"But one thing 'we' do: Forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before"

 Wastewater-based epidemiology

Infectious viral diseases are one of the leading causes of human deaths worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has unequivocally demonstrated the need  of new tools to anticipate viral presence and transmission before it spreads through communities. Wastewater surveillance has been efficient to indicate viral presence and penetration in the community, as demonstrated by early work from our group and peers. 

Our goal is to develop early-warning systems for monitoring the emergence and spread of viral diseases in the population. By integrating wastewater surveillance, molecular biology, mathematical modeling, and genomic sequencing approaches, our research aims to:

1) Create novel tools for monitoring pathogenic agents in community wastewater, capturing infection trends at different locations and time points.

2) Quantitatively understand and predict viral transmission dynamics and the progression of outbreaks.

3) Track the evolution of genomic variants emerging in the population.

Viral metagenomics and discovery

The world has seen 16 major viral disease outbreaks in the last two decades, including Dengue, SARS-CoV, H1N1, Ebola, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. Although we have the technology and social protocols to respond to viral epidemics, it is challenging to predict and prepare for future outbreaks. Pandemic preparedness is further impaired by our limited understanding of viral diversity in humans and other mammals. In this project, we aim to develop tools including metagenomic sequencing and analysis to uncover the human viral diversity, with the dream to create a global map of human virus.

Microbiome and Medicine

Microbiome plays important roles in human health and influences host responses to infectious diseases and medicine. As a dynamic system, gut microbiome changes with external diet and environmental variations as well as the internal interactions from the ~10^13 microbial residents in hundreds of species. Keeping our heads in Clouds to probe their biological and ecological roles in the gut, we are curious to explore those straightforward but challenging questions:

1) How to reduce the side effects of antibiotics on gut microbiota? 

2) How does the medicine we take every day alter our microbiome?

3) Can we balance the microbiota for a health gut?

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