Jessica Wang-Rodriguez, M.D.

Jessica Wang-Rodriguez, M.D.

  • Professor
  • Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, VAMC
  • Translational Oncology Program
  • M.D. - University of Nevada, Reno, 1990
  • Residency Training: University of California, San Diego
  • Board Certifications: Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, Transfusion Medicine

Research Interests

My research interests include genomic and epigenetic expressions of prostate carcinoma and potential diagnostic and therapeutic discovery of treatment in clinical trials. I am also working on protein expression of breast carcinomas using quantum dot nanotechnology. My other research interests focus on immune activation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells after stimuli such as vaccine, exercise, or circulating tumor cells. I am also interested in transplant immunology stem cell biology cell sorting and immunophenotyping of peripheral blood and bone marrow by flow cytometry; and molecular detection of minimal residual diseases for leukemia and lymphoma with moledular techniques. I am also interested in studying the physiology of cancer cell stem cells and neonatal immunological response after allogeneic blood transfusion.

Representative Publications

  1. Ongkeko WM, Altuna X, Weisman RA, Wang-Rodriguez J. "Expression of Protein Tyrosine Kinases in Head and Neck Squamous Cell carcinomas". American Journal of Clinical Pathology. American Journal of Clinical Pathology. 2005; 124(1): 1-6.
  2. Blair SL, Al-Refaie WB, Wang-Rodriguez J, Behling C, Ali MW, Moossa AR. Gastrointestinal stromal tumors express ras oncogene: a potential role for diagnosis and treatment. Arch Surg. 2005 Jun;140(6):543-7; discussion 547-8.
  3. Zaldivar F, Wang-Rodriguez J, Nemet D, Schwindt C, Galassetti P, Mills PJ, Wilson LD, Cooper DM. Constitutive Pro- and Anti-inflammatory Cytokine and Growth Factor Response to Exercise in Leukocytes. J Appl Physiol. 2006 Apr;100(4):1124-33. Epub 2005 Dec 15.
  4. Chen JS, Pardo FS, Wang-Rodriguez J, Chu TS, Lopez JP, Aguilera J, Altuna X, Weisman RA, Ongkeko WM. EGFR regulates the side population in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Laryngoscope. 2006 Mar;116(3):401-6.
  5. Li HR, Wang-Rodriguez J, Nair TM, Yeakley JM, Kwon YS, Bibikova M, Zheng C, Zhou L, Zhang K, Downs T, Fu XD, Fan JB. Two-dimensional transcriptome profiling: identification of messenger RNA isoform signatures in prostate cancer from archived paraffin-embedded cancer specimens. Cancer Res. 2006 Apr 15;66(8):4079-88.
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Jessica Wang-Rodriguez received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Zoology in 1986 and her Doctor of Medicine degree in 1990, both from the University of Nevada, Reno. She completed her residency in combined Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at UCSD from 1990 to 1995, and served as Chief Resident in Pathology from 1994-95. She is certified in Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine. From 1994 to 1995, Dr. Wang-Rodriguez was a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Pathology at UCSD with a secondary appointment as Associate Physician (Management and Professional Services). In July 1995 she was appointed as Assistant Clinical Professor of Pathology and then was promoted to Associate Clinical Professor in 2001.

As Associate Clinical Professor, Dr. Wang-Rodriguez has served as Director of the Blood Bank, Co-Director of Immunogenetics (Flow Cytometry) and an Associate Surgical Pathologist at the VA Healthcare System, San Diego. She has regular patient care hours of 350 to 370 hrs each quarter, with sign out responsibility for cytology, surgical pathology and hematopathology cases. Dr. Wang-Rodriguez clinical activities include significant teaching of residents, fellow and medical students, She is also a recent (2005) award recipient of the Performance Improvement Fair at the VA San Diego Healthcare System. The clinical and administrative duties at the VA Blood Bank include clinical consultation, maintenance of accreditation with AABB, CAP, FDA, and JACHO, budget and personnel issues.

Dr. Wang-Rodriguez is a prolific publisher and researcher. Her research focus is on immunohematology and most recently on prostate cancer. Dr. Wang-Rodriguez's work is supported by several grants that focus on the evaluation of predictive signatures of prostate cancer. She is the PI of the NCI funded project titled "Evaluation of Predictive Signatures of Prostate Cancer", which is part of the NCI Director's Challenge for Strategic Partnering to Evaluate Cancer Signatures (short for SPECS). The goal through this grant is to develop a complete and comprehensive clinical data set of patients with a diagnosis of prostate carcinoma and to correlate molecular biomarkers (gene expression and epi-genetic such as methylation and Loss of Heterozygosity) with clinical outcome.

Her laboratory focuses on mechanisms of protein expression in tyrokine kinases on tumor cell growth and apoptosis. After treating cells with various DNA damaging agents, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and/or ionizing radiation, expressions of different tyrosine kinases and their down stream effectors were measured by Western Blot and immunohistochemistry. Cell survival assays were measured by clonogenic assays and flow cytometry. These preclinical findings will be translated to studying clinical human cancer specimens.

She is involved in several projects related to flow cytometry and immunology. She is the core lab director for the Veteran's Medical Research Foundation (VMRF) FACS Core lab. The core lab is entirely grant funded and is self sufficient through re-charge activities. The majority of the core lab work involves flow cytometry arms of the NIH/ NIAID funded ACTG (AIDS Clinical Trial Group) studies at the UCSD. The core laboratory is one of the twelve ACTG certified laboratory in the nation to perform such clinical trials. The core lab also offers flow related research work to researchers at VA, VMRF, UCSD, other academic and private research institutes, or commercial entities. One of the collaborations is with the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine, in the investigation of exercise induced immunologic mechanisms and intracellular cytokine expression of peripheral blood mononuclear cells in children. An NIH program project grant (PPG) and an RO1 grant using this core laboratory have been granted.

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