Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research
Office Room #: 215
164 Frelinghuysen Road Piscataway, NJ 08854
Phone: (848) 445-4940
Fax: (732) 445-0687
Wei-Xing Zong, PhD
Education & TrainingPhD - University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), Piscataway, NJ
MS and BS - Nankai University, Tianjing, China
Post-Doctoral Fellowship - University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Research InterestsCancer cell stress response with three main focuses, 1) Proteotoxicity (the cytotoxic effect of misfolded proteins) and redox homeostasis, 2) Oncogenic signaling in protein turnover and cell metabolism, 3) Unfolded protein response (ER stress) in oncogenesis. We use mostly biochemical, molecular biological, and cell biological techniques, as well as genetically engineered mouse models and clinical samples.
1. Proteotoxic stress and signaling Many cell types including cancer cells are often under the stress of misfolded proteins that leads to many molecular consequences such as increased reactive oxygen species (ROS), unfolded protein response signaling, and cell death. Inhibition of protein degradation is an emerging anti-cancer strategy. A major line of research in the lab is to understand the mechanisms underlying these molecular events. Ongoing projects involve the regulation of redox homeostasis by the ubiquitin E3 ligase TRIM21, and the regulation of cell death via p62-mediated caspase-8 aggregation.
2. Oncogenic regulation of protein and bioenergetics homeostasis We study how phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases (PI3Ks) regulate autophagy and endocytosis, and how these functions are involved in oncogenesis. Another line of research in the lab is to understand how PI3-kinases and c-Myc oncogenes regulate cancer cell metabolism.
3. Squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCCA) in tumorigenesis Squamous cell carcinoma antigens (SCCAs) are members of the Serpin family of endogenous serine and cysteine protease inhibitors. Elevated expression of SCCA has been found to associate with poorly differentiated and advanced squamous cell carcinomas of the uterine cervix, lung, head and neck, esophagus, liver, and breast. However, despite its relevance with human cancer, the biological function of SCCA remains largely unclear. We are currently studying how SCCA functions to promote tumorigenesis and can be targeted for therapy.