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Qingjun Wang


HSRB 132 (Office) HSRB 142 (Lab)


  • Assistant Professor

College Unit(s)

Other Affiliation(s)
  • Markey Cancer Center
  • Saha Cardiovascular Research Center

Biography and Education


Research Interest/Expertise: Autophagy, Metabolism, Hemostasis, Proteomics, Metabolomics, Retinal Degeneration, Neurodegenerative Disease, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Cancer


  • B.S. University of Science & Technology of China
  • Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Postdoc. The Rockefeller University


Dr. Wang's group investigates autophagy and metabolism in normal cell function and physiology, as well as in human diseases including retinal degeneration, neurodegeneration, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Tools utilized: Proteomics, metabolomics, biochemical and cell biological assays, flow cytometry, mouse behavioral tests, histology and imaging

Ongoing Projects:

  1. Autophagy and metabolism in CLN3 disease (Juvenile Batten Disease, Juvenile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis): We are interested in understanding retinal and neurodegeneration in CLN3 disease, developing biomarkers and therapeutics.
  2. Platelet metabolism in hemostasis, thrombosis, and diabetes mellitus.

Highly motivated students & postdocs who are interested in participating in our research projects and translating bench work to bedside can contact Dr. Wang at


   Ongoing Grants:

  • NIH/NHLBI-NIGMS R01, 9/2022-6/2026 (Role: PI)
  • NIH/NIGMS CNS-Met COBRE Pilot Award, 6/2024-2/2025 (Role: PI)
  • 2024 UK Neuroscience Research Priority Area (NRPA) Equipment Grant, 2/2024 (Role: PI)
  • NIH/NINDS R03, 7/2021-6/2024 (Role: PI)

   Completed Grants:

  • 2021 UK NRPA Pilot Grant, 4/2022-6/2023 (Role: PI)
  • 2021 UK CCTS Innovation and High Impact Pilot Award, 12/2021-11/2022 (Role: PI)
  • 2021 Washington University-UK Diabetes Research Center Collaborative Pilot & Feasibility Award, 12/2021-11/2022 (Role: PI)
  • 2020 UK NRPA Pilot Grant, 2/2021-1/2022 (Role: PI)
  • NIH/NIGMS Center of Research in Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease (COCVD) COBRE Pilot Award, 10/2019-6/2021 (Role: PI)
  • American Heart Association Grant-in-Aid, 7/2016-6/2019 (Role: PI)
  • NIH/NIGMS Center for Cancer and Metabolism COBRE Pilot Award, 1/2018-12/2018 (Role: PI)
  • University of Kentucky CCTS/RC-SIRM Pilot Grant, 9/2015-12/2016 (Role: PI)
  • Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging, 8/2010-7/2014 (Role: PI) (see an interview of Dr. Wang by UKNow
  • University Research Support Grant, 7/2013-6/2014 (Role: PI)
  • NIH/NIGMS Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in the Molecular Basis of Human Disease, 9/2009-6/2013 (Role: Project PI)


  • #12019081, issued 6/25/2024

Trainee Achievements:

  • Sarah Draud: UK Diabetes and Obesity Summer Research Fellows Program, 6/3/2024-7/26/2024
  • Sarah Draud: UK CCTS Professional Student Mentored Research Fellowship (PSMRF) Program, 2024
  • Connor Kure: UK Diabetes and Obesity Summer Research Fellows Program, 5/30/2022-8/5/2022
  • Kanakanagavalli Shravani Prakhya: College of Medicine Fellowships for Excellence in Graduate Research, 7/2019-6/2020
  • Kanakanagavalli Shravani Prakhya: Max Steckler Fellowship, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, 2020
  • John T. Adkins: Best in vitro biology related project & 3rd place in the Molecular and Cellular Biology category, Fayette County Science Fair, 2019
  • Madhu M. Ouseph: Matched to Brown University Pathology Residency Program, 2014
  • Deanna H. Morris: Best Postdoctoral Platform Presentation in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry Summer Research Conference, 2012
  • Deanna H. Morris: University Research Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1/2011-12/2012
  • Mittul S. Patel: University of Kentucky Undergraduate Summer Research Grant, 2010

Current Lab Members & Trainees:

