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Xuan Wang

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Associate Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4501
Biography: 

Xuan Wang is a microbiologist interested in developing new microbial fermentation processes for the production of renewable bio-based chemicals. He received his BS from University of Science and Technology of China and obtained MS from Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) wtih CAS President Award. He obtained his PhD from University of Michigan with the support of Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship before he moved to University of Florida for his postdoc training in metabolic engineering. His lab at ASU combines genetics, experimental evolution and metabolic engineering in a concerted effort to address two great challenges in the field of applied microbiology. First, how to increase the carbon utilization efficiency of microbes when using renewable carbon sources; and second, how to optimize bacterial transport systems for bio-based production. In addition, he is also interested in altering and expanding cellular metabolisms to produce new value-added chemicals.

Education: 

Ph.D. Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2008

M.S., Biochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2003  

B.S., Biological Science, Univ. of Sci. & Tech. of China, 2000

Research Interests: 

Our lab aims to design and engineer recombinant microorganisms to produce valuable chemicals from renewable sources with the potential to replace petroleum-derived counterparts. Currently we are striving to characterize and overcome metabolic constraints and transport barriers that limit microbial production. Deep understanding of microbial metabolism, experimental evolution and metabolic engineering are our tools to achieve these goals.

Publications: 
  • Flores, A., Choi, H., Martinez, R., Onyeabor, M., Ayla EZ., Godar, A., Machas, M., Nielsen, D. and Wang X (2020) Catabolic Division of Labor Enhances Production of D-Lactate and Succinate From Glucose-Xylose Mixtures in Engineered Escherichia coli Co-culture Systems. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 8:329. doi:10.3389/fbioe.2020.00329
  • Onyeabor, M., Martinez, R., Kurgan, G.and Wang, X. (2020) Engineering transport systems for microbial production. Adv Appl Microbiol. doi:10.1016/bs.aambs.2020.01.002
  • Kurgan, G., Kurgan, L., Schneider, A., Onyeabor, M., Rodriguez-Sanchez, Y., Taylor, E., Carbonell, P., Martinez, R., Shi, X., Gu, H. and Wang, X. (2019) Identification of major malate export systems in an engineered malate producing Escherichia coli aided by substrate similarity search. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. doi: 10.1007/s00253-019-10164-y.
  • Martinez, R., Flores, A., Dufault, M., Wang, X. (2019) The XylR variant (R121C and P363S) releases arabinose‐induced catabolite repression on xylose fermentation and enhances coutilization of lignocellulosic sugar mixtures. Biotechnol Bioeng. doi:10.1002/bit.27144
  • Kurgan, G., Sievert, C., Flores, A., Schneider, A., Billings, T., Panyon, L., Morris, C., Taylor, E., Kurgan, L., Cartwright, R., Wang, X. (2019) Parallel experimental evolution reveals a novel repressive control of GalP on xylose fermentation in Escherichia coli. Biotechnol Bioeng. doi:10.1002/bit.27004
  • Flores, A., Zeynep, A., Nielsen, D., Wang, X. (2019) Engineering a synthetic, catabolically orthogonal coculture system for enhanced conversion of lignocellulose-derived sugars to ethanol. ACS Synth Biol. doi:10.1021/acssynbio.9b00007
  • Flores, A., Wang, X., Nielsen, D. (2019) Recent trends in integrated bioprocesses: aiding and expanding microbial biofuel/biochemical production. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 57, 82-87
  • Kurgan, G., Panyon, L., Rodriguez-Sanchez, Y., Pacheco, E., Nieves, L. M., Mann, R., Nielsen, D., Wang, X. (2019). Bioprospecting of native efflux pumps to enhance furfural tolerance in ethanologenic Escherichia coli. Appl Environ Microbiol. 85:e02985-18
  • Machas, M., Kurgan, G., Flores, A., Schneider, A., Jha, A., Coyle, S., Varman, A., Wang, X., and Nielsen, D. (2018). Emerging tools, enabling technologies, and future opportunities for the bioproduction of aromatic chemicals. J Chem Technol Biotechnol. doi:10.1002/jctb.5762
  • Sievert, C., Nieves, L. M., Panyon, L. A., Loeffler, T., Morris, C., Cartwright, R., Wang, X. (2017) Experimental evolution reveals a novel avenue to release catabolite repression via mutations in XylR. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 114, 7349-7354
