- Fellowship in 2022 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
About Dr Ma Chi Wang’s work
Dr Ma Chi Wang works in the fields of chemical biology and microbiology, with a focus on developing tools to tackle the rising challenge of microbial infection.
During his PhD, he worked to develop chemical tools for rapid detection of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, specifically, carbapenemase-producing bacteria. These bacteria are resistant to carbapenem, one of the last resort antibiotics, making timely effective treatment exceptionally challenging. By employing multistep synthesis he demonstrated that small molecules could be engineered as chemical reporters, which rapidly and selectively detect the carbapenemase-producing bacteria. The chemical reporters responded by creating fluorescent signal and color change, results could be readily interpreted by naked eye. This collaborative effort successfully established an operationally simple protocol for detecting these resistant bacteria, producing a novel solution for a major public health issue.
Dr Ma is currently studying the devastating impacts of tuberculosis infection. Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death from a single infection, which is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). The bacteria has infected more than 20% of the global population, resulting in 1.4 million of deaths in 2019. Unlike conventional bacterial diseases, treating Mtb infection requires a course of antibiotics that lasts for at least six months, and 25% of the patients in less developed countries have been infected with multi-drug-resistant Mtb.
By using chemical biology approaches, Dr Ma seeks to gain deeper molecular understanding of the host-pathogen interaction between humans and tuberculosis, which could lead to a more effective treatment of this deadly disease.
Dr Ma Chi Wang is a postdoctoral fellow at The Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. He earned his PhD and BSc from The University of Hong
Kong Department of Chemistry.