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The mission of our laboratory is to study ecology, evolution, and host-pathogen interaction for emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases by developing and applying systems biology approaches. We are interested in the zoonotic diseases, especially influenza A viruses.

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Research Interests

  • Genomic dynamics, epidemiological dynamics, and ecology of influenza A viruses
  • Host-pathogen interaction of influenza A virus, especially host-immune responses of influenza infection and influenza cell tropisms
  • Dynamics of microbial community in hosts/environments
  • New pathogen discovery
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Lab Director: Dr. Xiu-Feng (Henry) Wan

Dr. Xiu-Feng (Henry) Wan is a veterinarian, influenza virologist, and computational biologist. He has been an assistant professor, an associate professor and currently a professor in systems biology at the Department of Basic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University (MSU). Before joining MSU, Dr. Wan was a senior scientist in the Influenza Division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA from 2007 to 2009. He was an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology at Miami University from 2005 to 2007. He received his Ph.D. degree in Veterinary Medicine and minor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from MSU in 2002 (supervised by G. Todd Pharr). He also earned his Masters degree in Computer Science from MSU in 2002. He started his bioinformatics career in 2001 when he joined Susan Bridges’ laboratory at MSU to develop an interactive clustering algorithm for biological sequence analysis. From 2002 to 2003, he joined the Microbial Ecology and Functional Genomics Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a postdoc fellow (supervised by Jizhong Zhou). His training focused on bioinformatics, functional genomics, and environmental ecology. From 2003 to 2005, he had his second bioinformatics postdoc training at the Digital Biology Laboratory at University of Missouri-Columbia (supervised by Dong Xu). His training focused on algorithm development for RNA folding as well as evolutional studies on infectious diseases.
Dr. Wan’s long-term career goals are to understand ecology, evolution, microbe-microbe, and environment/host-microbe interaction by developing/applying systems biology approaches, specifically, including (1) to understand how influenza viruses are transmitted from animals to humans and from wild animals (i.e. migratory waterfowl and feral swine) to domestic animals (i.e. poultry and swine); (2) to assess risks and disease burdens of influenza viruses to both animals and humans using integrated computational and experimental research approaches; and (3) to develop effective vaccinations for influenza prevention and control.
Dr. Wan is a recipient of Superior Faculty Award (2013), Pegasus Research Award (2014), and Ralph E. Powe Research Excellence Award (2017) at Mississippi State University and Pfizer Award for Veterinary Research Excellence (2012). He was also a distinguished seminar speaker at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (2016). He has published more than 110 peer reviewed papers and gave over 140 invited talks at national and international meetings, research institutes, universities, and government agents. Dr. Wan’s research has been supported by NIH, NSF, DOJ, USDA, and SRAC. Dr. Wan taught functional genomics and advanced animal virology for graduate students, and co-taught veterinary virology and veterinary microbiology for the first year veterinary students. Dr. Wan has mentored over 70 students (ranging from high school students, undergraduate, veterinary student, graduate student, to postdoc), who have received a number of awards and fellowships, e.g. Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellowship by CDC and the recent Gates Cambridge Scholarship by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Wan serves as grant reviewers for NIH, CDC, FDA, Welcome Trust, and several international grant agencies. He also serves on editorial boards of a few journals, including Nature’s Scientific Reports.
Dr. Wan was born and raised in a small town on the Yangtze River in central China. He received his veterinary degree from Jiangxi Agricultural University and early graduate education (MS on Avian Medicine, thesis supervised by Chaoan Xin) from South China Agricultural University, where he identified A/goose/Guangdong/1/1996 (H5N1), the precursor virus causing current H5N1 threat. He is married and has two sons and one daughter.