Area: Molecular and Cellular Biology
Associate Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Dr. Xiang Zhang, associate professor of molecular and cellular biology, has focused the efforts of his lab in elucidating biological mechanisms and therapeutic strategies of metastasis, the major threat to the lives of solid cancer patients. These efforts resulted in the development of a set of unique techniques and models to study the interaction between microscopic metastases and various stromal components in different organs, particularly in the bone. These investigations have subsequently led to the discovery of osteogenic cells as the major microenvironmental components that promote early-stage of breast cancer-bone colonization, work that was published in Cancer Cell and selected as one of the journal’s eight best papers in 2015. Dr. Zhang is also studying the interactions between cancer cells and various immune cells and has published this work in Nature Cell Biology. Specifically, he has focused on the heterogeneity of the immune environment created by cancers with diverse genetic and epigenetic backgrounds and the establishment of a link between oncogenic mTOR signaling and accumulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells. A breakthrough contribution to his field, which was published in a study in Nature, has been the discovery and characterization of a mutually regulatory loop between tumor vasculature and adaptive immunity. These findings profoundly enriched our understanding of tumor-microenvironment interaction and proposed compelling therapeutic strategies.
Dr. Wang’s nomination was based on the following publications:
Welte T, Kim IS, Tian L, Gao X, Wang H, Li J, Holdman XB, Herschkowitz JI, Pond A, Xia G, Kurley S, Nguyen T, Liao L, Dobrolecki LE, Pang L, Mo Q, Edwards DP, Huang S, Xin L, Xu J, Li Y, Lewis MT, Wang T, Westbrook TF, Rosen JM*, and Xiang H.-F. Zhang* (2016). Oncogenic mTOR signaling recruits myeloid-derived suppressor cells to promote tumor initiation. Nature Cell Biology 18(6):632-44. PMCID: PMC4884142.
Wang H., Yu C., Gao X., Welte T., Muscarella A.M., Zhao H., Zhao Z., Tao J., Lee B., Westbrook T.F., Wong S.T.C., Jin X., Rosen J.M., Osborne C.K., and Xiang H.-F. Zhang (2015). The Osteogenic Niche Promotes Early-Stage Bone Colonization of Disseminated Breast Cancer Cells. Cancer Cell. 27(2):193-210. PMCID: PMC4326554.
Tian L, Goldstein A, Wang H, Kim IS, Lo HS, Welte T, Sheng K, Dobrolecki LE, Zhang X, Putluri N, Phung T, Mani SA, Stossi F, Sreekumar A, Mancini MA, Zong C, Decker WK, Lewis MT, and Xiang H.-F. Zhang (2017). Mutual regulation of tumour vessel normalization and immunostimulatory reprogramming. Nature 544(7649):250-254.