Edwin Wong

Research

My research interests revolve around the use of DNA technologies to answer interesting biological questions and problems. Currently, my lab is focused on several themes.

Monitoring toxic cyanobacteria
Cyanobacteria are ubiquitous photosynthetic bacteria found in terrestrial and aquatic environments. Some cyanobacteria carry the genes for producing metabolites toxic to humans and animals, and under certain conditions, these cyanotoxins are produced. My lab uses DNA to assess the genetic potential for cyanotoxin production, and we measure the concentrations of cyanotoxin at regional public beaches. Such data can be used by municipal health departments to make decisions about recreational water safety. Visit my
CYANOBACTERIA SITE.

Monitoring human pathogens in ticks
The blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) can transmit a variety of microorganisms pathogenic to humans, including the Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi. In partnership with Dr. Neeta Connally’s Tick Lab, my lab is optimizing the DNA tools necessary to identify the prevalence of these pathogens in ticks sampled from different terrains and locations in the state. 

Monitoring invasive zebra mussels
Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) are an invasive shellfish that can do great environmental damage to aquatic ecosystems by multiplying in massive numbers and depleting nutrients required by other species. My lab is using DNA to monitor the presence and spread of these organisms in regional waterways.