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Jack Wang

Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources (College of Natural Resources)

Assistant Professor

Partners Building II 2514

Publications

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Grants

Date: 01/01/22 - 12/31/23
Amount: $125,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA AMS)

This project will be a collaboration between the Forest Biotechnology Group in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources and the Forest Restoration Alliance in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at North Carolina State University. We propose a integrative approach to understanding the genetic response to hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) infestation in susceptible and resistant hemlock species, and how these genetic regulations are transduced to alterations in phenotypic traits associated with HWA susceptibility. The proposed project builds upon ongoing research in developing a CRISPR genome editing system for hemlocks funded by the SCBGP in 2020-21. Comparative transcriptomics and phenomics of hemlock variants with varying extent of HWA susceptibility will produce genetic insights that facilitate identification of candidate gene targets for editing using CRISPR-Cas to enhance HWA resistance. This project will focus on four key objectives: (1) controlled HWA infestation in putatively susceptible and resistant genotypes of hemlock species, (2) assessment of phenotypic response to infestation in hemlocks, (3) full transcriptomic analysis of hemlock response to HWA infestation, and (4) integration of transcriptomic and phenotypic responses to identify putative gene targets associated with HWA resistance. The putative genes identified in this project will be targeted for hemlock genome editing in a subsequent research that is beyond the scope of this project period.

Date: 09/01/21 - 8/31/23
Amount: $492,378.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

The Equipment Grants Program (EGP) serves to increase access to shared special purpose equipment for scientific research for use in the food and agricultural sciences programs in our Nation’s institutions of higher education, including State Cooperative Extension System

Date: 01/01/21 - 6/30/23
Amount: $145,728.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA AMS)

This project will be a collaboration between the Forest Biotechnology Group and the Christmas Tree Genetics Program in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University. Our goal is to develop novel CRISPR-based genome editing technology that would accelerate the genetic improvement of Fraser fir. The proposed technology would enable the rapid production of new variants of Christmas trees edited for traits of ecological and economic values such as disease tolerance and post-harvest quality. Fraser fir is one of North Carolina’s most important specialty crops. Developing novel genomic tools and genome editing technology for Fraser fir will have a transformative impact on the North Carolina Christmas tree industry. This project builds on our recently established somatic embryogenic system and cell transfection method for Fraser fir (funded by SCBGP in 2018), which lay the foundation for optimizing efficient and robust CRISPR-Cas9 delivery and regeneration of enhanced Fraser fir from genome-edited somatic embryos. We propose three major objectives in this proposal: (1) Optimize the delivery of CRISPR-SpCas9 in Fraser fir somatic embryogenic protoplasts: we will test several experimental parameters to maximize transfection efficiency; (2) Regenerate and maturate CRISPR-SpCas9 edited protoplasts into Fraser fir plantlets: we will optimize an integrated protocol for regeneration and maturation of CRISPR-edited protoplasts originated from Fraser fir SE; (3) Validation of target gene editing in regenerated Fraser fir plantlets: we will genotype CRISPR-driven editing events in the regenerated fir plantlets. Subsequent to the funding period, the transgene-free CRISPR-based SE system will be used to edit superior clonal seedlings for Christmas tree field trials in the North Carolina Mountains.

Date: 04/30/21 - 6/29/23
Amount: $100,000.00
Funding Agencies: NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

We propose an innovative bioprocess that will produce high value cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) and butanol fuel from sustainable biomass feedstocks. Specifically, we will assess two biomass feedstocks: 1) poplar-derived market pulp and 2) CRISPR edited whole poplar biomass, as shown in Figure 1. Tailored hemicellulase and cellulase enzymes will be provided by Novozymes to selectively hydrolyze the hemicellulose and amorphous cellulose to generate free sugars and cellulose nanocrystals. The free sugars, both 5- and 6-carbon, will be fermented to butanol fuel via Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum. After fermentation, butanol will serve two beneficial purposes for downstream separation operations: 1) butanol will act as a dispersant inhibiting hydrogen bonding and reducing nanocellulose agglomeration1 and 2) butanol will partially solubilize lignin thereby enhancing liquid/solid separation.2,3

Date: 05/01/22 - 4/30/23
Amount: $252,685.00
Funding Agencies: TreeCo

The purpose of the Consortium on Sustainable and Alternative Fibers Initiative (SAFI) is to develop fundamental and applied research on the use of alternative and sustainable fibers for the manufacturing of market pulp, hygiene products and nonwovens. The idea for SAFI has grown out of societal needs for alternative yet sustainable materials. SAFI will study the potential of alternative fibers based on technical (performance), sustainable and economic principles. This enhancement project aligns with the goals and mission of SAFI and aims to harbor novel genome editing technologies to advance the development of new fiber feedstocks with unique properties to improve pulp production.


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