Fen Wang

Fen Wang


Center for Translational Cancer Research
2121 W. Holcombe Blvd
Houston, TX   77030

Phone: 713-677-7520

Education and Training

Fen Wang earned his B.S. degree in microbiology and M.S. degree in cell biology at Xiamen University in Fujian, China.  He received a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry in 1994 in a joint program between Clarkson University, Postdam, New York, and the W. Alton Jones Cell Science Center, Lake Placid, New York. He was a postdoctoral fellow (1994 to 1996) and Assistant Research Scientist from 1997-1999 and promoted to Assistant Professor in 2000 in the Center for Cancer and Stem Cell Biology, Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A&M Health Science Center, in the Texas Medical Center, Houston, Texas. He was promoted to tenured Associate Professor in 2006 and full professor in 2010.  He holds a joint appointment in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, College of Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center.  In 2012 he assumed the directorship of the Center for Cancer and Stem Cell Biology.

Research Interests

The laboratory focuses on understanding the molecular basis of cell signaling, and how aberrant cell signaling leads to birth defects and causes cancers. Using in vitro cell culture systems and in vivo mouse models, we study how the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) activates its receptor (FF) tyrosine kinase, and how the activated FF transmits the signals to downstream targets and regulates proliferation, differentiation, homeostasis, and function of the cells, as well as in organogenesis and development, including prostate and cardiovascular system development. The laboratory also employs molecular biology, cell biology, and mouse genetic technologies to study how aberrant FGF signals promote tumor initiation, progression, and metastasis. In addition, how environmental factors contribute to tumorigenesis and congenital birth defects by modulating FGF signal intensity and specificity is also under the scope of our research interests.

Ten Most Significant Publications prior to 2016

  1. Jin, C., K. McKeehan, W. Guo, S. Jauma, M. l. Ittmann, B. Foster, N. Greenberg, W. L. McKeehan, and Wang (2003) Cooperation between ectopic FGFR1 and depression of FGFR2 signaling in induction of high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia in mouse prostate. Cancer Res. 63: 8784-8790.
  2. Lin Y, G. Liu, Y. Zhang, Y-P. Hu, K. Yu, C. Lin, K. McKeehan, J. W. Xuan, D. Ornitz, M. M. Shen, N. Greenberg, W. L. McKeehan, and Wang. (2007). Fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 tyrosine kinase is required for prostatic morphogenesis and acquisition of strict androgen dependency for adult tissue homeostasis. Development 134: 723-734. (Feature of the Issue).
  3. Zhang, Y., J. Zhang, Y. Lin, Y. Lan, C. Lin, J.W. Xuan, M.M. Shen, W.L. McKeehan, N.M. Greenberg, and Wang (2008). Epithelial resident Fibroblast growth factor receptor substrate 2a-mediated signals in the prostate development, regeneration, and tumorigenesis. Development 135: 775-784 [Epub 2008 Jan 9].
  4. Wang F. (2011). Modeling human prostate cancer in genetically engineered mice. (Kyung Tai Min and Karen Chang, eds), Academic. Press. Burlington, 100:1-49. PMID: 21377623
  5. Zhang J., J. Liu, Y. Huang, J.Y.F. Chang, L. Liu, W.L. McKeehan, J.F. Martin, and Wang (2012) FRS2a-mediated FGF signals suppress premature differentiation of cardiac stem cells through regulating autophagy activity. Circulation Research 110:e29-39 [Epub 2011 Dec 29]
  6. Chang, J. Y. F., C. Wang, C. Jin, C. Yang, Y. Huang, J. Liu, McKeehan W. L., R. N. D’Souza, and F. Wang (2013) Self-renewal and multilineage differentiation of mouse dental epithelial stem cells. Stem Cell Res. 11: 990-1002.  PMID: 23906788. PMCID: PMC3952636
  7. Wang C., C. Yang, J. YF Chang, Y. Li, C. Jin, Y. Luo, P. You, X. Li, W. L. McKeehan, and F. Wang (2014) Hepatocyte FRS2a is Essential for the Endocrine Fibroblast Growth Factor to Limit the Amplitude of Bile Acid Production Induced by Prandial Activity.  Current Molecular Medicine14(6): 703-711. PMID: 25056539; PMCID: PMC4768716.
  8. Huang, Y., C. Jin, T. Hamana, J. Liu, C. Wang, L. An, W. L. McKeehan, and Wang (2015) Overexpressed FGF9 in Prostate Cancer Cells Augments Reactive Stroma Formation and Promotes Prostate Cancer Progression. International J. of Biological Science 11(8): 948-960. doi:10.7150/ijbs.12468. PMID: 26157349; PMCID: PMC4495412.
  9. Huang, Y., T. Hamana, J. Liu, C. Wang, P. You, J. Y.F. Chang, Y. Luo, J. Xu, C. Jin, Z. Zhang, W. L. McKeehan, and Wang (2015) Prostate sphere-forming stem cells are derived from the P63-expressing basal compartment. J. Biol. Chem. 290 (29):17745-17752. PMID: 26032419. PMCID: PMC4505023
  10. Huang, Y., T. Hamana, J. Liu, C. Wang, P. You, J. Y.F. Chang, Y. Luo, J. Xu, C. Jin, Z. Zhang, W. L. McKeehan, and F. Wang (2015) Type 2 fibroblast growth factor receptor signaling preserves stemness and prevents differentiation of prostate stem cells from the basal compartment. J. Biol. Chem. 290(29):17753-17761. PMID: 26032417.  PMCID: PMC4505024

