Zhenghe John Wang, PhD
Co-leader

Zhenghe John Wang, PhD

Professor of Genetics and Genome Science, School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University
Co-leader, GI Cancer Genetics program (GICG)
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Wang’s research program focuses on defining mechanisms of oncogenesis at the molecular, regulatory and phenotypic levels and translating these discoveries to new cancer therapies. Dr. Wang co-discovered that PIK3CA, which encodes p110α catalytic subunit of PI3 kinase, is frequently mutated in human cancers. His laboratory recently found that PIK3CA mutations render colorectal cancer dependent on glutamine. He has successfully translated these discoveries into ongoing phase I/II clinical trials. This line of research is currently funded by a SU2C colorectal cancer Dream Team award, the Case GI SPORE and an RO1 from the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Wang also is interested in defining the roles of pseudo-kinases and pseudo-phosphatases in tumorigenesis. The human genome encodes 48 pseudo-kinases and 17 pseudo-phosphatases, which are thought to be enzymatically inactive. However, his laboratory recently discovered that the pseudo-phosphatase domain of protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor T (PTPRT) is in fact an active enzyme which removes nitration (NO2) from tyrosine residues in proteins. His lab has demonstrated that this denitrase functions as a tumor suppressor (https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2017/12/22/238980).