Wenke Feng, Ph.D.


Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

CTRB 517 502-852-2912


Ph.D. Biotechnology, Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, Austria (1998)

Research Areas and Projects

The Feng laboratory has a long-term interest in the study of the mechanisms of microbiome homeostasis, gut-liver axis, and the application of probiotics in gastro-hepatic diseases including alcohol-associated liver disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, cholestatic liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer. Currently, the laboratory has several areas of research focus. First, the laboratory aims to elucidate the mechanisms of action of probiotic bacteria in liver diseases. We focus on intestinal regulations of immune response, anti-microbial activities, gut barrier function and bile acid homeostasis regulated by several transcription factors including hypoxia-inducible factor, farnesoid X receptor, and aryl hydrocarbon receptor. Second, the laboratory is interested in the characterization of gut bacterium-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs), the biogenesis of the EVs and the roles of these EVs in the intestine healthy. To this end, we are developing probiotic-based products and strategy for the prevention/treatment of liver diseases, and drug delivery system for cancer therapy. In a collaboration with Dr. Craig McClain, the Feng laboratory examines the efficacy of probiotic application in patients with alcohol-associated hepatitis and investigates the potential mechanisms by utilizing the clinical samples. Furthermore, the laboratory aims to determine the mechanisms of nutritional interventions and cannabinoid application in metabolic liver diseases and liver fibrosis. Our projects are funded by NIH grants.