protein-Confined Proximity to Determine Chemical Reactivity. J Am Chem Soc. 2016 Oct 31. PMID: 27797495.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Pentelute BL, Wang L. Editorial overview: Chemistry for biopolymers to investigate and even move beyond nature. Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2016 Oct 14. PMID: 27751659.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Wang L. Genetically encoding new bioreactivity. N Biotechnol. 2016 Oct 6. PMID: 27721014.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Ren H, Yang B, Ma C, Hu YS, Wang PG, Wang L, et al. Cysteine Sulfoxidation Increases the Photostability of Red Fluorescent Proteins. ACS Chem Biol. 2016 Sep 12. PMID: 27603966.
      View in: PubMed
    8. Alamudi SH, Satapathy R, Kim J, Su D, Ren H, Das R, Hu L, Alvarado-Martínez E, Lee JY, Hoppmann C, Peña-Cabrera E, Ha HH, Park HS, Wang L, Chang YT, et al. Development of background-free tame fluorescent probes for intracellular live cell imaging. Nat Commun. 2016; 7:11964. PMID: 27321135.
      View in: PubMed
    9. Kang JY, Kawaguchi D, Wang L. Optical Control of a Neuronal Protein Using a Genetically Encoded Unnatural Amino Acid in Neurons. J Vis Exp. 2016; (109). PMID: 27078635.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Hoppmann C, Wang L. Proximity-enabled bioreactivity to generate covalent peptide inhibitors of p53-Mdm4. Chem Commun (Camb). 2016 Apr 14; 52(29):5140-3. PMID: 26996321.
      View in: PubMed
    11. Hoppmann C, Maslennikov I, Choe S, Wang L. In Situ Formation of an Azo Bridge on Proteins Controllable by Visible Light. J Am Chem Soc. 2015 Sep 9; 137(35):11218-21. PMID: 26301538.
      View in: PubMed
    12. Li YC, Rodewald LW, Hoppmann C, Wong ET, Lebreton S, Safar P, Patek M, Wang L, Wertman KF, Wahl GM. A versatile platform to analyze low-affinity and transient protein-protein interactions in living cells in real time. Cell Rep. 2014 Dec 11; 9(5):1946-58. PMID: 25464845; PMCID: PMC4269221.
    13. Chen XH, Xiang Z, Hu YS, Lacey VK, Cang H, Wang L. Genetically encoding an electrophilic amino acid for protein stapling and covalent binding to native receptors. ACS Chem Biol. 2014 Sep 19; 9(9):1956-61. PMID: 25010185; PMCID: PMC4168779.
    14. Wang Q, Sun T, Xu J, Shen Z, Briggs SP, Zhou D, Wang L. Response and adaptation of Escherichia coli to suppression of the amber stop codon. Chembiochem. 2014 Aug 18; 15(12):1744-9. PMID: 25044429; PMCID: PMC4156322.
    15. Hoppmann C, Lacey VK, Louie GV, Wei J, Noel JP, Wang L. Genetically encoding photoswitchable click amino acids in Escherichia coli and mammalian cells. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2014 Apr 7; 53(15):3932-6. PMID: 24615769; PMCID: PMC4051619.
    16. Xiang Z, Lacey VK, Ren H, Xu J, Burban DJ, Jennings PA, Wang L. Proximity-enabled protein crosslinking through genetically encoding haloalkane unnatural amino acids. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2014 Feb 17; 53(8):2190-3. PMID: 24449339.
      View in: PubMed
    17. Coin I, Katritch V, Sun T, Xiang Z, Siu FY, Beyermann M, Stevens RC, Wang L. Genetically encoded chemical probes in cells reveal the binding path of urocortin-I to CRF class B GPCR. Cell. 2013 Dec 5; 155(6):1258-69. PMID: 24290358; PMCID: PMC3916339.
    18. Kang JY, Kawaguchi D, Coin I, Xiang Z, O'Leary DD, Slesinger PA, Wang L. In vivo expression of a light-activatable potassium channel using unnatural amino acids. Neuron. 2013 Oct 16; 80(2):358-70. PMID: 24139041; PMCID: PMC3815458.
