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Principal Investigator - Professor Lai-Xi Wang
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Office Phone: (301) 405-7527
Office Address: 3500A, Chemistry Building (091)

Dr. Wang received his PhD in organic chemistry from Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences. After postdoctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University in glycobiology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in biochemistry and molecular biology, he joined the faculty of Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine as a Tenure-Track Assistant Professor in 2000, promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2005, and to Full Professor with tenure in 2009 at University of Maryland School of Medicine. He was also a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Maryland School of Medicine from 2007-2015. In 2015, he was recruited to University of Maryland College Park as Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry to lead efforts in developing new research programs centered on chemical biology.

Dr. Wang was the recipient of the 2004 Young Investigator Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry and the 2014 Melville L. Wolfrom Award, both from the American Chemical Society. He was inducted into the prestigious Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars in 2009 and was elected as AAAS Fellow in 2014. Dr. Wang’s professional service to the research communities includes serving as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Carbohydrate Research; a chartered member of the NIH Synthetic and Biological Chemistry (SBCA) Study Section (2008-2012); the Vice Chair of the 2015 Gordon Research Conferences on Carbohydrates; the Chair of the 2017 Gordon Research Conferences on Carbohydrates; and the Chair of the Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry, the American Chemical Society (2016). Dr. Wang was elected as an American Chemical Society Fellow (ACS Fellow) in 2019. 

Current members
Dr. Zong received his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry at China Agricultural University in 2012, where he was trained as carbohydrate chemist. He then moved to University of Arkansas as a Research Associate working on medicinal chemistry and chemical proteomics of anticancer natural glycoresins. He joined Dr. Wang's group in 2018, works on the chemoenzymatic synthesis of natural and synthetic Nodulation Factors, HIV-1/SARS-CoV-2 N-glycopeptides for glycan function studies and vaccine development, antibody glycan remodeling, as well as Novel ADC platform development.
Dr. Xianyang Wang
Postdoctoral Fellow
Xianyang Wang received his Ph.D. degree in medicinal chemistry from Fudan University in 2022. He joined the Wang lab in the Spring of 2023. His research is to design and synthesize fluorinated and other functionalized oligosaccharides and glycans, then use a chemoenzymatic method to transfer them to antibody to make selectively modified antibody glycoforms, which will be used for probing antibody structure and functions.
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Grace Henry Lunde
Graduate Student

Grace, a DMV native, received her Bachelor’s in Biology from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA in the Spring of 2017. Upon graduation, she was appointed to an ORISE Fellowship at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) in an X-ray crystallography laboratory. As the Milligan Fellow (2018), she spent the summer before pursuing her graduate education at UMD, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as a research fellow in a molecular biology laboratory. She joined the Wang Lab in the Spring of 2019 and is working on developing new chemoenzymatic approaches for synthesizing O-glycoproteins.

Darnell Harris
Graduate Student

"Darnell earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Ithaca College in 2019. While there, he studied in two labs, one of which investigated the properties of a protein-carbohydrate based double-network gel excreted by a slug native to upstate New York, and the other which attempted to utilize protein crystallography to elucidate the structure of various bacterial enzymes. He also interned at the Nation Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), working on protein structure studies via Cryo-EM. Darnell joined the Wang Lab in the Spring of 2020 and primarily focuses on antibody Fc sialylation."

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Margaryta Gomozkova
Graduate Student

Margaryta obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg, ID in the Spring of 2020. To expand her research experience, she worked as a research assistant in Palladin Institute of Biochemistry in Kyiv, Ukraine. She studied the reciprocal influence of isolated extracellular vesicles on cell responses associated with EMT/MET (cell adhesion, migration, and invasion). She joined Dr. Wang’s lab in the Spring of 2021.

Dilani Natasha Owitipana
Graduate Student

Natasha graduated with Bachelor of Science Honors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, where her research focused on developing an antagonist for the S1P3 receptor. After graduation she worked as an assistant lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, UOC for a period of one year. She joined Wang’s lab in the Fall of 2022. Her work focuses on developing chemoenzymatic approaches in glycan remodeling. She loves to spend her free time with her friends and is big on keeping fit.