  • Kelby Kane, Undergrad (Molecular and Cellular Biology), STEPS Lab Technician. 5/2022-present. Current: First year graduate student @ Vanderbilt University (starting 8/2023).
  • Lincoln Nichols, Undergrad (Neuroscience), STEPS Lab Technician. 5/2023-present. Admitted to Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine @ The University of Pikeville for 2024.
  • Faryal Fazel, Undergrad (Information Communication Technology), STEPS Lab Technician. 2/2023-present; 2024 Summer Intern @ Sky Systemz.
  • Kathleen West, Undergrad (Music Performance and Psychology), STEPS Lab Technician. 8/2023-present. Admitted to the MSMS Program @ The University of Kentucky for 2024
  • Ethan Fernandez, Undergrad (Neuroscience), STEPS Lab Technician. 5/2024-present.
  • Sarah Draud, UK Medical Student. 11/2023-present.
  • Anas Gondal, UK Medical Student. 5/2024-present.
  • Qunfeng Huang, STEPS Lab Technician. 1/2024-present.
  • Dr. Abdullah Masud, Postdoctoral Scholar. 7/2024-present.
  • Diane Iradukunda, Graduate Student, Department of Biomedical Engineering (Role: Thesis Committee)

Past Lab Members & Trainees:

  • Christopher Di Girolamo (Biochemistry), Undergrad, STEPS Lab Technician. 8/2023-4/2024.
  • Connor Kure, Undergrad (Kinesiology), STEPS Lab Technician, 4/2022-6/2023, Current: Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine @ The University of Pikeville
  • K. Shravani Prakhya, Graduate Student, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry (Role: Co-mentor): Shravani successfully defended thesis on 5/3/2023.
  • Aida Javidan, Graduate Student, Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences (Role: Thesis Committee): Aida successfully defended thesis on 11/29/2022.
  • Caroline Couch, Undergrad, STEPS Lab Technician, 5/2022-11/2022, Current: School of Nursing @ University of Kentucky
  • John Adkins, MSTC Program at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, 10/2018-6/2020, Current: Undergrad @ Emory University
  • Dr. Yu Zhong, Scientist I, 10/2011-11/2014, Current: Scientist @ University of Kentucky
  • Emily Matuszak, Master Student, 4/2013-10/2015, Current: Professional Associate II @ Office of Research Integrity, University of Kentucky
  • Dr. Madhu Ouseph, Postdoctoral Scholar, 5/2012-6/2014, Current: Assistant Professor @ Weill Cornell Medical School (Pathology & Laboratory Medicine)
  • Monica M. Gaudier-Diaz, NSF Discovery Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program, 5/2012-8/2012, Current: Teaching Assistant Professor @ University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Psychology & Neuroscience)
  • Dr. Deanna Morris, Postdoctoral Scholar, 8/2010-6/2012, Current: Assistant Dean of Student Services @ University of Kentucky College of Medicine Bowling Green Campus
  • Dr. Senthil Karunakaran, Postdoctoral Scholar, 9/2010-4/2012, Current: Senior Product Manager @ Merck Life Science
  • Mittul Patel, Undergrad, 10/2009-8/2012, Current: Vice President, Digital @ GCI Health
  • Dr. You-Jun Fu, Postdoctoral Scholar, 8/2009-8/2010, Current: Manager @ University of Connecticut Mass Spectrometry and Omics Analysis Facility

Selected Publications

37. West KC, Davis VA, Kane KM, Nichols LJ, Kline IV RH, McLouth CJ, Braun DJ, Van Eldik LJ, Wang QJ (2024) Novel mouse behavioral tests to dissect visual impairment in neurodegenerative diseases with cognitive decline. (in preparation)

36. Kane KM*, Iradukunda D*, McLouth CJ, Guo LZ, Wang J, Subramoniam A, Huffman D, Donohue K, O’Hara BF, Sunderam S, Wang QJ (2024) Characterization of sleep in a mouse model of CLN3 disease revealed sex-specific sleep disturbances. bioRxiv.

35. Draud S, Wang QJ, Robinson LE (2024). The potential beneficial role of anti-platelet/anti-coagulant medications on diabetic retinopathy: A Scoping Review Protocol. OSF Registries (non-peer reviewed).

34. Prakhya KS, Vekaria H, Coenen DM, Omali L, Lykins J, Joshi S, Alfar HR, Wang QJ, Sullivan P, Whiteheart SW (2023) Platelet glycogenolysis is important for energy production and function. Platelets 34(1):2222184.

33. Mohan K, Dubey SK, Jung KS, Dubey R, Wang QJ, Prajapati S, Roney J, Abney J, Kleinman ME (2023) Long-term evaluation of retinal morphology and function in Rosa26-Cas9 knock-in mice. Int J Mol Sci 24(6):5186.

