The Dong laboratory has a broad interest in microbial toxins, bacterial infections, and host-microbe interactions. We are also utilizing toxins as tools to study fundamental cell biology questions on membrane trafficking and cytoskeleton remodeling in neurons. Along these lines of basic research, we are keen in developing microbial toxin-inspired novel protein therapeutics for treating cancer, pain, and other neurological disorders. We have a multi-disciplinary team crossing microbiology, protein engineering, cell biology, and neuroscience fields. Recent achievements include identification of receptors for C. difficile toxin via genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 screen (Nature, 2016, 538:350, Science, 2018, 360:664), identification of novel botulinum neurotoxins (Nature Communications, 2017, 8:14130; Cell Host and Microbe, 2018, 23:169), and protein engineering of botulinum neurotoxins (Nature Communications, 2017, 8:53). Current projects include:
(1) Mechanism of bacterial toxins and effectors: we are studying botulinum neurotoxins, tetanus neurotoxin, Shiga toxin, Clostridium difficile toxins, and many bacterial effectors using latest experimental approaches.
(2) Host-microbe interactions: enteric pathogens (e.g., C. difficile infections) and microbiome; urinary tract infections and urinary microbiome.
(3) Developing novel therapeutic toxins: apply modern protein engineering methods to develop novel therapeutic toxins for treating chronic pain and cancer.
(4) Cell biology of neurons: apply imaging and electrophysiological approaches to characterize synaptic vesicle exocytosis/recycling, cytoskeleton regulation, and endosomal sorting and trafficking in cells.
Please see our lab website for details: http://donglab.hms.harvard.edu
Enders Building, Room 1070
300 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115