Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and the Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, USA

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. His 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. elelgans, and recently embryonic mouse. Wang discovered that release factor one is nonessential in E. coli, and engineered autonomous bacteria capable of incorporating Uaas at multiple sites with high efficiency. By proposing the concept of proximity-enabled bioreactivity, Wang designed and demonstrated that a new class of Uaas, the bioreactive Uaas, can be genetically encoded in live systems. These bioreactive Uaas enable bioreactivities, inaccessible to proteins before, to be specifically introduced into biosystems, opening the door for new protein engineering and biological research in vivo. Wang is a Beckman Young Investigator, a Searle Scholar, and an NIH Director's New Innovator Awardee.