32. Prakhya KS, Luo Y, Adkins JT, Hu X, Wang QJ*, Whiteheart SW* (2022) A sensitive and adaptable method to measure platelet-fibrin clot contraction kinetics. Res Pract Thromb Haemost 6(5):e12755 (*Co-correspondence; non-provisional patent application submitted).

31. Klionsky DJ, …, Wang QJ, … (2021) Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (4th edition). Autophagy 17(1):1-382.

30. Hubbard WB, Banerjee M, Vekaria H, Prakhya KS, Joshi S, Wang QJ, Saatman KE, Whiteheart SW, Sullivan PG (2021) Differential leukocyte and platelet profiles in distinct models of traumatic brain injury. Cells 10(3):500

29. Wang QJ, Jung KS, Mohan K, Kleinman ME (2020) Imaging data on characterization of retinal autofluorescent lesions in a mouse model of juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (CLN3 disease). Data in Brief, available online 25 July 2020

28. Zhong Y, Mohan K, Liu J, Al-Attar A, Lin P, Flight RM, Sun Q, Warmoes MO, Deshpande RR, Liu H, Jung KS, Mitov MI, Lin N, Butterfield DA, Lu S, Liu J, Moseley HNB, Fan TWM, Kleinman ME, Wang QJ (2020) Loss of CLN3, the gene mutated in juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, leads to metabolic impairment and autophagy induction in retina pigment epithelium. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis 1866 (10):165883.

27. Banerjee M, Huang Y, Joshi S, Popa GJ, Mendenhall MD, Wang QJ, Garvy BA, Myint T, Whiteheart SW (2020) Platelets Endocytose Viral Particles and Are Activated via TLR (Toll-Like Receptor) Signaling. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 40(7):1635-1650.

26. Banerjee M*, Huang Y*, Ouseph MM*, Joshi S, Pokrovskaya I, Storrie B, Zhang J, Whiteheart SW, Wang QJ (2019) Autophagy in platelets. Methods Mol Biol: Autophagy 1880:511-528.

25. Mitchell JM, Flight RM, Wang QJ, Higashi RM, Fan TWM, Lane AN, Moseley HNB (2018) New methods to identify high peak density artifacts in Fourier transform mass spectra and to mitigate their effects on high-throughput metabolomic data analyses. Metabolomics 14 (10), 125.

24. Fan TWM*, El-Amouri SS*, Macedo JKA, Wang QJ, Song H, Cassel T, Lane AN (2018) Mapping metabolic networks in 3D spheroids using Stable Isotope-Resolved Metabolomics. Metabolites 8 (3), 40.

23. Alshudukhi AAA, Zhu J, Huang D, Jama A, Smith JD, Wang QJ, Esser KA, Ren H (2018) Lipin1 regulates Bnip3-mediated mitophagy in glycolytic muscle. FASEB J 32 (12):6796-6807.

22. Burikhanov R, Hebbar N, Noothi SK, Shukla N, Sledziona J, Araujo N, Kudrimoti M, Wang QJ, Watt DS, Welch DR, Maranchie J, Harada A, Rangnekar VM (2017) Chloroquine-Inducible Par-4 Secretion Is Essential for Tumor Cell Apoptosis and Inhibition of Metastasis. Cell Rep 18 (2):508-519.

21. Ouseph MM, Kleinman ME, Wang QJ (2016) Vision loss in juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (the CLN3 disease). Annals of NYAS 1371(1):55-67.

20. Morris DH, Yip CK, Shi Y, Chait BT, Wang QJ (2015) Beclin 1-Vps34 complex architecture: Understanding the nuts and bolts of therapeutic targets. Front Biol 10(5):398-426 (Cover image).

19. Shi Y, Pellarin R, Fridy P, Fernandez-Martinez J, Thompson MK, Li Y, Wang QJ, Sali A, Rout MP, Chait BT (2015) A strategy for dissecting the architectures of endogenous macromolecular assemblies. Nat Methods 12(12):1135-1138.

18. Ouseph MM*, Huang Y*, Banerjee M, Joshi S, MacDonald L, Zhong Y, Liu H, Li X, Xiang B, Zhang G, Komatsu M, Yue Z, Li Z, Storrie B, Whiteheart SW, Wang QJ (2015) Autophagy is induced upon platelet activation and is essential for hemostasis and thrombosis. Blood 126(10):1224-1233.

17. Zhong Y, Morris DH, Jin L, Patel MS, Karunakaran SK, Fu YJ, Matuszak EA, Weiss HL, Chait BT, Wang QJ (2014) Nrbf2 suppresses autophagy by modulating Atg14L-containing Beclin 1-Vps34 protein complex architecture and reducing intracellular phosphatidylinositol-3 phosphate levels. J Biol Chem 289(38):26021-26037.