    19. Lacey VK, Louie GV, Noel JP, Wang L. Expanding the library and substrate diversity of the pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase to incorporate unnatural amino acids containing conjugated rings. Chembiochem. 2013 Nov 4; 14(16):2100-5. PMID: 24019075; PMCID: PMC3947478.
    20. Xiang Z, Ren H, Hu YS, Coin I, Wei J, Cang H, Wang L. Adding an unnatural covalent bond to proteins through proximity-enhanced bioreactivity. Nat Methods. 2013 Sep; 10(9):885-8. PMID: 23913257; PMCID: PMC3882359.
    21. Jagadish K, Borra R, Lacey V, Majumder S, Shekhtman A, Wang L, Camarero JA. Expression of fluorescent cyclotides using protein trans-splicing for easy monitoring of cyclotide-protein interactions. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2013 Mar 11; 52(11):3126-31. PMID: 23322720; PMCID: PMC3767473.
    22. Johnson DB, Wang C, Xu J, Schultz MD, Schmitz RJ, Ecker JR, Wang L. Release factor one is nonessential in Escherichia coli. ACS Chem Biol. 2012 Aug 17; 7(8):1337-44. PMID: 22662873; PMCID: PMC3423824.
    23. Parrish AR, She X, Xiang Z, Coin I, Shen Z, Briggs SP, Dillin A, Wang L. Expanding the genetic code of Caenorhabditis elegans using bacterial aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase/tRNA pairs. ACS Chem Biol. 2012 Jul 20; 7(7):1292-302. PMID: 22554080; PMCID: PMC3401359.
    24. Wang Q, Wang L. Genetic incorporation of unnatural amino acids into proteins in yeast. Methods Mol Biol. 2012; 794:199-213. PMID: 21956564; PMCID: PMC3965369.
    25. Johnson DB, Xu J, Shen Z, Takimoto JK, Schultz MD, Schmitz RJ, Xiang Z, Ecker JR, Briggs SP, Wang L. RF1 knockout allows ribosomal incorporation of unnatural amino acids at multiple sites. Nat Chem Biol. 2011 Nov; 7(11):779-86. PMID: 21926996; PMCID: PMC3201715.
    26. Shen B, Xiang Z, Miller B, Louie G, Wang W, Noel JP, Gage FH, Wang L. Genetically encoding unnatural amino acids in neural stem cells and optically reporting voltage-sensitive domain changes in differentiated neurons. Stem Cells. 2011 Aug; 29(8):1231-40. PMID: 21681861; PMCID: PMC3209808.
    27. Lacey VK, Parrish AR, Han S, Shen Z, Briggs SP, Ma Y, Wang L. A fluorescent reporter of the phosphorylation status of the substrate protein STAT3. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2011 Sep 5; 50(37):8692-6. PMID: 21805546; PMCID: PMC3197789.
    28. Coin I, Perrin MH, Vale WW, Wang L. Photo-cross-linkers incorporated into G-protein-coupled receptors in mammalian cells: a ligand comparison. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2011 Aug 22; 50(35):8077-81. PMID: 21751313; PMCID: PMC3262126.
    29. Xiang Z, Wang L. Enantiospecific synthesis of genetically encodable fluorescent unnatural amino acid L-3-(6-acetylnaphthalen-2-ylamino)-2-aminopropanoic acid. J Org Chem. 2011 Aug 5; 76(15):6367-71. PMID: 21732687; PMCID: PMC3155268.
    30. Takimoto JK, Dellas N, Noel JP, Wang L. Stereochemical basis for engineered pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase and the efficient in vivo incorporation of structurally divergent non-native amino acids. ACS Chem Biol. 2011 Jul 15; 6(7):733-43. PMID: 21545173; PMCID: PMC3137230.
    31. Parrish AR, Wang L . Genetic Incorporation of Unnatural Amino Acids into Proteins. Comprehensive Natural Products Chemistry II Chemistry and Biology. 2010; 5:587-617.
    32. Takimoto JK, Xiang Z, Kang JY, Wang L. Esterification of an unnatural amino acid structurally deviating from canonical amino acids promotes its uptake and incorporation into proteins in mammalian cells. Chembiochem. 2010 Nov 2; 11(16):2268-72. PMID: 20872394; PMCID: PMC3029096.
