Wong, Gerard C. L.

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Biomedical Engineering
Bacterial communities
Innate immunity
Physical Chemistry
Soft matter physics

Contact Information

Engineering V, 4121E
(310) 794-7684
4011 Engineering V

Short Biography

Gerard C. L. Wong is a Professor in the Department of Bioengineering, Department of Chemistry, and the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. Wong received his BS and PhD at Caltech physics and Berkeley physics respectively. He joined the Materials Science & Engineering Dept and Physics Dept at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2000 and moved to UCLA in 2009.

His research recognition includes: the Beckman Young Investigator Award, Alfred P Sloan Fellowship, and Sackler Distinguished Speaker. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (2011), a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (2016), and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2018). His current research interests include bacterial biofilm communities, innate immunity, and antibiotic design.

Research Interests

Bioengineering Research by Dr. Gerard WongBioengineering

Dr. Wong is interested in a multi-disciplinary approach to solving problems in biology and biomedicine., combining physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering.  The group is inherently interdisciplinary; our collaborations include physicists, chemists, material scientists, biologists, medical doctors, and bioengineers.






  • Innate immunity (control of immune system, autoimmune diseases, cancer immunotherapy)
  • Antimicrobials and antibiotic-resistant pathogens
  • Bacterial communities (Ex: signaling, motility, social organization in biofilms)
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Apoptosis proteins and cancer therapeutics
  • Disinfection and water purification
  • Self-assembly in biology and biotechnology (Ex: drug and gene delivery)
  • Physical chemistry of solvation (Ex: femtosecond hydration dynamics of ions and surfaces)
  • Soft condensed matter physics (Ex: polymers, polyelectrolytes, liquid crystals, colloids, nanoparticles)
  • Biophysics (Ex: DNA, membranes, proteins)



Honors & Awards

  • Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2018) (AIMBE College of Fellows)
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (2016)
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society (2011)
  • Racheff Faculty Scholar Award, 2008
  • Xerox Foundation Award for Senior Faculty Research, 2008
  • Prostate Cancer Foundation Competitive Award, 2007
  • Selection to the Frontiers of Engineering Symposium sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering, 2006
  • Xerox Foundation Award for Junior Faculty Research, 2005
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, 2004
  • Burnett Teaching Award, 2003
  • Beckman Young Investigator Award, 2001
  • Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2018) (AIMBE College of Fellows)
  • Apker Prize, American Physical Society (1987) (1st Prize, U.S. National Undergraduate Physics Thesis Competition)


[ Selected Recent Publications ]

