Dr Hua Wang
- Research Fellow (Bacteriology)
Pigments of Life Research Laboratory
The ‘Pigments of Life’ are molecules shaped as rings or horseshoes, called tetrapyrroles, that hold in their centre a metal ion. They colour our world and provide vital functions in all living beings. Examples are the green pigment chlorophyll, which captures light for photosynthesis in plants, the red pigment haem, which transports oxygen for respiration in animals, and the red-orange pigment vitamin B12, an essential nutrient in all domains of life.
In nature, cyclic tetrapyrroles are broken down by specialised enzymes that remove the caged metal, leaving behind the tetrapyrrole ‘skeleton’. This skeleton is usually also pigmented: for example, the haem skeleton of haemoglobin colours urine, faeces and eggshells. Moreover, thanks to the tetrapyrrole skeletons found in the fossil record, it is possible to infer the colour of dinosaurs and the environment where ancient algae and bacteria used to live.
Our Chemistry and Microbiology lab introduces the concept of ‘Bacterial Pigments of Life’. We implement a fresh and multidisciplinary perspective to the subject, aiming to contribute to the understanding of bacterial biology and to provide insights on the evolutionary history of life. By studying the role of tetrapyrroles in bacterial diseases, we endeavour to gain new perspectives and achieve scientific breakthroughs to improve human health.
Grants and Awards listed are those received whilst working with the University of Glasgow.
- The pigments of after-life: a novel Mycobacterium tuberculosis innate adaptation and persistence system.
Academy of Medical Sciences
2022 - 2024
- An investigation of the Mycobacterial heme paradox
The Royal Society
2020 - 2021
Professional activities & recognition
Prizes, awards & distinctions
- 2015: The Alan Howe Prize (University of Oxford)
Visit Dr Wang's research website The Pigments of Life Laboratory