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) Mechanisms of immune evasion of cancer and cancer immunotherapy; 2) Role of tumor microenvironment in cancer progression and metastasis; 3) the properties of cancer stem cells; 4) Experimental therapeutics and therapeutic interventions in cancer. 5) Therapeutic interventions in chronic wounds, radiation toxicities, inflammatory skin diseases and fibrosis. 6) Normal stem cell fate determination during embryonic skin development.

Selected publications:

  1. Hernandez AL*, Young, C.D., Bian, L., Weigel, K. Nolan, K., Frederick, B., He, G., Jones, K.L., Rudolph, M.C., Trahan, G.D., Oweida, A.J., Karam, S.D., Raben, D., Wang, X.J (2020). PARP inhibition enhances radiotherapy of SMAD4 deficient human head and neck squamous cell carcinomas in experimental models. Clinical Cancer Research. 2020. Epub 03/05/2020. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-0514, PubMed PMID: 32139402.
  2. Strait AA*, Wang XJ (2020). The role of transforming growth factor-beta in immune suppression and chronic inflammation of squamous cell carcinomas. Mol Carcinog. 2020 Apr 17. doi: 10.1002/mc.23196. [Epub ahead of print], PMID: 32301180
  3. 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
  4. Li F, Bian L, Iriyama S, Jian Z, Fan B, Luo JJ, Wang DD, Young C, Han GW, Wang XJ (2019). Smad7 ameliorates TGFbeta-mediated skin inflammation and associated wound healing defects but not the susceptibility to experimental skin carcinogenesis. J Invest Dermatol. 139(4):940-950 PubMed PMID: 30423327.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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)
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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   
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. 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

Complete publication list:


Xj Wang MD, PhD

Adjunct Professor and John Gates Endowed Chair of Cancer Stem Cell Biology - Director of the Head, Neck, Cancer Research Program
  • Pathology (SOM)


Mailing Address:
  • CU Anschutz

Research I North

12800 East 19th Avenue

Aurora, CO 80045

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