Clay C. C. Wang

Clay C. C. Wang, PhD

Department Chair and Professor of Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Research Topics

  1. Natural Products Drug Discovery
  2. Gene Regulation of Fungal Secondary Metabolism
  3. Metabolic Engineering
  4. Space Biology

Contact Information

  • Web Site
  • 9121 HSC
  • PSC 406A
  • (323) 442-1670
  • PSC 406
  • (323) 442-1365


A.B. 1996 Chemistry - Harvard University

Ph.D. 2002 Chemistry - California Institute of Technology

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship: 2001-2003 Stanford University

Clay C. C. Wang

Research Interest

The primary focus of my lab is to use an interdisciplinary approach to study natural product drugs. We are interested in studying three aspects of natural product drug discovery: 1) development of heterologous hosts for natural product production 2) discovery of natural products and their biosynthesis pathways in fungal and bacterial genomes 3) investigation in the production of drugs onboard the International Space Station. The long term goal of our Space project is to facilitate Human Space Exploration by providing the necessary drug production capabilities in outer space.


Dr. Clay Wang is a Professor at the USC School of Pharmacy, and the Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Chemistry of the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and serves on the executive board of the USC Academic Senate.

Dr. Wang received his B.A. in chemistry from Harvard University in 1996 and a Ph.D in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 2001. After completing a two- year, postdoctoral fellowship in chemistry and chemical engineering at Stanford University, he joined the faculty in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at USC School of Pharmacy as an Assistant Professor in 2003.

His research program focuses on the interface of chemistry and biological sciences. Specifically he is exploring the mechanism of natural product biosynthesis in bacteria and fungi. His lab has been studying the use of Aspergillus nidulans as a general host for the production of fungal natural products. The lab is supported from a variety of sources including National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institute of General Medicine (NIGMS), American Cancer Society, National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense (DOD), Joint Genome Institute (JGI), NASA, and ISS-CASIS.

Selected Projects/Publications

View a complete PubMed search

View a complete Google Scholar search

Barkal, L., Theberge, A.B., Guo, C.J., Spraker, J., Rappert, L., Berthier, J., Brakke, K.A., Wang, C.C.C., Beebe, D.J., Keller, N.P., & Berthier, E.* Microbial metabolomics in open microscale platforms. Nature Communications, 2016; DOI: NCOMMS-15-10603A.

Chiang, Y.M., Ahuja, M., Oakley, C.E., Entwistle, R., Zutz, C., Wang, C.C.C. & Oakley, B.R.* Development of Genetic Dereplication Strains in Aspergillus nidulans Results in the Discovery of Aspercryptin. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2015; DOI:10.1002/anie.201507097R1.

Yaegashi, J., Romsdahl, J., Chiang, Y.M. & Wang, C.C.C.* Genome Mining and Molecular Characterization of the Biosynthetic Gene Cluster of a Diterpenic Meroterpenoid, 15-Deoxyoxalicine B, in Penicillium canescens. Chemical Sciences, 2015; DOI: 10.1039/C5SC01965F.

Guo, C.J., Sun, W.W., Bruno, K.S., Oakley, B.R., Keller, N.P. & Wang, C.C.C.* Spatial Regulation of a Common Precursor from Two Distinct Genes Generates Metabolite Diversity. Chemical Sciences, 2015; 6, 5913-5921.

Ishikawa, N., Tanaka, H., Koyama, F., Noguchi, H., Wang, C.C.C., Hotta, K. & Watanabe, K. Non-heme dioxygenase catalyzes atypical oxidations to form the 6,6-quinolone core of the viridicatin scaffold. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2014; 53: 12880-12884. 

Guo, C.J., Sun, W., Bruno, K.S. & Wang, C.C.C.* Molecular Genetic Characterization of Terreic Acid Pathway in Aspergillus terreus. Organic Letters, 2014; 16:5250-5253.