  • 1. Calvin K. Lee, Jaime De Anda, Amy E. Baker, Rachel R. Bennett, Yun Luo, Joshua A. Keefe, Joshua S. Helali, Jie Ma, Kun Zhao, Ramin Golestanian, George A. O’Toole, and Gerard C. L. Wong, “Cyclic AMP Mediates Memory and Behavior Adaptation during Surface Sensing and Early Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilm Formation”, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA (2018), in press. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1720071115
  • 2. Michelle W. Lee, Ernest Y. Lee, Ghee Hwee Lai, Nolan W. Kennedy, Ammon E. Posey, Wujing Xian, Andrew L. Ferguson, R. Blake Hill, Gerard C. L. Wong, “Molecular Dnm1 synergistically induces membrane curvature to facilitate mitochondrial fission”, ACS Central Science 3, 1156-1167 (2017), cover article. PMID: 29202017. PMCID: PMC5704292.
  • 3. Jaime De Anda, Ernest Y. Lee, Calvin K. Lee, Rachel R. Bennett, Xiang Ji, Soheil Soltani, Mark C. Harrison, Amy E. Baker, Yun Luo, Tom Chou, George A. O’Toole, Andrea M. Armani, Ramin Golestanian, Gerard C. L. Wong, “High-speed “4D” computational microscopy of bacterial surface motility”, ACS Nano 11, 9340-9351 (2017). PMID: 28836761.
  • 4. Ernest Y. Lee, Toshiya Takahashi, Tine Curk, Jure Dobnikar, Richard L. Gallo, Gerard C. L. Wong, “Crystallinity of dsRNA-AMP complexes modulates TLR3-mediated inflammation”, ACS Nano 11, 12145-12155 (2017). PMID: 29016111.
  • 5. Sarah A. Tursi, Ernest Y. Lee, Nicole J. Medeiros, Michael H. Lee, Bettina Butter, Stefania Gallucci, Ronald P. Wilson, Gerard C. L. Wong, Cagla Tukel, “Bacterial amyloid curli acts as a carrier for DNA to elicit an autoimmune response via TLR2 and TLR9”, PLoS Pathogens, 13 (4), e1006315 (2017). PMID: 28410407. PMCID: PMC5406031.
  • 6. Michelle W. Lee, Ming Han, Guilherme Bossa, Carly Snell, Ziyuan Song, Haoyu Tang, Lichen Yin, Jianjun Cheng, Sylvio May, Erik Luijten, G. C. L. Wong, “Interactions between membranes and 'metaphilic' polypeptide architectures with diverse sidechain populations”, ACS Nano 11 (3), 2858-2871 (2017). PMID: 28212487.
  • 7. Anatolij Gelimson, Kun Zhao, Calvin K. Lee, W. Till Kranz, G. C. L. Wong, Ramin Golestanian, “Multicellular self-organization of P. aeruginosa due to interactions with secreted trails”, Phys. Rev. Lett., 117, 178102 (2016). PMID: 27824438.
  • 8. Mengning Ding, Hui-Ying Shiu, Shiue-Lin Li, Calvin K. Lee, Gongming Wang, Hao Wu, Nathan O. Weiss, Thomas D. Young, Paul S. Weiss, G. C. L. Wong, Kenneth H. Nealson, Yu Huang, and Xiangfeng Duan, “Nanoelectronic Investigation Reveals the Electrochemical Basis of Electrical Conductivity in Shewanella and Geobacter”, ACS Nano 10 9919-9926 (2016). PMID: 27787972.
  • 9. Calvin K. Lee, Alexander J. Kim, Giancarlo S. Santos, Peter Y. Lai, Stella Y. Lee, David F. Qiao, Jaime De Anda, Thomas D. Young, Yujie Chen, Annette R. Rowe, Kenneth H. Nealson, Paul S. Weiss, and G. C. L. Wong, “Evolution of Cell Size Homeostasis and Growth Rate Diversity during Initial Surface Colonization of Shewanella oneidensis”, ACS Nano 10 9183-9192 (2016). (See Perspectives article in same issue) PMID: 27571459.
  • 10. Ernest Y. Lee, Benjamin M. Fulan, G.C.L. Wong*, A. Ferguson*, “Mapping membrane activity in undiscovered peptide sequence space using machine learning”, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 113, 13588-13593 (2016) (*co-corresponding authors). PMID: 27849600. PMCID: PMC5137689.
  • 11. W. T. Kranz, A. Gelimson, K. Zhao, C. Lee, G. C. L. Wong, R. Golestanian, “Effective dynamics of microorganisms that interact with their own trails”, Phys. Rev. Lett., 117, 038101 (2016). PMID: 27472143.
  • 12. G. A. O’Toole, G. C. L. Wong, “Sensational biofilms: surface sensing in bacteria”, Current Opinion in Microbiology, 30, 139-146 (2016). PMID: 26968016. PMCID: PMC4843124.