    33. Johnson DB, Wang L. Imprints of the genetic code in the ribosome. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 May 4; 107(18):8298-303. PMID: 20385807; PMCID: PMC2889578.
    34. Majmudar CY, Lee LW, Lancia JK, Nwokoye A, Wang Q, Wands AM, Wang L, Mapp AK. Impact of nonnatural amino acid mutagenesis on the in vivo function and binding modes of a transcriptional activator. J Am Chem Soc. 2009 Oct 14; 131(40):14240-2. PMID: 19764747; PMCID: PMC4182099.
    35. Takimoto JK, Adams KL, Xiang Z, Wang L. Improving orthogonal tRNA-synthetase recognition for efficient unnatural amino acid incorporation and application in mammalian cells. Mol Biosyst. 2009 Sep; 5(9):931-4. PMID: 19668857.
      View in: PubMed
    36. Wang Q, Parrish AR, Wang L. Expanding the genetic code for biological studies. Chem Biol. 2009 Mar 27; 16(3):323-36. PMID: 19318213; PMCID: PMC2696486.
    37. Shu X, Wang L, Colip L, Kallio K, Remington SJ. Unique interactions between the chromophore and glutamate 16 lead to far-red emission in a red fluorescent protein. Protein Sci. 2009 Feb; 18(2):460-6. PMID: 19165727; PMCID: PMC2708057.
    38. Lin MZ, Wang L. Selective labeling of proteins with chemical probes in living cells. Physiology (Bethesda). 2008 Jun; 23:131-41. PMID: 18556466.
      View in: PubMed
    39. Johnson DBF, Takimoto JK, Xu J, Wang L . Unnatural Amino Acids to Investigate Biological Processes. Wiley Encyclopedia of Chemical Biology. 2008; 10.1002/9780470048672.wecb585.
    40. Wang Q, Wang L. New methods enabling efficient incorporation of unnatural amino acids in yeast. J Am Chem Soc. 2008 May 14; 130(19):6066-7. PMID: 18426210.
      View in: PubMed
    41. Wang W, Takimoto JK, Louie GV, Baiga TJ, Noel JP, Lee KF, Slesinger PA, Wang L. Genetically encoding unnatural amino acids for cellular and neuronal studies. Nat Neurosci. 2007 Aug; 10(8):1063-72. PMID: 17603477; PMCID: PMC2692200.
    42. Parrish AR, Wang W, Wang L. Manipulating proteins for neuroscience. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2006 Oct; 16(5):585-92. PMID: 16956756.
      View in: PubMed
    43. Wang L, Xie J, Schultz PG. Expanding the genetic code. Annu Rev Biophys Biomol Struct. 2006; 35:225-49. PMID: 16689635.
      View in: PubMed
    44. Wang L, Tsien RY. Evolving proteins in mammalian cells using somatic hypermutation. Nat Protoc. 2006; 1(3):1346-50. PMID: 17406421.
      View in: PubMed
    45. Zhang Y, Wang L, Schultz PG, Wilson IA. Crystal structures of apo wild-type M. jannaschii tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase (TyrRS) and an engineered TyrRS specific for O-methyl-L-tyrosine. Protein Sci. 2005 May; 14(5):1340-9. PMID: 15840835; PMCID: PMC2253270.
    46. Wang L, Schultz PG. Expanding the genetic code. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2004 Dec 17; 44(1):34-66. PMID: 15599909.
      View in: PubMed
    47. Wang L, Jackson WC, Steinbach PA, Tsien RY. Evolution of new nonantibody proteins via iterative somatic hypermutation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Nov 30; 101(48):16745-9. PMID: 15556995; PMCID: PMC529417.
    48. Xie J, Wang L, Wu N, Brock A, Spraggon G, Schultz PG. The site-specific incorporation of p-iodo-L-phenylalanine into proteins for structure determination. Nat Biotechnol. 2004 Oct; 22(10):1297-301. PMID: 15378068.
      View in: PubMed
    49. Wang L. Amersham Prize winner. Expanding the genetic code. Science. 2003 Oct 24; 302(5645):584-5. PMID: 14576413.
      View in: PubMed
    50. Zhang Z, Smith BA, Wang L, Brock A, Cho C, Schultz PG. A new strategy for the site-specific modification of proteins in vivo. Biochemistry. 2003 Jun 10; 42(22):6735-46. PMID: 12779328.
