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Home People Faculty Faculty Gerard C. L. Wong, Ph.D.

Gerard C. L. Wong, Ph.D.

Gerard Wong

Department of Bioengineering
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
California Nanosystems Institute

4121E Engineering V
310-794-7684 | 310-794-5956 fax | Wong Group Website


  • B.S., California Institute of Technology, 1987
  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1994
  • Postdoctoral Research with Professor W.H. de Jeu, FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics, Amsterdam, 1994-1996
  • Postdoctoral Research with Professor C.R. Safinya, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1997 - 2000


Professor Wong received his BS degree in Physics from Caltech and his PhD in Physics from UC Berkeley.  He subsequently pursued postdoctoral research on soft matter physics at the FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics in Amsterdam, and on biophysics and bioengineering at UC Santa Barbara.  Wong represented the U.S. in the NSF-MEXT US-Japan Young Scientist Symposium on Nanobiotechnology (2005), the Taipei Academia Sinica International Workshop on Soft Matter and Biophysics (2007), and the NSF-DST US-India Nanoscience & Engineering Workshop (2008).  He currently serves on the Editorial Board of Physical Review E.

Awards and Recognitions

  • Director, Center for Early Bacterial Biofilm Studies, Human Frontiers Science Program, 2013
  • Fellow, American Physical Society, 2012
  • 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

Research Interests

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


Immunity and antibiotics

  • Innate immunity and antimicrobial peptides
  • Antibiotic-resistant pathogens and antibiotic design
  • Transporter sequences and cell penetrating peptides for drug delivery
  • Budding and scission peptides in viruses
  • Autoimmune diseases (Ex: lupus, psoriasis)

Bacterial communities and biofilms
  • Bacterial communities (Ex: cdiGMP signaling, motility, social organization in biofims)
  • Image processing, machine learning, application of 'big data' methods
  • Biofouling
  • Cystic Fibrosis

  • Protein-lipid interactions and membrane curvature generation (Ex: Apoptosis proteins and cancer therapeutics)
  • Synchrotron x-ray methods
  • Physical chemistry of solvation (Ex: femtosecond hydration dynamics of ions and surfaces)
  • Soft condensed matter physics of self-assembly (Ex: polymers, polyelectrolytes, membranes, liquid crystals, colloids, nanoparticles)


Selected Recent Papers (since 2010)

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. N.W. Schmidt, M. Lis, K. Zhao, G.H. Lai, A. Alexandrova, G.N. Tew, G.C.L. Wong, "Arginine molecular basis for nanoscopic membrane curvature generation from quantum mechanical models and synthetic transporter sequences", J. Am. Chem. Soc., 134, 19207-19216, 2012.
    5. R.H. Coridan and G.C.L. Wong, "Molecular solvation dynamics from inelastic X-ray scattering experiments", Advance Chemical Physics (invited article), 149: 183-187, 2012.
    6. A. Mishra, G.H. Lai, N.W. Schmidt, V.Z. Sun, A.R. Rodriguez, R. Tong, L. Tang, J. Cheng, T.J. Deming, D.T. Kamei, and G.C. Wong, Translocation of HIV TAT peptide analogues iinduced by multiplexed membrane and cytoskeletal interactions, "Proc. Natl Acad Sci USA, October 11, 2011, 108(41), 16883-16888, Epub 2011, Oct 3.
    7. M. Zasloff, A.P. Adams, B. Beckerman, A. Campbell, Z. Han, E. Luijten, I. Meza, J. Julander, A. Michra, W. Qu, J.M. Tyalor, S.C. Weaver, and G.C. Wong, "Squalamine as a broad-spectrum systemic antiviral agent with therapeutic potential, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2011 Sep 20; 108(38): 15979-83. Epub 2011 Sep 19.
    8. F. Jin, J.C. Conrad, M.L. Gibiansky, and G.C. Wong, "Bacteria use type-IV pili to slingshot on surfaces," Proc. Natl Acad Sci USA. 2011 Aug 2: 108(31):12617-12622. Epub 2011 Jul 18.
    9. N.W. Schmidt, A. Mishra, G.H. Lai, M. Davis, L.K. Sanders, D. Tran, A. Garcia, K.P. Tai, P.B. McCray, A.J. Ouellette, M.E. Selsted, and G.C. Wong, "Criterion for amino acid composition of defensins and antimicrobial peptides based on geometry of membrane destabilization", J. Am Chem Soc. 2011 May 4:133(17):6720-6727. Epub 2011 Apr 7.
    10. K.M. Colvin, V.D. Gordon, K. Murakami, B.R. Borlee, D.J. Wozniak, G.C. Wong, and M.R. Parsek, "The pel polysaccharide can serve a structure and protective role in the biofilm matrix of Pseudomonas aeurginosa," PLoS Pathogens 2011 Jan 27;7(1):e1001264.
    11. G.C.L. Wong and G. O'Toole, eds., "Integrating biofilm research across disciplines", MRS Bulletin, 36, 339-391 (2011); special MRS Bulletin issue devoted to bacterial biofims.
    12. M.L. Gibiansky, J.C. Conrad, F. Jin, V.D. Gordon, D.A. Motto, M.A. Mathewson, W.G. Stopka, D.C. Zelasko, J.D. Shrout, and G.C. Wong, "Bacteria use type IV pili to walk upright and detach from surfaces," Science 2010 Oct 8:330(6001):197.


    • Bioengr C104 / C204:  Physical chemistry of Biomacromolecules (Fall Quarter)
    • Bioengr C139A / C239A:  Biomolecular Materials Science I (Winter Quarter)
    • Bioengr C139B / C239B:  Biomolecular Materials Science II (Spring Quarter)

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