Photo of Penghua  Wang, Ph.D.

Penghua Wang, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Academic Office Location:
Department of Immunology
UConn Health
263 Farmington Avenue
Room L3057
Farmington, CT 06030-1319
Phone: 860-679-6393
Fax: 860-679-1868

Immunology Graduate Program

Curriculum Vitae:

Research interest: Pattern Recognition Receptors, Inflammasomes, Ubiquitination, Mosquito-Borne Viruses, SARS-CoV-2. 

Research support: NIH R01AI132526, R21AI170981, R21AI177623

B.Sc.Sun Yat-sen UniversityBiochemistry
Ph.D.The National University of SingaporeBiochemistry

Post-Graduate Training
PostdoctoralYale UniversityPostdoctoral Associate

Name of Award/HonorAwarding Organization
COVID-19 Heroes-2020 FallUConn Health
Career Development AwardNortheast Biodefense Center, NIAID


Immunity to Viral Infection MEDS 5329, MEDS 5335


Name & DescriptionCategoryRoleTypeScopeStart YearEnd Year
Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, DoDStudy Sectionad hoc memberExternalNational2022
ZRG1_IDIA-T(90)S, NIHStudy Sectionad hoc memberExternalNational20222022
ZGM1_RCB_W, NIHStudy Sectionad hoc memberExternalNational20222022
ZAI-FDS-W, NIH, Meeting on 01/14/2021Study SectionAd hoc memberExternalNational20212021
Biomedical Sciences PhD Program Admission CommitteeEducation CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20202024
French Agence Nationale de la Recherche-ANRStudy SectionGrant ReviewerExternalInternational20192019
NIH, Topics on VirologyStudy SectionGrant ReviewerExternalNational2019
VirusesEditorial BoardGuest EditorExternalInternational20182019
American Association of ImmunologistsProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational2018
Antimicrobial Agents and ChemotherapyProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewing EditorExternalInternational20172023
NIH, Non-HIV Infectious Agent Detection/Diagnostics, Food Safety, Sterilization/Disinfection and Bioremediation Special Emphasis PanelStudy SectionAd hoc memberExternalNational2016
American Society For VirologyProfessional/Scientific OrganizationRegular MemberExternalNational2015
Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, Frontiers in VirologyProfessional/Scientific JournalAssociate EditorExternalInternational2015
American Society for VirologyProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational2015
Hongkong Health and Medical Research FundStudy SectionGrant ReviewerExternalInternational2014
Journal of VirologyEditorial BoardReviewing EditorExternalInternational

My research focuses on pattern recognition receptor signaling pathways and pathogenesis of mosquito-borne RNA viruses. On the host end, I am interested in cellular regulation of the major viral RNA (RIG-I like receptors)- and DNA (cGAS-STING)-sensing pathways. I am also keen on the non-canonical inflammasome. On the viral end, I attempt to understand the mechanisms of immune evasion and modulation of cellular functions by viral proteins. 

Project 1. Cellular regulation of inflammasomes. Inflammasomes are large cytosolic multiprotein complexes formed in response to infections and cellular stresses, leading to auto-activation of inflammatory caspases, production of inflammatory mediators and pyroptosis. Hyperactive inflammasomes are involved in the pathogenesis of sepsis, a life-threatening illness accounting for >250,000 deaths each year in the United States. We are interested in identifying and characterizing novel cellular regulators of inflammasome signaling. We have recently generated 375 E3 ubiquitin ligase knockout cell lines by CRISPR-Cas9, completed screening these knockouts for the non-canonical inflammasome, and identified several promising candidates awaiting to be characterized in-depth.  

Project 2. Cellular regulation of pattern recognition receptors (PRR). RIG-I like receptors (RLRs) and cGAS-STING are major cytoplasmic viral RNA and DNA sensors essential for triggering antiviral immune responses. However, hyperactive PRR signaling may contribute to autoinflammatory diseases. By screening 375 E3 ubiquitin ligase knockout cell lines, we have identified several promising regulators of RLR and STING signaling awaiting to be characterized in-depth. We are also investigating how glucose transporters regulate viral pathogenesis and RLR signaling.  

Project 3. Manipulation of host skin microbiota by mosquito-borne viruses. Mosquito-borne viruses (dengue, Zika, Chikungunya etc.) infect roughly ~400 million people worldwide. The host-seeking motivation of mosquitoes in response to host cues is not only essential for female mosquito reproduction, but also for arbovirus transmission. We are investigating how arboviruses manipulate host skin microbiota to produce mosquito-attracting odors and promote transmission. 


Accepting Lab Rotation Students: Fall 2023, Spring and Fall 2024

Journal Articles


Title or AbstractTypeSponsor/EventDate/YearLocation
UBXN3B Controls B Lymphopoiesis via BLNKTalkAmerican Society for Virology Annual Meeting2022Madison, Wisconsin, U.S
UBXNs, new players in antiviral immunityTalkDepartment of Virology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine2018New York City, NY
STING Controls Chikungunya Virus Infection and PathogenesisTalkShenzhen CDC, Tsinghua University2016Shenzhen, China
NOD Like Receptor 6: Not A Nod to Enteric VirusesTalkDepartment of Medicine, McGill University2016Montreal Canada
A critical role for STING in the control of Chikungunya virus pathogenesisPosterKeystone Symposium2016Austin, TX, USA