Cancer Genetics Program

Cancer Genetics Program

The Cancer Genetics Program, directed by Dr. Liang Wang, MD, PhD., is an important component of the Department of Pathology’s efforts at advancing cancer research in collaboration with the Cancer Center. The lab is located at the fourth floor of the Translational and Biomedical Research Building. The lab is equipped with state-of- the-art technology for modern molecular biology and genetics research. It provides research training opportunities for research fellows as well as clinical fellows. Currently, the lab is composed of one research technician who supports laboratory investigation and three postdoc fellows who are involved in intensive research training in the areas of Cancer Genetics, Translational Medicine and Bioinformatics.

The research focus of the lab is in genome variation and human cancer. Specifically, the lab is interested in investigating the genetic basis of human cancers including prostate, esophagus and lung cancer using gene expression profiling, genomewide SNP genotyping, systems biology-based network analysis and large scale case- control association studies. The lab is also interested in the development of cancer biomarkers including prostate, pancreas, colon and lung by testing blood/tissue DNA/RNAs in well-characterized patient populations using genome- wide methylation, next generation sequencing and bioinformatic approaches. Examples of the research efforts currently being carried out include a large scale RNA sequencing project that aims to analyze RNA sequences in over 500 prostate cancer patients. The goal is to identify genes and genetic variants that contribute to aggressive forms of prostate cancer. Another project is to identify blood-based biomarkers that can predict drug response and clinical outcomes in prostate and colon cancer patients. This project also uses large scale next generation sequencing technology and examines circulating RNAs as potential biomarkers for early detection and outcome prediction. In the next few years, the lab is expected to lay a solid foundation as a leader in this emerging cancer research field. The research activities of the lab are being supported by grants from the National Institute of Health and Advancing a Healthy Wisconsin Foundation.