Shizhen (Emily) Wang, Ph.D.

Shizhen (Emily) Wang, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor
  • Ph.D. (joint) - Nankai University & University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Postdoctoral Fellow - Viral Oncology, Johns Hopkins University
  • Postdoctoral Fellow - Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt University

Research Interests

Keywords: Tumor microenvironment; Metastasis; Extracellular microRNA; Extracellular vesicles

Carcinogenesis is a multievent process that occurs in a dynamic microenvironment. Our rationale to suppress tumor progression includes: 1) simultaneous targeting of key oncogenic pathways expressed in cancer cells, and 2) targeting microenvironmental modifications that result from oncogenic signaling networks in cancer cells.  In the last few years our lab has focused on extracellular microRNAs (miRNAs) that can be detected in the circulation as novel biomarkers of cancer disease and mediators of intercellular communication. Using cell-secreted vesicles (e.g., exosomes) as vehicles, miRNAs secreted by cancer cells can travel to and enter various types of niche cells in the primary and pre-metastatic tumor microenvironments. Upon entering niche cells, miRNAs regulate gene expression to prepare the niche for cancer progression. Our lab is currently exploring various novel therapeutic strategies targeting cancer-derived extracellular miRNAs for their function in cancer–host communication.

Representative Publications

  1. Chin AR, Wang SE*. Clin Cancer Res. 2016;22(15):3725-33. Cancer Tills the Premetastatic Field: Mechanistic Basis and Clinical Implications.
  2. Chin AR, Fong MY, Somlo G, Wu J, Swiderski P, Wu X, Wang SE*. Cell Res. 2016 Jan;26(2):217-28. Cross-kingdom inhibition of breast cancer growth by plant miR159.
  3. Fong MY, Zhou W, Liu L, Alontaga AY, Chandra M, Ashby J, Chow A, O’Connor ST, Li S, Chin AR, Somlo G, Palomares M, Li Z, Tremblay JR, Tsuyada A, Sun G, Reid MA, Wu X, Swiderski P, Ren X, Shi Y, Kong M, Zhong W, Chen Y, Wang SE*. Nat Cell Biol. 2015 Feb;17(2):183-94. Breast-cancer-secreted miR-122 reprograms glucose metabolism in premetastatic niche to promote metastasis.
  4. Zhou W, Fong MY, Min Y, Somlo G, Liu L, Palomares MR, Yu Y, Chow A, O'Connor STF, Chin AR, Yen Y, Wang Y, Marcusson EG, Chu P, Wu J, Wu X, Li AX, Li Z, Gao H, Ren X, Boldin MP, Lin PC, Wang SE*. Cancer Cell. 2014 Apr;25(4):501-15. Cancer-secreted miR-105 destroys vascular endothelial barriers to promote metastasis.
  5. Chow A, Zhou W, Liu L, Fong MY, Champer J, Van Haute D, Chin AR, Ren X, Gugiu BG, Meng Z, Huang W, Ngo V, Kortylewski M, Wang SE*. Sci Rep. 2014 Jul;4:5750. doi: 10.1038/srep05750. Macrophage immunomodulation by breast cancer-derived exosomes requires Toll-like receptor 2-mediated activation of NF-κB.
  6. Liu L, Zhou W, Cheng CT, Ren X, Somlo G, Fong MY, Chin AR, Li H, Yu Y, Xu Y, O'Connor ST, O'Connor TR, Ann DK, Stark JM, Wang SE*. Mol Cancer Res. 2014 Nov;12(11):1597-609. TGFβ induces “BRCAness” and sensitivity to PARP inhibition in breast cancer by regulating DNA-repair genes.
  7. Ashby J, Flack K, Jimenez LA, Duan Y, Khatib AK, Somlo G, Wang SE, Cui X, Zhong W. Anal Chem. 2014 Sep;86(18):9343-9. Distribution profiling of circulating microRNAs in serum.
  8. Chin AR, Wang SE*. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2014 Jan;382(1):598-602. Cytokines driving breast cancer stemness.
  9. Tsuyada A, Chow A, Wu J, Somlo G, Chu P, Loera S, Luu T, Li AX, Wu X, Ye W, Chen S, Zhou W, Yu Y, Wang YZ, Ren X, Li H, Scherle P, Kuroki Y, Wang SE*. Cancer Res. 2012 Jun;72(11):2768-79. CCL2 mediates crosstalk between cancer cells and stromal fibroblasts that regulates breast cancer stem cells.
  10. Chandra M, Zang S, Li H, Zimmerman LJ, Champer J, Tsuyada A, Chow A, Zhou W, Yu Y, Gao H, Ren X, Lin RJ, Wang SE*. Mol Cell Biol. 2012 Jun;32(12):2183-95. Nuclear translocation of type I TGF-β receptor confers a novel function in RNA processing.
  11. Wu X, Somlo G, Yu Y, Palomares MR, Li XA, Zhou W, Chow A, Yen Y, Rossi JJ, Gao H, Wang J, Yuan YC, Frankel P, Li S, Ashing-Giwa KT, Sun G, Wang Y, Smith R, Robinson K, Ren X, Wang SE*. J Transl Med. 2012 Mar;10(1):42. De novo sequencing of circulating miRNAs identifies novel markers predicting clinical outcome of locally advanced breast cancer.
  12. Wang Y, Yu Y, Tsuyada A, Ren X, Wu X, Stubblefield K, Rankin-Gee EK, Wang SE*. Oncogene. 2011 Mar;30(12):1470-80. Transforming growth factor β regulates the sphere-initiating stem cell-like feature in breast cancer through miRNA-181 and ATM.
  13. Yu Y, Wang Y, Ren X, Tsuyada A, Li A, Liu LJ, Wang SE*. Mol Cancer Res. 2010 Dec;8(12):1633-42. Context-dependent bidirectional regulation of the mutS homolog 2 by transforming growth factor β contributes to chemoresistance in breast cancer cells.

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