Publications in 2016 

  1. Lin, L., Z. Fang, H. Lin, H. You, J. Wang, Y. Su, Wang*, and Z. Zhang (2016) Depletion of Cks1 and Cks2 expression compromises cell proliferation and enhances chemotherapy‑induced apoptosis in HepG2 cells. Oncology Reports. 35:26-32. PMID: 26531156. PMCID: PMC4699626. *Co-corresponding authors.
  2. Shi, M., Y. Zhang, L. Liu, T. Zhang, F. Han. J. Cleveland, Wang, W.L. McKeehan, Y. Li, and D. Zhang (2016) MAP1S Controls Phagocytosis of Bacteria through TLR Signaling. J. Biol. Chem. 291(3):1243-1450. PMID: 26565030; PMCID: PMC4714212.
  3. Li, W., J. Zou, F. Yue, K. Song, Q. Chen, W. L. McKeehan, Wang, G. Huang, G. Xu, H. Huang, J. Yi, and L. Liu (2016) Autophagy defect in mice induces fibronectin accumulation and liver sinusoidal dilatation and accelerates aging.  Aging Cell. 15:370-379. PMID: 26750654;  PMCID: PMC4783353
  4. Liu, J, P. You, G. Chen, X. Fu, X. Zeng, C. Wang, Y. Huang, L. An, X. Wan, N. Navone, C-L Wu. W. L. McKeehan, Z. Zhang, W. Zhong, and Wang (2016) Hyperactivated FRS2α-mediated signaling in prostate cancer cells promotes tumor angiogenesis and predicts poor clinical outcome of patients. Oncogene 35(14):1750-9. PMID: 26096936; PMCID: PMC4781666
  5. Xiao, , Q. Feng, Z. Zhang, F. Wang, J. P. Lydon, M. M. Ittmann, L. Xin, N. Mitsiades, B. He (2016) The essential role of GATA transcription factors in adult murine prostate. 7(30):47891-47903.  PMID: 27374105. PMCID: PMC5216986
  6. Mathew, G, K. Hertzler-Schaefer, Wang, GS. Feng, J. Zhong, JJ. Zhao, J. Downward, X. Zhang (2016) Targeting of Ras-mediated FGF signaling suppresses Pten-deficient skin tumor. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; 113:13156-13161. PMID: 27799550, PMCID: PMC5135310
  7. Li X, Wang C, Xiao J, McKeehan WL, Fen Wang. (2016) Fibroblast growth factors, old kids on the new block. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 53:155-67. PMID: 26768548, PMCID: PMC4875805.
  8. Klionsky, DJ,……..F. Wang……SM Zughaier (2016) Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (3rd edition). Autophagy. 2016 Jan 2; 12(1):1-222. PMID: 26799652. PMCID: PMC4835977.