Wiemann, P., Guo, C. J., Palmer, J. M., Sekonyela, R., Wang, C. C. C. & Keller, N. P. Prototype of an intertwined secondary-metabolite supercluster.  - Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA [2013] 110: 17065-17070 


Guo, C.J., Yeh, H.H., Chiang, Y.M., Sanchez, J.F., Chang, S.L, Bruno, K.S. & Wang, C.C.C. Biosynthetic Pathway for Epipolythiodioxopiperaine Acetylaranotin in Aspergillus terreus Revealed by Genome-based Deletion Analysis.  Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2013; 135:7205-7213.


Ahuja, M., Chiang, Y.M., Chang S.L., Praseuth, M.B., Entwistle, R., Sanchez, J.F., Lo, H.C., Yeh, H.H., Oakley, B.R. & Wang, C.C.C.* Illuminating the genomic basis for natural product diversity in Aspergillus nidulans: determining the products of all aromatic polyketide synthases. - Journal of the American Chemical Society, [2012] 134: 8212-8221.



Sanchez, J.F., Somoza, A., Keller, N.P. & Wang C. C. C.* Advances in Aspergillus secondary metabolite research in the post-genomic era. - Nat. Prod. Rep., [2012] 29: 351-371.


Yang, M.D., Chiang, Y.M., Higashiyama, R., Asahina, K., Mann, D.A., Mann, J., Wang, C. C. C., and Tsukamoto, H. Rosmarinic acid and baicalin epigenetically de-repress Pparγ in hepatic stellate cells for their anti-fibrotic effect - Hepatology [2012] 55:1271-1281.


Liu, T., Chiang, Y., Somoza, A., Oakley, B.R. & Wang C. C. C.* Engineering of an "unnatural" natural product by swapping polyketide synthase domains in Aspergillus nidulans - Journal of the American Chemical Society [2011] 31: 13313-13314.


Sanchez, J. F.,  Entwistle, R., Hung, J., Yaegashi, J., Jain, S., Chiang, Y., Wang C. C. C.* & Oakley B. R.* Genome-based deletion analysis uncovers the prenyl-xanthone biosynthesis pathway in Aspergillus nidulans. - Journal of the American Chemical Society [2011] 133: 4010-4017.


Watanabe, K., Hotta, K., Nakaya, A., Praseuth, A., Wang, C.C.C., Inada, D., Takahashi, K., Fukushi E., Oguri, H., Oikawa, H., Escherichia coli Allows Efficient Modular Incorporation of Newly Isolated Quinomycin Biosynthetic Enzyme into Echinomycin Biosynthetic Pathway for Rational Design and Synthesis of Potent Antibiotic Unnatural Natural Product. - Journal of the American Chemical Society [2009] 131: 9347-9353. 


Bok, J. W., Chiang, Y., Szewczyk, E., Reyes-Dominguez, Y., Davidson, A. D., Sanchez, J. F., Lo, H. C. Watanabe, K., Strauss, J., Oakley B. R., Wang C. C. C.*, & Keller N. P.* Chromatin-level regulation of cryptic biosynthetic gene clusters in Aspergillus nidulans. - Nature Chemical Biology [2009] 5: 462-464. 


Chiang, Y., Szewczyk, E., Davidson, A. D., Keller, N. P., Oakley, B. R.*, & Wang, C. C. C.* A Gene Cluster Containing Two Fungal Polyketide Synthases Encodes the Biosynthetic Pathway for a Polyketide, Asperfuranone, in Aspergillus nidulans - Journal of the American Chemical Society [2009] 131: 2965-2970. 


Watanabe, K., Hotta, K., Praseuth, A. P., Koketsu K., Migita A., Boddy C. N., Wang, C. C. C., Oguri H., & Oikawa H. Total biosynthesis of antitumor nonribosomal peptides in Escherichia coli. - Nature Chemical Biology [2006] 2: 398-400.