  • Flores, A., Kurgan, G., Wang, X. (2016). Engineering bacterial sugar catabolism and tolerance toward lignocellulose conversion. Chapter Six in Engineering of Microorganisms for the Production of Chemicals and Biofuels from Renewable Resources. G. Gosset ed. (Springer) ISBN 9783319517285 pp. 147-180
  • Immethun, C.M., Henson, W.R., Wang, X., Nielsen, D.R. and Moon T.S. (2016). Engineering central metabolism for production of higher alcohol-based biofuels. (Book Chapter) In Biotechnologies for Biofuel Production and Optimization. C. Eckert and C. Trinh ed. (Elsevier) ISBN 9780444634757.
  • Nieves, L. M., Panyon, L. A., Wang, X. (2015) Engineering sugar utilization and microbial tolerance toward lignocellulose conversion. Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. 3:17. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2015.00017
Research Activity: 
  • SusChEM: Enhancing Tolerance and Performance of a Renewable Aromatic Biorefinery. NSF-ENG-CBET(6/15/2015 - 8/31/2019) Co-PI
  • Direct Photosynthetic Production of Biodiesel by Growth-Decoupled Cyanobacteria.DOE-BETO (09/2016-12/2018) Co-PI
  • AJINOMOTO INNOVATION ALLIANCE PROGRAM: A machine-learning algorithm to identify transporters of aromatic bioproducts for the food industry (12/2018-11/2019) PI
  • Multi-Pronged Approach to Improving Carbon Utilization by Cyanobacterial Cultures. DOE-EERE (10/1/2018-9/30/2021) Co-PI
  • CAREER: Systems-Level Identification and Characterization of Cellular Export and Efflux Systems for Renewable Chemicals. NSF-Systems and Synthetic Biology (2/1/2020-1/31/2025) PI
  • IRES: Track I: Exploring Biobased Plastics and Materials through Collaborative Research in Japan. NSF-OISE (9/1/2020-8/31/2023) Co-PI
Summer 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
MIC 220Biology of Microorganisms
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
BDE 792Research
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
MIC 220Biology of Microorganisms
MBB 493Honors Thesis
BIO 493Honors Thesis
MIC 495Undergraduate Research
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
BDE 792Research
BDE 799Dissertation
Summer 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
MIC 220Biology of Microorganisms
MBB 493Honors Thesis
BIO 493Honors Thesis
MIC 495Undergraduate Research
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
BDE 792Research
BDE 799Dissertation
Summer 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
BDE 792Research
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
MIC 220Biology of Microorganisms
MBB 493Honors Thesis
MIC 495Undergraduate Research
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
Summer 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
MIC 220Biology of Microorganisms
MIC 495Undergraduate Research
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 499Individualized Instruction
Summer 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
Spring 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
MIC 220Biology of Microorganisms
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
MIC 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 499Individualized Instruction
BDE 792Research
Fall 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
MIC 401Research Paper
BME 494Special Topics
MBB 494Special Topics
BIO 494Special Topics
BCH 494Special Topics
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
MIC 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
MIC 591Seminar
BME 598Special Topics
BCH 598Special Topics
BIO 598Special Topics
MCB 598Special Topics
Honors / Awards: 
  • NSF CAREER Award, 2020
  • Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship, University of Michigan, 2008
  • The President Award of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2003
Service: 
  • the SCience and ENgineering Experience (SCENE) high school program (2015 - 2017)
  • 2015 Annual meeting of Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, Conference session organizer and co-chair (2015)
  • "High School Summer Research program" organized by Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Mentor for high school students (2015 - Present)
  • Mesa Community College, Mentor for the minority undergraduates (2015 - Present)
  • SOLS Safety Committee, GEB group representative (2015 - Present)
  • ASU Open Door outreach event every year since 2015
  • Co-Director for Microbiology Graduate program (2018 - Present)
  • NSF Panelist