16. Lu J*, He L*, Behrends C, Araki M, Araki K, Wang QJ, Catanzaro JM, Friedman SL, Zong WX, Fiel MI, Li M, Yue Z (2014) NRBF2 regulates autophagy and prevents liver injury by modulating Atg14L-linked phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase III activity. Nat Commun 5:3920.

15. Wang QJ*, Singh A, Li H, Nedbal L, Sherman LA, Govindjee*, Whitmarsh J (2012) Oxygen evolution in the mixotrophically-grown photosystem I deletion mutants of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Biochim Biophys Acta – Bioenergetics 1817(5):792-801. (*Co-correspondence)

14. Li X, Wang QJ, Pan N, Lee S, Zhao Y, Chait BT, Yue Z (2011). Phosphorylation-dependent 14-3-3 binding to LRRK2 is impaired by common familial mutations of LRRK2 associated with Parkinson’s disease. PLOS One 6(3):e17153.

13. Funderburk SF, Wang QJ, Yue Z (2010). The Beclin 1–VPS34 complex – at the crossroads of autophagy and beyond. Trends Cell Biol 20(6):355-362.

12. Zhong Y, Wang QJ, Yue Z (2009) Atg14L and Rubicon: Yin and yang of Beclin 1-mediated autophagy control. Autophagy 5(6): 890-891.

11. Zhong Y*, Wang QJ*, Li X, Chait BT, Heintz N, Yue Z (2009) Distinct regulation of autophagic activity by Atg14L and Rubicon associated with Beclin 1-phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase complex. Nat Cell Biol 11:468-476. (*Equal contributors)

10. Yue Z, Holstein GR, Chait BT, Wang QJ (2009) Using genetic mouse models to study the biology and pathology of autophagy in the central nervous system. In D Klionsky, ed., Methods Enzymol Vol. 453 “Autophagy: Higher Eukaryotes mammalian and clinical”, p159-180.

9. Westblade LF, Minakhin L, Kuznedelov K, Tackett AJ, Chang EJ, Mooney RA, Vvedenskaya I, Wang QJ, Fenyo D, Rout MP, Landick R, Chait BT, Severinov K, Darst SA (2008) Rapid isolation and identification of bacteriophage T4-encoded modifications of Escherichia coli RNA polymerase: a generic method to study bacteriophage/host interactions. J Proteome Research 7(3):1244-1250.

8. Yue Z, Wang QJ, Komatsu M (2008) Neuronal autophagy: Going the distance to the axon. Autophagy 4(1):94-96.

7. Komatsu M*, Wang QJ*, Holstein GR, Friedrich Jr VL, Iwata JI, Kominami E, Chait BT, Tanaka K, Yue Z (2007) Essential role for autophagy protein Atg7 in the maintenance of axonal homeostasis and the prevention of axonal degeneration. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104(36):14489-14494. (*Equal contributors; direct submission)

6. Fenyo D, Wang QJ, DeGrasse JA, Padovan JC, Cadene M, Chait BT (2007) MALDI sample preparation: the ultra thin layer method. J Visualized Experiments 3:192 (

5. Wang QJ, Ding Y, Kohtz DS, Mizushima N, Cristea IM, Rout MP, Chait BT, Zhong Y, Heintz N, Yue Z (2006) Induction of autophagy in axonal dystrophy and degeneration. J Neurosci 26(31):8057-8068.

4. Nelson M, Finazzi G, Wang QJ, Middleton-Zarka K, Whitmarsh J, Kallas T (2005) Cytochrome b6 arginine 214 of Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002, a key residue for quinone-reductase site function and turnover of the cytochrome bf complex. J Biol Chem 280(11):10395-10402.

3. Kashino Y, Lauber WM, Carroll JA, Wang QJ, Whitmarsh J, Satoh K, Pakrasi HB (2002) Proteomic analysis of a highly active photosystem II preparation from the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 reveals the presence of novel polypeptides. Biochemistry 41(25):8004-8012.

2. Cho YS, Wang QJ, Krogmann DW, Whitmarsh J (1999) Extinction coefficients and midpoint potentials of cytochrome c6 from the cyanobacteria Arthrospira maxima, Microcystis aeruginosa, and Synechocystis 6803. Biochim Biophys Acta – Bioenergetics 1413(2):92-97.

1. Guo GC, Guo T, Zheng SB, Wang QJ (1999) Quantum teleportation. Physics 28(9):120-125.

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