  • 13. Julie S. Biteen, Paul C. Blainey, Zoe G. Cardon, Miyoung Chun, George Church, Pieter C. Dorrestein, Scott E. Fraser, Jack Gilbert, Janet K. Jansson, Rob Knight, Jeffery F. Miller, Aydogan Ozcan, Kimberly A. Prather, Sharif Taha, Ger van den Engh, Stephen Quake, Edward G. Ruby, Pamela Silver, Paul S. Weiss, G. C. L. Wong, Aaron T. Wright, X. Sunney Xie, Thomas D. Young, “Tools for the microbiome: Nano and beyond”, ACS Nano, 10, 6-37, featured on cover (2016). PMID: 26695070.
  • 14. M. Xiong, M. W. Lee, Z. Song, C. Yao, G. C. L. Wong, J. J. Cheng, “Helical antimicrobial polypeptides with radial amphiphilicity”, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 112 13155-13160 (2015). PMID: 26460016. PMCID: PMC4629321.
  • 15. H. Yao, M. W. Lee, A. J. Waring, G. C. L. Wong, M. Hong, “Viral fusion protein transmembrane domain adopts beta-strand structure to facilitate membrane topological changes for virus-cell fusion”, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 112 10926-10931 (2015). PMID: 26283363. PMCID: PMC4568205.
  • 16. C. J. Jones, A. S. Utada, K. Davis, W. Thongsomboon, D. Zamorano-Sánchez, V. Banakar, L. Cegelski, G. C. L. Wong, F. Yildiz, “c-di-GMP regulates motile to sessile transition by modulating MshA pili biogenesis and near-surface motility behavior in Vibrio cholera”, PLoS Pathogens 11, e1005068 (2015). PMID: 26505896. PMCID: PMC4624765.
  • 17. N. W. Schmidt, F. Jin, R. Lande, T. Curk, W. Xian, C. Lee, L. Frasca, J. Dobnikar, D. Frenkel, M. Gilliet, G. C. L. Wong, “Liquid crystalline ordering of antimicrobial peptide-DNA complexes controls TLR9 activation”, Nature Materials 14, 696-700 (2015). PMID: 26053762.
  • 18. J. R. Kramer, N. W. Schmidt, K. M. Mayle, D. T. Kamei, G. C. L. Wong, and Timothy J. Deming, ‘Reinventing cell penetrating peptides using glycosylated methionine sulfonium ion sequences”, ACS Central Science 1, 83-88 (2015). PMID: 27162954.
  • 19. J. K. Teschler, D. Zamorano-Sánchez, A. S. Utada, C. J. A. Warner, G. C. L. Wong, R. G. Linington, F. H. Yildiz, “Living in the matrix: a guide to Vibrio cholera biofilms” Nature Reviews Microbiology 13, 255-268 (2015). PMID: 25895940. PMCID: PMC4437738.
  • 20. Yun Luo, Kun Zhao, Amy E. Baker, Matthew C. Wolfgang, G. C. L. Wong, and George A. O’Toole, “Surface Sensing? A hierarchical cascade of second messengers regulates Pseudomonas aeruginosa surface behaviors”, mBio 6, e02456-14 (2015). PMID: 25626906. PMCID: PMC4324313.
  • 21. N. W. Schmidt, S. Deshayes, S. Hawker, A. Blacker, A. M. Kasko, G. C. L. Wong, “Engineering Persister-Specific Antibiotics with Synergistic Antimicrobial Functions”, ACS Nano, 8, 8786-8793 (2014), featured in ACS Editors’ Choice. PMID: 25130648. PMCID: PMC4173747
  • 22. A. S. Utada, R. R. Bennett, J. C. N. Fong, M. L. Gibiansky, F. H. Yildiz, R. Golestanian, and G. C. L. Wong, “Vibrio cholera use pili and flagella synergistically to effect motility switching and conditional surface attachment”, Nature Comm., 5, 4913 (2014). PMID: 25234699. PMCID: PMC4420032.
  • 23. N. W. Schmidt, A. Mishra, J. Wang, W. F. DeGrado, G. C. L. Wong, “Influenza virus A M2 protein generates negative Gaussian membrane curvature necessary for budding and scission”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 135, 13710-13719 (2013). PMID: 23962302. PMCID: PMC4000230.
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  • 24. K. Zhao, B. S. Tseng, B. Beckerman, F. Jin, M. L. Gibiansky, J. J. Harrison, E. Luijten, M. R. Parsek and G. C. L. Wong, “Psl trails guide exploration and microcolony formation in early P. aeruginosa biofilms”, Nature 497, 388-392 (2013). PMID: 23657259. PMCID: PMC4109411
  • 25. M. L. Gibiansky, W. Hu, K. Dahmen, W. Shi, and G. C. L. Wong, “Earthquake-like dynamics in Myxococcus xanthus social motility”, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 110 2330-2335 (2013). PMID: 23341622. PMCID: PMC3568354.