Zhigang C. Wang, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Assistant Professor, Cancer Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
DF/HCC Program AffiliationBreast Cancer
Dr. Wang’s major research interest is the functional genomics of breast and ovarian cancers and focuses on genomic sub-classification and novel target discovery in the two diseases. The major strategy of his research integrates the microgenomic/ human single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array, gene expression and exome-sequencing data in tumors and clinical outcome of the patients. He collaborated with the pathologists and GYN oncologists at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber to acquire SNP array datasets from four cohorts of breast and ovarian cancer. He with his colleagues profiled genome-wide chromosomal aberrations, particularly loss of heterozygosity (LOH), in tumors, identified the feature LOH profiles in triple-negative breast cancer, and sub-classfied ovarian cancer into three sub-groups with different treatment outcome. They developed a new approach to quantify allelic imbalance and LOH events in the tumor genome to predict response to chemotherapy in breast and ovarian cancer. He led a study using genome exome sequencing data and discovered the genome-wide burden of somatic mutation in ovarian cancer serves as a novel predictor for clinical treatment outcome in ovarian cancer with BRCA1/2 mutations. He plans to use these genomic approaches to study response to PARP inhibitors in two clinical trials. In another research field, he and his team completed an integrated genomic study and identified the important role of 8q22 amplification and the novel cancer genes LAPTM4B and YWHAZ in metastasis and chemotherapy resistance in breast cancer. The changes in intracellular drug distribution and autophagy activity were discovered as two mechanisms. He conducted a preclinical study whose objective is to overcome chemo-resistance utilizing a lysosomal tropic drug. The work opens a new avenue in the field of drug resistance in cancer and can be translated into clinical practice in the future. Using the same integrated genomic approach, he extends his study to investigate chromosomal alteration and genes associated with chemotherapy resistance in ovarian cancer. Recently he also serves as the head of the breast cancer tissue bank.
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