Eric Wang, Ph. D.

Personal biography

I received my Ph.D degree in Microbiology at the Institute of Microbiology Chinese Academy of Sciences where I was mentored by Dr. Yan-he Ma. My doctoral degree centered on taxonomy and molecular ecology of moderately halophilic bacteria; a group of microorganisms living in hypersaline environments. During my Ph.D program, I developed a strong interest in the field of microbial physiology and ecology. I was curious to discover how different kinds of bacterial species can work together to reach their goals in a specific niche and what the role of a single bacterial species within that community is. After completing my Ph.D training, I further extended my research interests into the field of molecular biology and immunology, especially in the area of host and bacterial pathogen interaction. My current post-doctoral training, located at the School of Medicine, University of Maryland Baltimore, focuses on inflammasome biology associated with bacterial pathogenesis under the supervision of Dr. Joao Pedra. In addition to science, I enjoy spending time with my family, sometimes hiking or travelling to some of the state or national parks. I appreciate meeting new people and hosting social gatherings. I also like to discuss history and politics with my colleagues and friends.


Infection-derived lipids elicit an immune deficiency circuit in arthropods. Shaw DK, Wang X, Brown LJ, Chávez AS, Reif KE, Smith AA, Scott AJ, McClure EE, Boradia VM, Hammond HL, Sundberg EJ, Snyder GA, Liu L, DePonte K, Villar M, Ueti MW, de la Fuente J, Ernst RK, Pal U, Fikrig E, Pedra JH. Nature Communications 2017. 8:14401. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14401.

The prostaglandin E2-EP3 receptor axis regulates Anaplasma phagocytophilum-mediated NLRC4 inflammasome activ Wang X, Shaw DK, Hammond HL, Sutterwala FS, Rayamajhi M, Shirey KA, Perkins DJ, Bonventre JV, Velayutham TS, Evans SM, Rodino KG, VieBrock L, Scanlon KM, Carbonetti NH, Carlyon JA, Miao EA, McBride JW, Kotsyfakis M, Pedra JH. The prostaglandin E2-EP3 receptor axis regulates Anaplasma phagocytophilum-mediated NLRC4 inflammasome activation. PLoS Pathog. 2016 Aug 2;12(8):e1005803. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1005803. PMID:27482714.

The tick protein sialostatin L2 binds to Annexin A2 and inhibits NLRC4-mediated inflammasome activation. Wang X, Shaw DK, Sakhon OS, Snyder GA, Sundberg EJ, Santambrogio L, Sutterwala FS, Dumler JS, Shirey KA, Perkins DJ, Richard K, Chagas AC, Calvo E, Kopecký J, Kotsyfakis M, Pedra JH. (2016) Infect Immun. 2016 May 24;84(6):1796-805. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01526-15.

The tick salivary protein sialostatin L2 inhibits caspase-1-mediated inflammation during Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection. Chen G, Wang X, Severo MS, Sakhon OS, Sohail M, Brown LJ, Sircar M, Snyder GA, Sundberg EJ, Ulland TK, Olivier AK, Andersen JF, Zhou Y, Shi GP, Sutterwala FS, Kotsyfakis M, Pedra JH. (2014) Infect Immun. 2014 82(6):2553-64. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01679-14.

Streptohalobacillus salinus gen. nov., sp. nov., a moderately halophilic, Gram-positive, facultative anaerobe isolated from subsurface saline soil. Wang X, Xue Y, Ma Y. (2011) Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2011 61(5): 1127-1132. PMID: 20543154.

Sediminibacillus albus sp. nov., a moderately halophilic, Gram-positive bacterium isolated from a hypersaline lake, and emended description of the genus Sediminibacillus Carrasco et al. 2008. Wang X, Xue Y, Ma Y. (2009) Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2009 59(P7):1640-1644. PMID: 19542144.

Current Projects

My current project centers on the inflammasome, a protein scaffold that regulates the maturation of interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18 and recognizes infectious microbes that are transmitted by blood feeding arthropods. And yet the underlying mechanisms that enable inflammasome activation upon bacterial infection remain mostly unknown. Previously, we also observed that a tick salivary protein named sialostatin L2 (SL2) mitigates caspase 1-mediated inflammation upon infection of macrophages by the rickettsial pathogen Anaplasma phagocytophilum. My current project focuses on uncovering those molecular mechanisms of SL2-regulated inflammasome mitigation and the corresponding cellular cascade that occurs in macrophages during the pathogen infection.

Working in the Pedra lab

The Pedra lab is performing cutting-edge research in the field of innate immunity, pathogenesis and disease transmission by rickettsial agents by combining the state-of-the-art multidisciplinary approaches, including immunological, microbiological, biochemical and molecular biological techniques. Our research will enhance the understanding of arthropod-borne diseases and provide novel prevention strategies against these devastating diseases.


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