Siyuan (Steven) Wang

Assistant Professor

Departments & Organizations

Genetics

Yale Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS): Molecular Cell Biology, Genetics and Development: Cell Biology; Epigenetics; Genetics and Genomics; Imaging (super-resolution); Molecular Mechanisms; Nuclear Dynamics; Quantitative/Systems Biology

Biography

Dr. Siyuan (Steven) Wang obtained his B.S. in Physics from Peking University in 2007 and his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University in 2011. His Ph.D. dissertation presented a series of discoveries regarding the physical properties, organization, and dynamics of the bacterial cytoskeleton and cell wall. The findings provided a quantitative, spatiotemporal description of bacterial cell growth at the molecular level, and led to mechanistic explanations of important cellular behaviors, e.g., the maintenance of cell shape. Besides the scientific discoveries, the projects involved the development of several novel biophysical experimental approaches and theoretical frameworks, which could be broadly applied to other organisms. Dr. Wang’s graduate work won the “2011 American Physical Society Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Biological Physics”, annually awarded to one graduate student in the US.

During his postdoctoral training, Dr. Wang set out to study another large, complex biopolymer with a more direct relationship to human health – mammalian chromatin. The spatial organization of chromatin in the nucleus is of critical importance to many essential genomic functions, from the regulation of gene expression to the replication of the genome. Despite its significance, relatively little is known about the three-dimensional (3D) organization of the chromatin beyond the length scale of the nucleosomes, in large part due to the lack of tools that allow direct visualization and comprehensive mapping of the 3D organization of chromatin in individual chromosomes. To address this need, Dr. Wang’s main postdoctoral work published in Science introduced a novel multiplexed DNA fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) technique that enables direct spatial tracing of numerous genomic regions in individual chromosomes in single cells. As the first application of this technique, he traced the spatial organization of the recently discovered topologically associating domains, also termed contact domains, in individual chromosomes in interphase human cells, and revealed a series of unexpected structural features. Additionally in two side projects, he developed an RNA-aptamer-based two-color CRISPR labeling system, and a new photoactivatable fluorescent protein that has since been adopted by more than 100 research labs around the world for its ideal photo-switching properties and minimal labeling artifacts in single-molecule-based super-resolution microscopy. Dr. Wang’s postdoctoral study was supported by a Jane Coffin Childs Fellowship, and was awarded with the 2016 International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Young Scientist Prize in Biological Physics (one recipient per year worldwide), and the 2017 Harvard Chinese Life Sciences Distinguished Research Award.

Honors & Recognition

  • 2016 Young Scientist Prize in Biological Physics (one recipient per year worldwide)International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (2017)

  • 2017 Harvard Chinese Life Sciences Distinguished Research AwardHarvard Medical School Chinese Scientists and Scholars Association (2017)

  • Jane Coffin Childs FellowshipJane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research (2012), (2013), (2014)

  • 2011 Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Biological Physics (one recipient per year in the United States)American Physical Society (2012)

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