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Nicholas C. Wu

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry

Research Interests

Research Topics

Immunology, Virology, Molecular Evolution, Protein Structure, Bioinformatics

Disease Research Interests

Infectious Diseases

Research Description

The Wu lab focuses on three research questions:

  1. What are the constraints of virus evolution?
  2. Can we predict antibody specificity?
  3. Can we improve the quality and speed of vaccine design?

The Wu lab addresses these questions mainly in the context of influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2, using molecular virology, protein biochemistry, next-generation sequencing, high-throughput assays, x-ray crystallography, cryo-EM, and machine learning.


Postdoc, The Scripps Research Institute, 2020
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 2015
B.S., University of Virginia, 2010

Awards and Honors

Viruses Early Career Investigator Award (2022)
UIUC MCB Outstanding Junior Faculty Award (2022)
ASV Ann Palmenberg Junior Investigator Award (2022)
Searle Scholar Award (2022)
Michelson Prize (2021)
ESWI Young Scientist Innovative Award (2021)
NIH Director's New Innovator Award (2021)
NIH Pathway to Independence Award (2019)
Croucher Postdoctoral Fellowship (2015-2017)

Highlighted Publications

Representative Publications

Tan TJC, Mou Z, Lei R, Ouyang WO, Yuan M, Song G, Andrabi R, Wilson IA, Kieffer C, Dai X, Matreyek KA, Wu NC. High-throughput identification of prefusion-stabilizing mutations in SARS-CoV-2 spike. Nature Communications 14:2003 (2023)

Ouyang WO*, Tan TJC*, Lei R, Song G, Kieffer C, Andrabi R, Matreyek KA, Wu NC. Probing the biophysical constraints of SARS-CoV-2 spike N-terminal domain using deep mutational scanning. Science Advances 8:eadd7221 (2022)

Lei R, Tan TJC, Hernandez Garcia A, Wang Y, Diefenbacher M, Teo C, Gopan G, Tavakoli Dargani Z, Teo QW, Graham CS, Brooke CB, Nair SK, Wu NC. Prevalence and mechanisms of evolutionary contingency in human influenza H3N2 neuraminidase. Nature Communications 13:6443 (2022)

Wang Y*, Yuan M*, Lv H, Peng J, Wilson IA, Wu NC. A large-scale systematic survey reveals recurring molecular features of public antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2. Immunity 55:1105-1117.e4 (2022)

Koenig PA, Das H, Liu H, Kümmerer BM, Gohr FN, Jenster LM, Schiffelers LDJ, Tesfamariam YM, Uchima M, Wuerth JD, Gatterdam K, Ruetalo N, Christensen MH, Fandrey CI, Normann S, Tödtmann JMP, Pritzl S, Hanke L, Boos J, Yuan M, Zhu X, Schmid-Burgk JL, Kato H, Schindler M, Wilson IA, Geyer M, Ludwig KU, Hällberg BM#Wu NC#, Schmidt FI#. Structure-guided multivalent nanobodies block SARS-CoV-2 infection and suppress mutational escape. Science 371:eabe6230 (2021)

(*co-first, #co-corresponding)

Recent Publications

Lei, R., Hernandez Garcia, A., Tan, T. J. C., Teo, Q. W., Wang, Y., Zhang, X., Luo, S., Nair, S. K., Peng, J., & Wu, N. C. (2023). Mutational fitness landscape of human influenza H3N2 neuraminidase. Cell Reports, 42(1), [111951].

Luo, Y., Lv, H., Zhao, S., Sun, Y., Liu, C., Chen, C., Liang, W., Kwok, K. O., Teo, Q. W., So, R. TY., Lin, Y., Deng, Y., Li, B., Dai, Z., Zhu, J., Zhang, D., Fernando, J., Wu, N. C., Tun, H. M., ... Mu, X. (2023). Age-related seroprevalence trajectories of seasonal coronaviruses in children including neonates in Guangzhou, China. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 127, 26-32.

Tan, T. J. C., Mou, Z., Lei, R., Ouyang, W. O., Yuan, M., Song, G., Andrabi, R., Wilson, I. A., Kieffer, C., Dai, X., Matreyek, K. A., & Wu, N. C. (2023). High-throughput identification of prefusion-stabilizing mutations in SARS-CoV-2 spike. Nature communications, 14(1), [2003].

Diefenbacher, M., Tan, T. J. C., Bauer, D. L. V., Stadtmueller, B. M., Wu, N. C., & Brooke, C. B. (2022). Interactions between Influenza A Virus Nucleoprotein and Gene Segment Untranslated Regions Facilitate Selective Modulation of Viral Gene Expression. Journal of virology, 96(10).

Knyazev, S., Chhugani, K., Sarwal, V., Ayyala, R., Singh, H., Karthikeyan, S., Deshpande, D., Baykal, P. I., Comarova, Z., Lu, A., Porozov, Y., Vasylyeva, T. I., Wertheim, J. O., Tierney, B. T., Chiu, C. Y., Sun, R., Wu, A., Abedalthagafi, M. S., Pak, V. M., ... Mangul, S. (2022). Unlocking capacities of genomics for the COVID-19 response and future pandemics. Nature Methods, 19(4), 374-380.

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