Helena Yun
Graduate Student

Helena received her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with a specialization in Biochemistry at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia in the Spring of 2022. There she worked on the synthesis of visible light photocatalysts for asymmetric catalysis in Dr. Lin Pu’s lab. She joined the Wang Lab in Fall of 2022 and is currently working on developing chemoenzymatic methods for site-specific antibody conjugation.

Nikolai Tolstoy
Graduate Student

Nikolai Tolstoy graduated with a BS in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004. He did undergraduate research in the lab of Dr. Madeleine Joullie focusing on natural product synthesis. After graduating he worked in industry at Astra Zeneca, Phizer, and contract research organizations doing medicinal chemistry and formulation work. He then worked in clinical research in trauma and emergency medicine before returning to basic science and chemistry at UMD. He joined Dr. Wang’s lab in 2022 to work on the synthesis of antibody-drug conjugate.

Dr. Guanghui Zong
Assistant Research Scientist
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Dr. Kun Huang
Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr. Huang obtained his PhD in chemistry at the University of Manchester, UK, in 2018. He was trained as a biochemist under the supervision of Prof. Sabine Flitsch. He joined Dr. Wang’s group in 2019 as a postdoc research associate. He has worked on chemoenzymatic synthesis of glycopeptides and glycoproteins.
Recent Alumni from the Wang Lab
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Dr. Xiao Zhang
Postdoctoral Fellow
Xiao Zhang received his Ph.D. in Chemical Biology under the supervision of Prof. Zhongjun Li from Peking University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2019, after which he joined Prof. Lai-Xi Wang’s lab. He has worked on glycan remodeling of recombinant human α-glucosidase with mannose-6-phosphate oligosaccharides to enhance its therapeutic efficacy.
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Dr. Miao Liu
Postdoctoral Fellow
Miao Liu received her PhD in chemical biology under the supervision of Prof. Xin-Shan Ye from Peking University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, China, in July 2021. Then she joined Prof. Lai-Xi Wang’s lab. Her research had focused on the development of new chemical and chemoenzymatic methods for synthesizing fluorinated carbohydrates and specifically functionalized antibodies for deciphering biological functions.
Thomas Connor Donahue
Graduate Student

Connor received his Bachelor’s in Biochemistry from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in St. Mary’s City, MD in the spring of 2016. After graduation, he pursued a research position at the University of Maryland Baltimore Pharmacology Department where he investigated the role of ADP Ribosylation Factors in synaptic plasticity. He joined the Wang lab in the Spring of 2019 and he has worked on the multivalent display of glycans on protein/ vesicle scaffolds for the study of glycan- protein interactions.

Chong Ou
Graduate Student

Chong got his B.S. degree from College of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley. He has worked on ADC and Galectin inhibitor in Dr. Wang's lab.

Sunaina Kiran Prabhu
Graduate Student

Sunaina obtained her Bachelor of Engineering degree in Biotechnology from M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore, India. Post her Bachelor’s studies, she worked on the expression of recombinant anti-cancer antibodies using mammalian cell culture in Biocon Research Ltd., India. She joined Dr. Wang’s lab in January 2017 and she has worked on expressing therapeutic glycoproteins in bacterial cells.

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Huiying Liu
Research Assistant

Huiying Liu received her master degree in Chemical Biology under the supervision of Prof. Zhongjun Li from Peking University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2019, after which she joined Prof. Lai-Xi Wang’s lab as a research assistant.

