The Gene and Linda Voiland School of

Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering

Wen-ji Dong, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Wen-ji Dong

Research Focus: Cardiac Muscle Biology and Mechanics; Protein Chemistry and Engineering; Fluorescence Technique Development; Biosensor for Biological and Cellular Applications; and Fluorescent Material Developments for Solar Conversion

The Gene and Linda Voiland
School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering
1505 Stadium Way, Room 105
P.O. Box 646515
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-6515

Office: VBR 271 / 109 Wegner Hall
Office Phone: 509-335-5798
Lab: McCoy North 201 (Tel: 509-335-5937)

Adjunct Faculty member of WSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience Department

Dr. Dong’s web page at WSU College of Veterinary Medicine

Postdoctoral and Ph.D. Graduate Students

Zhiqun (Cindy) Zhou
Daniel Rieck
Bennett Rieck
King Lun (Allen) Li
Tom Jacroux
Yilin Li
Bohlooli Ghashghaee, Nazanin

Visiting Scholars and Undergraduate Student Assistants

Yan Shi
Chris McClean

Research Interests

Research in my lab is multi-disciplinary. The primary objective of our research is to understand the Ca2+ switching mechanism of cardiac myofilament in healthy and diseased hearts. Cardiac muscle contraction is initiated by Ca2+ binding to cardiac troponin C triggering a series of functional structural changes within the thin filament. These serious structural transitions are regulated by both Ca2+ binding and cross-bridge cycling, and modulated by protein phosphorylation and cardiomyopathy mutations. A full understanding of these mechanisms is critical for research efforts to prevent, diagnose, and treat myocardial diseases. In our research we use various fluorescence spectroscopic approaches, including FRET, to acquire detailed functional, structural, thermodynamic, and kinetic knowledge associated with those thin filament structural transitions at the level of single regulatory unit, the fully reconstituted thin filament preparations and the chemically skinned muscle fibers. These studies will provide insights into mechanistic alterations of cardiac regulation in diseased heart, which may ultimately lead to design a fluorescence assay to screen drug candidates of Ca2+ sensitizer, a promising therapeutic drug for treatment of heart failure.

The second objective of our research is to design and develop various sensors for biological and cellular research and future clinical applications. One example is to develop an ultra-sensitive assay to establish PKA-phosphorylated cTnI (p-cTnI) in blood serum samples as potential cardiac biomarker for early heart disease detection. Evidences suggest that level of p-cTnI in end stage failed hearts is much lower than the level in healthy hearts. Therefore, the ratio of p-cTnI to the total cTnI in a patient's blood could be a predictive biomarker to monitor cardiac disease development. However, the p-cTnI in serum sample is difficult to measure because of its ultra-low concentration. To circumvent the problem, we implement multiple engineering and biochemical approaches to to enhance assay sensitivity. It is expected that these assays will enable us to establish p-cTnI as novel biomarker for early heart disease detection.

The third objective of our research is to develop wavelength-shifting materials for solar energy conversion. It is well-known that current photovoltaic cells cannot fully utilize the whole solar photon spectrum, associated with a large portion of photon energy loss for various solar cells. To address this issue, our aim is to modify the incident light by a layer of wavelength-shifting materials before the light reaches the surface of downstream photovoltaic cells. For different photovoltaic cells, a down-shifting layer can be used to enhance their UV response while an up-conversion layer enhances its IR response.

Biographical Information

Dr. Dong received a B.S. in chemistry in 1982, an M.S. in inorganic chemistry in 1985 from Lanzhou University, P.R. China. He received a scholarship from British Council of United Kingdom for studies at the University of London, England and obtained a Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1992. From 1993-1994 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Western Ontario, Canada. He moved to the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he was a Research Fellow of the Muscular Dystrophy Association from 1994–1996; a Research Instructor from 1996–2001; and a Research Assistant Professor from 2001–2005. He joined the faculty of Washington State University as an Assistant Professor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering and IPN in 2006 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2010.

