Welcome to the Wang Group at USC

We are interested in harnessing the power of nature to create clinically useful drugs. We study the organisms that naturally produce biologically active molecules. Scientists in the lab have expertise in natural products isolation and characterization, synthetic organic chemistry, synthetic biology, fungal genetics, and genomics. An area of research in the Wang lab is astromycology where we study earth derived fungi in space. This research area has far reaching implications in human space exploration. 


Find out what we do in the Wang group. Let Jan tell you his project. For more videos check out our current projects page above.


Funding news:

8/8/19 NASA has just funded the Wang group with the project titled “Characterization of ISS microorganisms that assist in the decomposition of complex organic matter during spaceflight.” We are excited to be part of NASA’s efforts in Moon and Mars exploration.


Experimental Update SpaceX-CRS8:

05/26/16 The NASA-Micro10 was successfully launched to the ISS onboard SpaceX-CRS8 on April 8 and returned to Earth on May 11, 2016. Samples were recovered by the Micro 10 team from Cold Stowage on May 12, 2016 from the NASA transport aircraft at the Long Beach Airport. In this study we sent four different strains of A. nidulans to the International Space Station. Our goal is to understand the role of microgravity in natural product production in fungi. We hope to discover new natural products and/or new mechanisms of natural production biosynthesis regulation. We also believe this study will open up the opportunity to produce drugs in outer Space. We are grateful for the numerous press coverage please clink links below: The paper detailing this work has just been accepted in the peer review journal Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology.

Popular Science



Experimental Update SpaceX-CRS9:


05/26/16 BRIC-Natural Products project also known as (CASIS-BRIC-NP) was launched onboard SpaceX-CRS9 on July 18, 2016. In this study we sent eight different species of fungi for the discovery of new natural products for agricultural and medicinal purposes. These organisms were isolated from the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster zone. Two of the species display radiotropism and grow towards radiation. Our goal for this project is to understand how these fungi utlize radiation and also to see if these organisms can make new compounds in space.  We are grateful for the numerous press coverage please click links below:

LA Times


Popular Science

Southern California Public Radio


Congratulations to CJ:

06/28/18 Former Wang group Ph.D. student Dr. Chun Jun (CJ) Guo has accepted a tenured track Assistant Professor position at Weill Cornell Medical School in New York City.

Congratulations to Ada for joining NASA and Michelle for joining Zymergen after defending their PhD theses:


Wang group attends the European Conference in Fungal Genetics ECFG14 and Asperfest 15 in Haifa, Israel:


Publication news:

01/28/19 Our paper on the elucidation of Aspernidgulenes biosynthesis has been published in the journal Chembiochem. The artwork below has been accepted as cover art for the journal in their March issue.


09/19/18 Two more papers published in the same week. One paper published in Molecular Microbiology describes our collaborative work with Sven Krappmann in Germany on mating type factor specific regulation in A. fumigatus. The second paper published in mSystems describes our collaborative work with Kasthuri Venkateswaran on A. niger isolated from the International Space Station.

08/11/18 Two papers accepted in the same week. One paper published in FGB describes our work on the acetylaranotin pathway in A. terreus. A second paper in Org Lett. describes our efforts in investigating NRPS-like genes.

Michelle Grau wins Best Poster Awards at ECFG14 and Asperfest 15.


Wang group lab manager Johannes van Dijk wins the 2017 Krown Fellowship:

Johannes who goes by Jan has been awarded the top Ph.D. student award at the USC School of Pharmacy. Hard work and dedication does pay off.

Research in the Wang group is supported by

National Institutes of Health

National Science Foundation

Department of Defense

Department of Energy

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Center for the Advancements of Science in Space

Joint Genome Institute