Wei-Kung Wang M.D., Sc.D.


Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology
John A. Burns School of Medicine
651 Ilalo St BSB 320
Honolulu Hawaii 96813

Telephone: (808) 692-1667
E-mail: wangwk@hawaii.edu

National Taiwan University, College of Medicine,  Taipei, Taiwan, M.D. 1986 – Medicine
Harvard School of Public Health,  Sc.D. 1995 – Virology

Research Training and Background

Virology, Molecular Biology, and Infectious Diseases

Research Focus

Understand the pathogenesis and antibody responses following flaviviruses infection and facilitate the development of vaccines and serodiagnosis. His lab has developed different serological tests to distinguish various flavivirus infections (dengue, Zika, West Nile, and yellow fever viruses), which laid the groundwork to exploit flavivirus surveillance and immunopathogenesis in endemic regions.

Personal Statement
Currently, no antiviral or vaccine against dengue virus (DENV) is available to treat or prevent infections with the four serotypes of DENV, the leading cause of arboviral diseases worldwide. Dr. Wang demonstrated that the level and rate of decline of DENV load and virus-containing immune complexes correlated with disease severity, and reported for the first time the quasispecies nature of DENV in humans and mosquitoes. Recently, he focused on the precursor membrane (prM)/envelope (E) proteins of DENV, virus-like particles and antibody responses. He reported the highly conserved stem regions of prM/E proteins are involved in two important steps of replication and are potential targets of antivirals. Moreover, his lab developed a high-throughput dot blot assay for epitope mapping of anti-E antibodies by alanine-substitution mutants of the surface-exposed E residues. These findings have significant implications for dengue pathogenesis and vaccine development.

Ongoing Projects:

  • Develop multiplex serodiagnostic assays for pathogenic arboviruses in Brazil (R01 AI149502).
  • Collaborate to study arbovirus transmission during pregnancy in Nigeria.
  • Collaborate to study prior dengue immune status among recipients of Dengvaxia, the first and only licensed dengue vaccine, in Philippines.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, his lab established a SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus to assess the durability and kinetics of neutralization antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern following vaccinations and breakthrough infection.