Harris Wang

Harris Wang


Interim Chair, Department of Systems Biology
Associate Professor, Department of Systems Biology

Department of Systems Biology
Department of Pathology and Cell Biology
JP Sulzberger Columbia Genome Center
+1 212-305-1697

Administrative Assistant:

Nickle Fisher 


Dr. Wang is an Associate Professor of Systems Biology and the interim chair of the Department of Systems Biology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. He is also jointly appointed in the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Dr. Wang received his B.Sc. degrees in Mathematics and Physics from MIT and his Ph.D. in Biophysics and Medical Engineering Medical Physics from Harvard University. There, he invented the first automated and multiplexed genome engineering platform. Since joining Columbia in 2013, Dr. Wang's research has focused on building foundational technologies to program cells into low-cost diagnostics, personalized medicines, and living materials. He is broadly interested in the applications of synthetic biology, computational design, and multi-omics to explore the fundamental limits by which microbial and mammalian systems can be modified at a genome scale. These modifications allow for new functionalities and properties, such as pan-resistance to viruses, nutrient starvation, and radiation damage. In the area of the human microbiome, Dr. Wang has developed new methods to map the gut microbiome spatially and temporally at ultra-high resolution. He has also created automated platforms for culturing and studying microbes using a combination of robotics and machine learning. Dr. Wang introduced the concept of microbiome gene therapy, which has been applied to endow gut microbes with sensing and recording capabilities for intestinal inflammation and to eliminate problematic traits such as virulence and antimicrobial resistance. His lab has also developed self-healing and regenerative fungal-bacterial biocomposite materials that can sense and respond to different environments.

Dr. Wang is an Investigator of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the recipient of numerous accolades, including the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science, the Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists Finalist, the Schaefer Research Scholar award, and the Harold & Golden Lamport Research Award in Basic Sciences from Columbia University. His other awards include the NSF CAREER Award, Sloan Research Fellowship, NIH Director’s Early Independence Award, Forbes 30 Under 30 in Science in 2012, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the White House. Dr. Wang serves on the scientific advisory boards of numerous companies in the areas of CRISPR, biosecurity, microbiome, and gene therapy.