Dr. Qiang Yang
Assistant Research Scientist
Dr. Yang obtained his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cellular Biology, Chinese Academy of Science in 2002. Afterwards, he completed his postdoctoral training in Johns Hopkins University and University of Maryland, Baltimore, including 2008-2009 in Dr. Lai-Xi Wang’ lab at Institute of Human virology. He joined American Gene Technology from 2010-2013 as the Lead Scientist (chief scientific leader), leading research programs in gene therapy of HIV/AIDS and liver cancer. Afterwards, he served as Chief Scientific Officer in Cellomics Technology LLC. In 2014, he came back to Dr. Lai-Xi Wang’s lab as an Assistant Research Scientist (non-tenure track research faculty).
Dr. Chao Li
Assistant Research Scientist
Chao Li received his B.S. in chemistry and Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Sichuan University, China. He joined Korea University in 2012 as a visiting scholar, where he worked on engineering glycosidases and glycosyltransferases for the synthesis of bioactive oligosaccharides. He is currently a professional track faculty as an Assistant Research Scientist in Professor Lai-Xi Wang’s group at University of Maryland, where his work entails the development of novel glycosidase mutants for glycoengineering of proteins and therapeutic antibodies. His research interest is in the areas of chemoenzymatic synthesis of biologically important oligosaccharides and glycoconjugates, mechanistic enzymology, and protein engineering.
Roushu Zhang
Graduate Student
Roushu was in an international joint educational program, and obtained her BS degrees in Chemistry from Sichuan University and University of New Mexico in 2014. She then got enrolled in PhD program of Biochemistry in the University of Maryland College Park in 2015. She joined Dr. Lai-Xi Wang's lab as a graduate student. She has worked on controlling glycosylation in mammalian cell culture.
Dr. Yuanwei (Davis) Dai
Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr. Dai received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 2015 from Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences. After postdoctoral studies at UT Southwestern Medical center and State University of New York at Albany in medicinal chemistry and glyco-chemistry. He joined Dr. Wang’s lab in 2019 and his research had focused on the development of molecular probes for modulating glycan cellular functions and chemoenzymatic synthesis of multivalent N-glycan scaffolds targeting CD22 (Siglec-2).
Xin (Claude) Tong
Graduate Student
Claude completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, UK, in 2014. He was working in Dr. Peter Monk’s group researching the anti-inflammatory effects of complement-dependent signaling analogs, C3aI and C5aI. He has been working as a graduate research assistant in Dr. Lai-Xi Wang’s group since January 2015. The main goal of his Ph.D. study is to design and development of novel glycan-modifying enzymes suitable for highly efficient chemoenzymatic glycosylation remodeling of antibody therapeutics. 
Dr. Tiezheng (Kevin) Li
Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr. Li received his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Marquette University, where he studied the biosynthesis of bacterial polysaccharides. He joined Dr. Wang research group in 2014 and his research focused on antibody N-glycan modification and determining the impact of different N-glycan composition on antibody functions. 
Dr. Hui Cai
Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr. Cai got his PhD from Department of Chemistry, Tsinghua University. He joined in Prof. Wang's group in 2015 with his research focus on chemoenzymatic synthesis of HIV N-glycopeptide and vaccine development.
Dr. Jared Orwenyo
Postdoctoral Fellow
Jared received his Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of Nairobi followed by a Master of Science degree in Chemistry from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He received his PhD from the University of Maryland Baltimore County in Baltimore, Maryland under the supervision of Prof. Lai-Xi Wang. His research project in Dr. Wang group entails synthesis of HIV glycopeptides based on the gp120 epitopes of broadly-neutralizing antibodies.
John Giddens
Graduate Student
John obtained his Bachelor's degree in Biology and Chemistry from The College of William and Mary in Virginia, where he did research in molecular biology, studying the nuclear import of the thyroid hormone receptor in the lab of Dr. Lizabeth Allison. His research in Dr. Wang lab includes the chemoenzymatic synthesis of homogeneous glycopeptides and glycoproteins using the bacterial endoglycosidases Endo-F3 and Endo-S with a special focus on the glycoengineering of homogeneous glycoforms of monoclonal antibodies. 
Teodora Kljaic
Graduate Student
Teodora obtained her Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from Grinnell College, Iowa, where she did research in Molecular Pharmacology, working on Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors at Levandoski Lab. Her research at Dr. Wang lab includes highly convergent chemoenzymatic synthesis of prostate-cancer associated antigens for diagnostic and therapetic purposes.
Kate O'Nele
Graduate Student
Kate received her B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS. There she worked in the area of methodology involving SET Pd/Ir dual catalysis for the synthesis of new sp3-sp3 bonds. Joining Dr. Wang's group in fall of 2015, she worked on the chemoenzymatic synthesis of natural and synthetic Nodulation Factors, as well as HIV vaccine design.
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