Xiao-Fan Wang

Xiao-Fan Wang
Donald and Elizabeth Cooke Professor of Cancer Research, in the School of Medicine
CMB - Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
DSCB - Developmental Genetics
Third Year Mentor - Cardiovascular Study Program (CVS)
Third Year Mentor - Clinical Research Study Program (CRSP)
Third Year Mentor - Molmed - Molecular Basis of Disease Study Track
Third Year Mentor - Molmed - Regenerative Medicine Track
Third Year Mentor - Molmed Oncological Sciences
Campus mail: C218 Lev Sci Res Ctr, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 681-4861

The current research in the Wang laboratory mainly focuses on the elucidation of molecular nature and signaling mechanisms associated with the initiation of cellular senescence. In addition, we continue to study changes in tumor microenvironment that promotes tumor progression and metastasis, particularly how tumor cells interact with the immune system. Ultimately, we hope that our studies in these areas to lead to the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of various types of human cancer.

Education and Training

  • Wuhan University (China), B.S. 1982
  • University of California at Los Angeles, Ph.D. 1986

Selected Grants and Awards


A mediator lost in the war on cancer

An unexpected role for a Mediator subunit, MED12, in resistance to multiple anticancer agents is revealed by Huang et al. Loss of MED12 confers drug resistance by activating transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signaling.

A niche role for cancer exosomes in metastasis.

Cancer cells are known to secrete exosomes with pro-metastatic effects. Pancreatic-cancer-derived exosomes are now shown to promote liver metastasis by eliciting pre-metastatic niche formation through a multi-step process.

A P(E)RM(I)T for BMP signaling.

In this issue, Xu et al. (2013) report their interesting discovery of a critical step for initiating BMP signal transduction that requires arginine methylation at the plasma membrane.