Peng Wu, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Molecular Medicine
California Campus


Scripps Research Joint Appointments

Faculty, Graduate Program

Research Focus

The research in the Wu Laboratory integrates synthetic chemistry with biochemistry to explore the relevance of glycosylation in human disease. The glycome, defined as the full complement of glycans that a cell produces, is involved in a variety of physiological processes, including angiogenesis, fertilization, stem cell development and neuronal development. Changes in the glycome have also been shown to mark the onset of cancer and inflammation. The wealth of biological information encoded in the glycome has motivated researchers to develop methods for its retrieval.

Produced by the secondary metabolism rather than encoded in the genome, glycans are assembled in a step-wise fashion by multiple enzymes and thus by multiple genes. Therefore, genetic and biochemical tools alone cannot be used to define all aspects of the glycome. Rather, many complementary approaches must be applied in parallel in order to assemble a picture of the glycome both from the “bottom up” and from the “top down”.

The major goal of our lab is to develop chemical biology platforms to image and characterize the glycome in the immune system and in tumors. We are also interested in chemical tools that can be used to selectively enrich glycoproteins for their molecular identification. These new tools will facilitate the discovery of new biomarkers for diseases, and assist in the development of clinical diagnostics and therapeutics.

Key biological questions we are interested include: How does cell-surface glycosylation change during immune-cell activation and what is the underlying mechanism? How do tumor cells exploit glycan-lectin interactions to suppress immune-cell activation within the tumor microenvironment? How to boost activities of leukocytes by using small-molecule probes to control cell-surface glycan mediated signaling?


Ph.D. (Chemistry), Scripps Research, 2005
M.S. (Chemistry), Indiana University, 2001
B.S. (Chemistry), Peking University, 1999

Professional Experience

2017-2018 Associate Professor, Molecular Medicine, Scripps Research
2015-2017 Associate Professor, Chemical Physiology, Scripps Research
2014-2015 Visiting Investigator, Chemistry, Scripps Research
2013-2014 Associate Professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
2011-2014 Scientific Director of the Chemical Biology Core Facility, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
2013-2013 Visiting Fellow, Pembroke College, University of Oxford
2008-2013 Assistant Professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
2005-2008 Postdoctoral Associate, University of California, Berkeley

Awards & Professional Activities

2007-2012 NIH Pathway to Independence Award
2011-2014 DuPont Young Professor Award
2013 Visiting Fellowship, Pembrook College, University of Oxford, UK
2013 David Y. Gin Young Investigator Award, Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry, American Chemical Society
2014 Kavli Fellow
2015 Chinese-American Chemistry and Chemical Biology Professors Association Biomatik Distinguished Faculty Award

Selected References

All Publications

Engineered glycocalyx regulates stem cell proliferation in murine crypt organoids. Rouhanifard, S.H.; Aguilar Lopez, A.; Meng, L.; Moremen, K.W.; Wu,P. Cell. Chem. Bio. 2018, in press.

Modulating cell-surface receptor signaling and ion channel functions by in situ glycan editing. Jiang, H.; Meng, L.; Lopez-Aguilar, A.; Gao, Z.; Liu, Y.; Tian, X.; Yu, G.; Ovryn, B.; Moremen, K.W.; Wu, P. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, doi: 10.1002/anie.201706535 and 10.1002/ange.201706535.

Inhibition of Delta-induced Notch Signaling Using Fucose Analogs. Schneider, M.; Kumar, V.; Nordstrøm, L.; Feng, L.; Takeuchi, H.;  Stanley, P.; Wu, P.*; Haltiwanger, R. S.* Nat. Chem. Biol. 2018, 14, 65, (*co-corresponding authors). 

Profiling of Protein O-GlcNAcylation in Murine CD8+ Effector- and Memory-like T Cells. Lopez Aguilar, A.; Gao, Y.; Hou, X.; Lauvau, G.; Yates, J.R.; Wu, P. ACS Chem. Biol. 2017, 12, 3031.

Bifluoride-catalyzed Sulfur(VI) Fluoride Exchange (SuFEx) Reaction for the Synthesis of Polysulfates and Polysulfonates. Gao, B.; Zhang, L.; Zheng, Q.; Zhou, F.; Klivansky, L. M.; Lu, J.; Liu, Y.; Dong J.*; Wu, P.*; Sharpless,  K. B.* Nat. Chem. 2017, 9, 1083. (*co-corresponding authors). 

Tracking Surface Glycans on Live Cancer Cells with Single Molecule Sensitivity. Jiang, H.; English, B.; Hazan, R.; Wu, P.;* Ovryn, B.* Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 93, 21.

Biocompatible Click Chemistry Enabled Compartment-Specific pH Measurement Inside E. coli. Yang, M.; Jalloh, A.; Wei, W. Zhao, J.*; Wu. P*; Chen, P.R.* Nat. Commun. 2014, 5, Article number: 4981; doi:10.1038/ncomms5981

CHoMP: A Chemoenzymatic Histology Method for Glycan Detection Using ‘Clickable’ Probes. Rouhanifard, S. H.; López-Aguilar, A.; Wu, P. ChemBioChem. 2014, 15, 2667.

In vivo chemistry. Bertozzi, C. R.; Wu, P. Curr. Opin. Chem, Biol. 2013, 17, 717.

Chemical Probing of Glycans in Cells and Organisms. Rouhanifard, S. H.; Nordstrom, L. U.; Zheng, T.; Wu, P. Chem. Soc. Rev. 2013, 42, 4284.

Detection and Isolation of Dendritic Cells Using Lewis X-functionalized Magnetic Nanoparticles.
Rouhanifard, S. H.; Xie, R.; Zhang, G.; Sun, X.; Chen, X.; Wu, P. Biomacromolecules. 2012, 13, 3039.

Increasing the Efficacy of Bioorthogonal Click Reactions for Bioconjugation: A Comparative Study
Besanceney, C.; Jiang, H.; Zheng, T.; Feng, Lei; Soriano Del Amo, D.; Klivansky, L.; Liu, Y.; Marlow, F.; Wu, P. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2011, 50, 8051.

Tracking N-acetyllactosamine on Cell Surface Glycans in Vivo. Zheng, T.; Jiang, H.; Gros, M., Soriano del Amo, D.; Sundaram, S.; Lauvau, G.; Marlow, F.; Liu, Y., Stanley, P.; Wu, P. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2011, 50, 4113.

Biocompatible copper(I) catalysts for in vivo imaging of glycans. Soriano del Amo, D.; Wang, W.; Jiang, H.; Besanseney, C.; Yan, A, C.; Levy, M.; Liu, Y.; Marlow, F. Wu, P. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 16893.

Chemoenzymatic Synthesis of GDP-L-fucose and the Lewis X Glycan Derivatives. Wang, W.; Hu, T.; Frantom, P. A.; Zheng, T; Gerwe, B.; Soriano del Amo, D.; Seidel, R.D. III; Wu, P. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 2009, 106, 16096.


Single Glycoproteins Caught In Motion

Ligands Let Copper Click Inside Cells

Imaging Molecules On Living Cells