      View in: PubMed
    51. Liu H, Wang L, Brock A, Wong CH, Schultz PG. A method for the generation of glycoprotein mimetics. J Am Chem Soc. 2003 Feb 19; 125(7):1702-3. PMID: 12580587.
      View in: PubMed
    52. Mehl RA, Anderson JC, Santoro SW, Wang L, Martin AB, King DS, Horn DM, Schultz PG. Generation of a bacterium with a 21 amino acid genetic code. J Am Chem Soc. 2003 Jan 29; 125(4):935-9. PMID: 12537491.
      View in: PubMed
    53. Wang L, Xie J, Deniz AA, Schultz PG. Unnatural amino acid mutagenesis of green fluorescent protein. J Org Chem. 2003 Jan 10; 68(1):174-6. PMID: 12515477.
      View in: PubMed
    54. Wang L, Zhang Z, Brock A, Schultz PG. Addition of the keto functional group to the genetic code of Escherichia coli. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Jan 7; 100(1):56-61. PMID: 12518054; PMCID: PMC140882.
    55. Santoro SW, Wang L, Herberich B, King DS, Schultz PG. An efficient system for the evolution of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase specificity. Nat Biotechnol. 2002 Oct; 20(10):1044-8. PMID: 12244330.
      View in: PubMed
    56. Chin JW, Santoro SW, Martin AB, King DS, Wang L, Schultz PG. Addition of p-azido-L-phenylalanine to the genetic code of Escherichia coli. J Am Chem Soc. 2002 Aug 7; 124(31):9026-7. PMID: 12148987.
      View in: PubMed
    57. Zhang Z, Wang L, Brock A, Schultz PG. The selective incorporation of alkenes into proteins in Escherichia coli. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2002 Aug 2; 41(15):2840-2. PMID: 12203503.
      View in: PubMed
    58. Chin JW, Martin AB, King DS, Wang L, Schultz PG. Addition of a photocrosslinking amino acid to the genetic code of Escherichiacoli. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Aug 20; 99(17):11020-4. PMID: 12154230; PMCID: PMC123203.
    59. Wang L, Brock A, Schultz PG. Adding L-3-(2-Naphthyl)alanine to the genetic code of E. coli. J Am Chem Soc. 2002 Mar 6; 124(9):1836-7. PMID: 11866580.
      View in: PubMed
    60. Wang L, Schultz PG. Expanding the genetic code. Chem Commun (Camb). 2002 Jan 7; (1):1-11. PMID: 12120285.
      View in: PubMed
    61. Wang L, Schultz PG. A general approach for the generation of orthogonal tRNAs. Chem Biol. 2001 Sep; 8(9):883-90. PMID: 11564556.
      View in: PubMed
    62. Wang L, Brock A, Herberich B, Schultz PG. Expanding the genetic code of Escherichia coli. Science. 2001 Apr 20; 292(5516):498-500. PMID: 11313494.
      View in: PubMed
    63. Wang L, Magliery TJ, Liu DR, Schultz PG. A New Functional Suppressor tRNA/Aminoacyl-tRNA Synthetase Pair for the in vivo Incorporation of Unnatural Amino Acids into Proteins. J Am Chem Soc. 2000; 122(20):5010-5011.
    64. Song JQ, Li CZ, He HX, Chen Y, Wang L, Liu ZF. Fabrication of Gold Nanostructures on Graphite Using Atomic Force Microscope. Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals. 1997; 294(1):51-54.
    65. He HX, Li CZ, Song JQ, Mu T, Wang L, Zhang HL, Liu ZF. Force Titration of a Carboxylic Acid Terminated Self-Assemble Monolayer Using Chemical Force Microscopy. Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals. 1997; 294(1):99-102.
    66. Chen Y, Wang L, He HX, Liu ZF. Developing High Resolution Electrical Probing System Based on Atomic Force Microscopy. Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals. 1997; 294(1):91-94.
    67. Zhu B, Zhang P, Wang L, Liu Z. NOTE J Colloid Interface Sci. 1997 Jan 15; 185(2):551-3. PMID: 9028910.
      View in: PubMed
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