Selected Publications
(click on most recent titles for link to full articles)

  1. Structural basis for the in situ Ca(2+) sensitization of cardiac troponin C by positive feedback from force-generating myosin cross-bridges.
    Rieck DC, Li KL, Ouyang Y, Solaro RJ, Dong WJ.
    Arch Biochem Biophys. 537(2):198-209. 2013.
  2. Structural and kinetic effects of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy related mutations R146G/Q and R163W on the regulatory switching activity of rat cardiac troponin I.
    Zhou Z, Rieck D, Li KL, Ouyang Y, Dong WJ.
    Arch Biochem Biophys. 535(1):56-67. 2013
  3. Increasing the power output of a CdTe solar cell via luminescent down shifting molecules with intramolecular charge transfer and aggregation-induced emission characteristics.
    Li Y, Li Z, Wang Y, Compaan A, Ren T, Dong WJ
    Energy Environ. Sci. 6(10): 2907 2911, 2013
  4. Tuning photophysical properties of triphenylamine and aromatic cyano conjugate-based wavelength-shifting compounds by manipulating intramolecular charge transfer strength.
    Li Y, Ren T, Dong WJ
    J. Photochem. Photobio. A 251(1): 1 9, 2013
  5. Structural Dynamics of C-Domain of Cardiac Troponin I Protein in Reconstituted Thin Filament.
    Zhou Z, Li KL, Rieck D, Ouyang Y, Chandra M, Dong WJ.
    J Biol Chem. 287(10):7661-74, 2012
  6. Synthesis and Characterizations of Benzothiadiazole-Based Fluorophores as Potential Wavelength-Shifting Materials.
    Yilin Li, Louis Scudiero, Tianhui Ren, Wen-Ji Dong
    J Photochem. Photobiol. A: Chemistry, 231(1); 51-59, 2012
  7. Enzymatic amplification of DNA/RNA hybrid molecular beacon signaling in nucleic acid detection.
    Jacroux T, Rieck DC, Cui R, Ouyang Y, Dong WJ.
    Anal Biochem. 432(2):106-14. 2013
  8. A New Fabrication Technique to form Complex Polymethylmethacrylate Microchannel for Bioseparation.
    Jubery TZ, Hossan MR, Bottenus DR, Ivory CF, Dong WJ, Dutta P.
    Biomicrofluidics. 6(1):16503-1650313, 2012
  9. Preconcentration and Detection of the Phosphorylated Forms of Cardiac Troponin I in a Cascade Microchip by Cationic Isotachophoresis.
    Bottenus D, Hossan MR, Ouyang Y, Dong WJ, Dutta P, Ivory CF.
    Lab Chip. 11(22):3793-801, 2011
  10. Enhanced Fluorescence Anisotropy Assay for Human Cardiac Troponin I and T Detection.
    Qiao Y, Tang H, Munske GR, Dutta P, Ivory CF, Dong WJ.
    J Fluoresc. 21(6):2101-10, 2011
  11. 10,000-Fold Concentration Increase of the Biomarker Cardiac Troponin I in a Reducing Union Microfluidic Chip Using Cationic Isotachophoresis.
    Bottenus D, Jubery TZ, Ouyang Y, Dong WJ, Dutta P, Ivory CF.
    Lab Chip. 11(5):890-8, 2011
  12. Model Representation of the Nonlinear Step Response in Cardiac Muscle.
    Ford SJ, Chandra M, Mamidi R, Dong W, Campbell KB.
    J Gen Physiol. 136(2):159-77, 2010
  13. Structural and Kinetic Effects Of PAK3 Phosphorylation Mimic of cTnI(S151E) on the cTnC-cTnI Interaction in the Cardiac Thin Filament.
    Ouyang Y, Mamidi R, Jayasundar JJ, Chandra M, Dong WJ.
    J Mol Biol. 400(5):1036-45, 2010
  14. Förster Resonance Energy Transfer Structural Kinetic Studies of Cardiac Thin Filament Deactivation.
    Xing J, Jayasundar JJ, Ouyang Y, Dong WJ.
    J Biol Chem. 284(24):16432-41, 2009
  15. Structural Kinetics of Cardiac Troponin C Mutants Linked to Familial Hypertrophic and Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Troponin Complexes.
    Dong WJ, Xing J, Ouyang Y, An J, Cheung HC.
    J Biol Chem. 283(6):3424-32, 2008
  16. The Cardiac Ca2+-Sensitive Regulatory Switch, a System in Dynamic Equilibrium.
    Robinson JM, Cheung HC, Dong W
    Biophys J. 95(10):4772-89, 2008 Nov 15
  17. Effects of PKA Phosphorylation of Cardiac Troponin I and Strong Crossbridge on Conformational Transitions of the N-Domain of Cardiac Troponin C in Regulated Thin Filaments.
    Dong WJ, Jayasundar JJ, An J, Xing J, Cheung HC.
    Biochemistry. 46(34):9752-61, 2007
  18. Structural Transition of the Inhibitory Region of Troponin I Within the Regulated Cardiac Thin Filament.
    Dong WJ, An J, Xing J, Cheung HC.
    Arch Biochem Biophys. 456(2):135-42, 2006

The Gene & Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, PO Box 646515, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6515, 509-335-4332, Email ChEBE: