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Wuyuan Lu, PhD

Academic Title:


Primary Appointment:

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Administrative Title:

Co-Director Of The Division Of Basic Science, Institute Of Human Virology


Institute of Human Virology S-322 725 West Lombard Street

Phone (Primary):

(410) 706-4980


(410) 706-7583

Education and Training

  • Nanjing University, BS, Chemistry, 1984
  • Nanjing University, MS, Biochemistry, 1989
  • Purdue University, PhD, Chemistry, 1994
  • The Scripps Research Institute, Postdoctoral Fellow, Bioorganic Chemistry, 1996


Dr. Lu received his Ph.D. in 1994 from the Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, and trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Cell Biology at the Scripps Research Institute. After a brief tenure as a research associate (assistant professor) in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago, he joined the University of Maryland faculty in 2000 as a tenure-track assistant professor and achieved the rank of full professor with tenure in 2009.

Dr. Lu’s major scientific expertise and research achievements lie in using chemical protein engineering approaches to elucidate the molecular basis for protein function. His current research centers on (1) structure, function and mechanisms of action of antimicrobial peptides in innate immunity, (2) anticancer and antibacterial drug discovery, and (3) chemical protein synthesis and protein posttranslational modifications. Dr. Lu is an author of 160 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals with over 6000 citations and an H-index of 43 (Thomson Reuters). He's elected Vice Chair for the 2015 and Chair for the 2017 Gordon Research Conference on Antimicrobial Peptides. 

Research/Clinical Keywords

Chemical protein synthesis, native chemical ligation, antimicrobial peptide, defensin, antitumor peptide, antibiotic resistance, bacterial pathogenesis, drug discovery

Highlighted Publications

Demirkhanyan LH, Marin M, Padilla-Parra S, Zhan C, Miyauchi K, Jean-Baptiste M, Novitskiy G, Lu W, Melikyan GB (2012). Multifaceted mechanisms of HIV-1 entry inhibition by human α-defensin. J Biol Chem 287(34):28821-38. PMID:22733823

Chu H, Pazgier M, Jung G, Nuccio SP, Castillo PA, de Jong MF, Winter MG, Winter SE, Wehkamp J, Shen B, Salzman NH, Underwood MA, Tsolis RM, Young GM, Lu W, Lehrer RI, Bäumler AJ, Bevins CL (2012). Human α-defensin 6 promotes mucosal innate immunity through self-assembled peptide nanonets. Science 337(6093):477-81. PMID:22722251

Zhan C, Zhao L, Wei X, Wu X, Chen X, Yuan W, Lu WY, Pazgier M, Lu W (2012). An ultrahigh affinity D-peptide antagonist of MDM2. J Med Chem 55(13):6237-41. PMID:22694121

Gounder AP, Wiens ME, Wilson SS, Lu W, Smith JG (2012). Critical determinants of human α-defensin 5 activity against non-enveloped viruses. J Biol Chem 287(29):24554-62. PMID:22637473

Rajabi M, Ericksen B, Wu X, de Leeuw E, Zhao L, Pazgier M, Lu W (2012). Functional determinants of human enteric α-defensin HD5: crucial role for hydrophobicity at dimer interface. J Biol Chem 287(26):21615-27. PMID:22573326

Zhao L, Ericksen B, Wu X, Zhan C, Yuan W, Li X, Pazgier M, Lu W (2012). Invariant gly residue is important for α-defensin folding, dimerization, and function: a case study of the human neutrophil α-defensin HNP1. J Biol Chem 287(23):18900-12. PMID:22496447

Zhan C, Varney K, Yuan W, Zhao L, Lu W (2012). Interrogation of MDM2 phosphorylation in p53 activation using native chemical ligation: the functional role of Ser17 phosphorylation in MDM2 reexamined. J Am Chem Soc 134(15):6855-64. PMID:22444248

Cocchi F, DeVico AL, Lu W, Popovic M, Latinovic O, Sajadi MM, Redfield RR, Lafferty MK, Galli M, Garzino-Demo A, Gallo RC (2012). Soluble factors from T cells inhibiting X4 strains of HIV are a mixture of β chemokines and RNases. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109(14):5411-6. PMID:22431590

Pazgier M, Wei G, Ericksen B, Jung G, Wu Z, de Leeuw E, Yuan W, Szmacinski H, Lu WY, Lubkowski J, Lehrer RI, Lu W (2012). Sometimes it takes two to tango: contributions of dimerization to functions of human α-defensin HNP1 peptide. J Biol Chem 287(12):8944-53. PMID:22270360

Lehrer RI, Lu W (2012). α-Defensins in human innate immunity. Immunol Rev 245(1):84-112. PMID:22168415