Photo of Wendy  Mok, Ph.D.

Wendy Mok, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Biology and Biophysics
Director, Graduate Program in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Academic Office Location:
Molecular Biology and Biophysics
UConn Health
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030
Phone: 860-679-2203
Fax: 860-679-3408

Mok Lab

Department of Molecular Biology and Biophysics

Molecular Biology & Biochemistry Graduate Program

H.BSc.McMaster UniversityBiochemistry, Molecular Biology Specialization
Ph.D.McMaster UniversityBiochemistry

Post-Graduate Training
PostdoctoralPrinceton UniversityPostdoctoral Research Associate, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Name of Award/HonorAwarding Organization
2023 University of Connecticut Mentorship Excellence AwardUniversity of Connecticut
2022 Osborn Biomedical Science Graduate Teaching AwardUConn Health
NIH Director's New Innovator AwardNational Institutes of Health
Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation Travel FellowshipUniversity of Basel
Charles H. Revson Senior Fellowship in Biomedical ScienceCharles H. Revson Foundation
Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship, Doctoral LevelNatural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship, Master’s LevelNatural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA), 2004, 2006, 2007Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

  • Foundations in Biomedical Science MEDS 6448

  • Molecular Basis of Disease MEDS 5309

  • Medical Microbiology MEDS 444-40

Our research focuses on how bacteria respond to and survive antibiotic treatment. We are especially interested in bacterial persisters, which are rare cell types in a population that can tolerate lethal doses of antibiotics that kill their genetically identical kin. Unlike antibiotic resistant mutants, persisters have not acquired heritable genetic changes that allow them to grow in the presence of antibiotics. Rather, the persister phenotype is transient. Once the antibiotic is removed and cells resume growth, the phenotype is lost. As persisters are recalcitrant to antibiotic treatment, they can potentially fuel the development of relapsing chronic infections and antibiotic resistance.

Our major goal is to understand the triggers and survival strategies of bacterial persisters. We use genetic, biochemical, and systems biology approaches to investigate how fluctuations in the host environment impact persistence and how bacteria respond to and recover from treatment with antibiotics that target different cellular components. Contact us to find out more.

Accepting Lab Rotation Students: Fall 2023 and Spring 2024

Journal Articles

Book Chapters

  • Nutrient limitation and bacterial persistence
    Mok, Wendy W.K., Brynildsen, Mark P. Persister Cells and Infectious Disease 2019 Nov;99-132
  • Resistance and tolerance to aminoglycosides
    Mok, Wendy W K and Brynildsen, Mark P Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics: From Molecules to Man 2019 Mar;481-100
  • Small size, big impact: Bacterial functional nucleic acids and their applications
    Mok, W.W.K, McManus, S.A., and Li Y RNA Technologies. Chemical Biology of Nucleic Acids: Fundamentals and Clincial Applications 2014 Jan;309-323


Title or AbstractTypeSponsor/EventDate/YearLocation
Sensitizing Antibiotic-Tolerant Bacteria to Topoisomerase Inhibitors to Reduce Infection Relapse and Resistance DevelopmentTalkLabRoots Microbiology Virtual Week2022Virtual
Leveraging Bacterial Vulnerabilities to Bolster the Efficacy of Topoisomerase Inhibitors.Talk50th Annual American Chemical Society Middle Atlantic Region Meeting2022Ewing, NJ
Leveraging Bacterial Vulnerabilities to Bolster the Efficacy of Topoisomerase Inhibitors.TalkGordon Research Conference on Drug Resistance2022Smithfield, RI
Responses of Bacterial Persisters between Life and DeathTalkUConn Health MD-Ph.D. Program2021WebEx
Illuminating Bacterial Persister Survival Strategies with Flow CytometryPlenary LectureInternational Society for Advancement of Cytometry Annual Meeting2021On-line
Bacteria in Sickness: How Persisters Recover from Antibiotic TreatmentTalkUConn Department of Molecular & Cell Biology2020WebEx/ UConn Storrs
Bacteria in Sickness: How Persisters Recover from Antibiotic TreatmentTalkNIH Lambda Lunch2020WebEx/ NIH
Deciphering the Survival Strategies of Bacterial PersistersTalkPioneer Valley Microbiology Symposium2020UMass Amherst
Deciphering the Survival Strategies of Bacterial PersistersLectureUConn Department of Pathobiology2019UConn Storrs
A Tale of Bugs and Drugs: Investigating How Bacterial Persisters Survive Antibiotic TreatmentsTalkInfectious Diseases Intercity Grand Rounds2019UConn Health
DNA Damage Repair in Fluoroquinolone Persisters Can Fuel Antibiotic FailureTalkBridging Theory and Experiment in Microbial Communities2018Princeton Center for Theoretical Science, Princeton, New Jersey
Tick-tock: Timing of DNA damage responses impacts fluoroquinolone persistenceTalkEMBO Workshop on Bacterial Persistence and Antimicrobial Therapy2018Congressi Stefano Franscini, Ascona, Switzerland
Timing of replication and repair impacts persistence to ofloxacinTalkEMBO|EMBL Symposium: New Approaches and Concepts in Microbiology2017EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany