About Dr. Wencai Zhang

Dr. Zhang is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at University of Central Florida College of Medicine. He received his PhD in Medical Science at Fudan University. His research is focused on studying molecular mechanisms of tumor initiation and progression in lung cancer. He was the first to discover that glycine decarboxylase is a metabolic oncogene that drives lung tumor-initiating cells and tumorigenesis through regulating pyrimidine metabolism. More recently, he investigated the reprogramming of metabolic pathways by aberrant noncoding RNAs regulation in lung cancer. He also uncovered mechanisms that mediate tolerance to small molecule inhibitors that are standard-of-care in the clinic. The goal is to decipher the complex mechanisms by which these pathways impact cancer initiation and progression, and to develop drugs that interfere with oncogenesis.

 

 Publications

  1. Zhang WC, Wells JM, Chow KH, Huang H, Yuan M, Saxena T, Melnick Mary Ann, Politi K, Asara JM, Costa DB, Bult CJ, Slack FJ. miR-147b-mediated TCA cycle dysfunction and pseudohypoxia initiate drug tolerance to EGFR inhibitors in lung adenocarcinoma. Nature Metabolism. 2019 Apr 1; 460-474.
  2. Choe J, Lin S, Zhang W, Liu Q, Wang L, Moya JAR, Du P, Kim WT, Tang S, Sliz P, Richards WG, Wong KK, Locker N, Slack F, Gregory RI. mRNA circularization by METTL3-eIF3h enhances translation and promotes oncogenesis. Nature. 2018 Sep;561(7724):556-560.
  3. Nagarajan MB, Tentori AM, Zhang WC, Slack FJ, Doyle PS. Nonfouling, encoded hydrogel microparticles for multiplex microRNA profiling directly from formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded tissue. Anal Chem. 2018 Sep 4;90(17):10279-85.
  4. Tentori AM, Nagarajan MB, Kim JJ, Zhang WC, Slack FJ, Doyle PS. Quantitative and multiplex microRNA assays from unprocessed cells in isolated nanoliter well arrays. Lab Chip. 2018 Aug 7;18(16):2410-24.
  5. Zhang WC and Slack FJ. MicroRNA-21 mediates resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors in lung cancer. J Thoracic Oncology. 2017; 12 (8), S1536.
  6. Adams BD, Parsons C, Walker L, Zhang WC, Slack FJ. Targeting noncoding RNAs in disease. J Clin Invest. 2017 Mar 1;127(3):761-771.
  7. Zhang WC, Slack FJ. ADARs edit microRNAs to promote leukemic stem cell activity. Cell Stem Cell. 2016 Aug 4;19(2):141-2.
  8. Zhang WC, Chin TM, Yang H, Nga ME, Lunny DP, Lim EK, Sun LL, Pang YH, Leow YN, Malusay SR, Lim PX, Lee JZ, Tan BJ, Shyh-Chang N, Lim EH, Lim WT, Tan DS, Tan EH, Tai BC, Soo RA, Tam WL, Lim B. Tumour-initiating cell-specific miR-1246 and miR-1290 expression converge to promote non-small cell lung cancer progression. Nat Commun. 2016 Jun 21;7:11702.
  9. Yong KJ, Basseres DS, Welner RS, Zhang WC, Yang H, Yan B, Alberich-Jorda M, Zhang J, de Figueiredo-Pontes LL, Battelli C, Hetherington CJ, Ye M, Zhang H, Maroni G, O’Brien K, Magli MC, Borczuk AC, Varticovski L, Kocher O, Zhang P, Moon YC, Sydorenko N, Cao L, Davis TW, Thakkar BM, Soo RA, Iwama A, Lim B, Halmos B, Neuberg D, Tenen DG, Levantini E. Targeted BMI1 inhibition impairs tumor growth in lung adenocarcinomas with low CEBPα expression. Sci Transl Med. 2016 Aug 3;8(350):350ra104.
  10. Go MK, Zhang WC, Lim B, Yew WS. Glycine decarboxylase is an unusual amino acid decarboxylase involved in tumorigenesis. Biochemistry. 2014 Feb 11;53(5):947-56.
  11. Hoe SL, Tan LP, Jamal J, Peh SC, Ng CC, Zhang WC, Ahmad M, Khoo AS. Evaluation of stem-like side population cells in a recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell line. Cancer Cell Int. 2014 Oct 9;14(1):101.
  12. Zhang WC, Shyh-Chang N, Yang H, Rai A, Umashankar S, Ma S, Soh BS, Sun LL, Tai BC, Nga ME, Bhakoo KK, Jayapal SR, Nichane M, Yu Q, Ahmed DA, Tan C, Sing WP, Tam J, Thirugananam A, Noghabi MS, Pang YH, Ang HS, Mitchell W, Robson P, Kaldis P, Soo RA, Swarup S, Lim EH, Lim B. Glycine decarboxylase activity drives non-small cell lung cancer tumor-initiating cells and tumorigenesis. Cell. 2012 Jan 20;148(1-2):259-72.
  13. Soh BS, Zheng D, Li Yeo JS, Yang HH, Ng SY, Wong LH, Zhang W, Li P, Nichane M, Asmat A, Wong PS, Wong PC, Su LL, Mantalaris SA, Lu J, Xian W, McKeon F, Chen J, Lim EH, Lim B. CD166(pos) subpopulation from differentiated human es and iPS cells support repair of acute lung injury. Mol Ther. 2012;20(12):2335-46.