Wang Lab

Dr. Xiao-Jing Wang, M.D., Ph.D., is a John S. Gates Endowed Chair of Cancer Stem Cell Biology and Director of head & neck cancer research program at UCD, Professor in Department of Pathology, and has joint appointments in the departments of Dermatology, Otolaryngology, and Craniofacial Biology.  Dr. Wang’s laboratory has developed many genetically engineered mouse models of skin and head & neck cancers. These models are unique resources for evaluating the mechanisms and efficacy of the clinical trials for cancer prevention and treatments and develop novel therapeutic interventions. Research in Wang laboratory uses both mouse models and human cancer samples for cross-species comparisons.  The current activities in Wang laboratory include: 1) Role of tumor microenvironment in cancer progression and metastasis; 2) Mechanisms of immune evasion of cancer and cancer immunotherapy; 3) the properties of cancer stem cells, transcriptional machinery, microRNA functions; 4) Experimental therapeutics of head and neck cancer with different genetic alterations. In addition to cancer biology, Dr. Wang’s laboratory studies molecular mechanisms of inflammatory skin diseases and normal stem cell fate determination during skin development.

For more about the Head and Neck research program, click here.​

Selected Publications:


  • Li F*, Bian L, Iriyama S, Jian Z, Fan B, Luo JJ, et al. Smad7 ameliorates TGFbeta-mediated skin inflammation and associated wound healing defects but not the susceptibility to experimental skin carcinogenesis. J Invest Dermatol. 2018. Epub 2018/11/14. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2018.10.031. PubMed PMID: 30423327.
  • Hernandez AL*, Wang Y, Somerset HL, Keysar SB, Aisner DL, Marshall C, Bowles DW, Karam SD, Raben D, Jimeno A, Varella-Garcia M, Wang XJ. Inter- and intra-tumor heterogeneity of SMAD4 loss in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. Mol Carcinog. 2018 Dec 21. doi: 10.1002/mc.22958. [Epub ahead of print], PMID: 30575147.
  • Luo J*, Bian L, Blevins MA, Wang D, Liang C, Du D, Wu F, Holwerda B, Zhao R, Raben D, Zhou H, Young C, Wang XJ (2019). Smad7 Promotes Healing of Radiotherapy-Induced Oral Mucositis without Compromising Oral Cancer Therapy in a Xenograft Mouse Model. Clin Cancer Res. 25(2): 808-818 PMID:30185419​
  • Dionne LK, Peterman E*, Schiel J, Gibieža P, Skeberdis VA, Jimeno A, Wang XJ**, Prekeris R. FYCO1 regulates accumulation of post-mitotic midbodies by mediating LC3-dependent midbody degradation..J Cell Sci. 2017 Dec 1;130(23):4051-4062. doi: 10.1242/jcs.208983. PMID: 29196475. ** Co-corresponding author​
  • Haeger SM, Thompson JJ, Kalra S, Cleaver TG, Merrick D, Wang XJ, Malkoski SP (2016). Smad4 loss promotes lung cancer formation but increases sensitivity to DNA topoisomerase inhibitors. Oncogene 35:577-86. PMID: 25893305
  • Han G, Bian L, Li F, Cotrim A, Wang D, Lu JB, Deng Y, Bird G, Sowers A, Mitchell J, Gutkind JS, Zhao R, Raben D, ten Dijke P, Refaeli Y, Zhang QH, and Wang XJ (2013). Preventive and therapeutic effects of Smad7 on radiation-induced oral mucositis. Nat Med, 19: 421-428 (highlighted by Nat Med Podcast, April, 2013)
  • White RA*, Neiman JM, Reddi A, Han G, Birlea S, Mitra D, Dionne L, Fernandez P, Murao K, Bian L, Keysar SB, Goldstein NB, Song N, Bornstein S, Han Z, Lu X, Wisell J, Li F, Song J, Lu SL, Jimeno A, Roop DR, Wang XJ (2013). Epithelial stem cell mutations that promote squamous cell carcinoma metastasis. J Clin Invest. 123(10):4390-404, PMID: 23999427
  • Mitra D, Fernandez P, Bian L, Song N, Li F, Han G, Wang XJ (2013). Smad4 loss in mouse keratinocytes leads to increased susceptibility to UV carcinogenesis with reduced Ercc1-mediated DNA repair. JID, 133:2609-166. doi: 10.1038/jid.2013.213. PMID: 23648546 
  • Malkoski SP, Haeger SM, Cleaver TG, Rodriguez KJ, Li H, Lu SL, Feser WJ, Barón AE, Merrick D, Lighthall JG, Ijichi H, Franklin W and Wang XJ (2012). Loss of transforming growth factor type II receptor increases aggressive tumor behavior and reduces survival in lung adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Clin Cancer Res, 18:2173-83. PMID: 22399565 PMCID: PMC3328594   
  • Hoot KE*, Oka M, Han G, Bottinger E, Zhang Q, and Wang XJ (2010). HGF Upregulation Contributes to Angiogenesis in Mice with Keratinocyte-Specific Smad2 Deletion. J Clin Invest, 120:3606-16. 
  • Bornstein S*., White R*., Malkoski SP, Oka M, Han G, Cleaver T, Reh D, Anderson P, Gross N, Olson S, Deng C, Lu S,  Wang XJ (2009). Smad4 Loss in Mice Causes Spontaneous Head and Neck Cancer with Increased Genomic Instability and Inflammation. J Clin Invest, 119:3408-19. PMCID: PMC2769185
  • Hoot KE*, Lighthall J, Han G, Lu SL, Li AG, Ju W, Kulesz-Martin M, Bottinger E, Wang XJ (2008). Keratinocyte-Specific Smad2 ablation results in increased epithelial-mesenchymal transition during skin cancer formation and progression. J Clin Invest, 118:2722-32.  PMID: 18618014 PMCID: PMC2447925


* Graduate student thesis work


Xj Wang

Professor - Director of the Head and Neck Cancer Research Program Neuroscience
  • Pathology (SOM)

Email Address:

Education, Licensure & Certifications


  • MD; Beijing Medical University, Beijing, China (1984)
  • PhD, Neuroscience; Beijing Medical University, Beijing, China (1989)

Postdoctoral Education:

  • MD Ander Cancer Center (1990-1991)

Training Faculty for Graduate School Programs:

  • Mentor for MSTP (MD/PhD) students, PhD students and Clinical Fellows
  • Graduate faculty in MSTP, BSP, Cancer Biology, MolBio, Pharmacology, Immunology
  • Course lectures in Cancer Biology, Pharmacology, Craniofacial Biology