 Publications in 2017

  1. Mathew, G, K. Hertzler-Schaefer, Wang, GS. Feng, J. Zhong, JJ. Zhao, J. Downward, X. Zhang (2017) Targeting of Ras-mediated FGF signaling suppresses Pten-deficient skin tumor. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; 113:13156-13161. PMID: 27799550, PMCID: PMC5135310
  2. Nandi, S., G. Gutin, C. A. Blackwood, N. G. Kamatkar, K. W. Lee, G. Fishell, Wang, M. Goldfarb, J. M. Hébert1 (2017) FGF-dependent, context-driven role for FRS adapters in the early telencephalon. J. of Neuroscience. 37(23):5690-5698. PMID: 28483978. PMCID: PMC5469306
  3. Lin, H., Z. Fang, Y. Su, P. Li, J. Wang, H. Liao, Q. Hu, C. Ye, Y. Fang, Q. Luo, Z. Lin, C. Pan*, Wang*, Z.Y. Zhang* (2017) DHX32 Promotes Angiogenesis in Colorectal Cancer Through Augmenting β-catenin Signaling to Induce Expression of VEGFA. EBioMedicine. 18:62-72. PMID: 28330603. PMCID: PMC5405167. *Co-corresponding authors.
  4. Garg, A., M. Bansal, J. V.P. Eswarakumara, N. Gotoh, G.-S. Feng, J. Zhong, Wang, A. Kariminejad, S. Brooks, and X. Zhang. (2017) Alx4 relays sequential FGF signaling to induce lacrimal gland morphogenesis. Plos Genetics 13(10):e1007047. PMID: 29028795. PMCID: PMC5656309

Publications in 2018

  1. Collins, T, Y. Mao, H. Li, A. Hong, G.-S. Feng, Wang, L. A. Quilliam, T. Park, T. Curran, and X. Zhang (2018) Crk proteins mediate FGF signaling to promote lens fiber cell elongation. Elife: pii: e32586. PMID: 29360039; PMCID: PMC5818251
  2. Riaz, SK, JS Khan, STA Shah, F Wang, L Ye, WG Jiang, MFA Malik (2018) Involvement of hedgehog pathway in early onset, aggressive molecular subtypes and metastatic potential of breast cancer. Commun. Signal. 16: 3. PMID: 29329585; PMCID: PMC5795292
  3. Li, Q. O. Alsaidan, Y. Ma, S. Kim, J. Liu, T. Albers, K. Liu, Z. Beharry, S. Zhao, Wang, I. Lebedyeva, and H. Cai. (2018) Pharmacologically targeting the myristoylation of the scaffold protein FRS2α inhibits FGF/FGFR-mediated oncogenic signaling and tumor progression. J. Biol. Chem. 293(17): 6434-6448. PMID: 29540482. PMCID: PMC5925806
  4. Ma, G., J. Liu, Y. Ke, X. Liu, M. Li, Wang, G. Han, Y. Huang, Y. Wang, Y. Zhou (2018) Optogenetic Control of Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English). 57: 1-5. PMID: 29569306; PMCID: PMC6032918
  5. Liu, J., G. Chen, Z. Liu, S. Liu, Z. Cai, P. You, Y. Ke, L. Lai, Y. Huang, H. Gao, L. Zhao, H. Pelicano, P. Huang, W. L. McKeehan, C.-L. Wu, C. Wang, W. Zhong, and Wang (2018) Aberrant FGFR tyrosine kinase signaling enhances the Warburg effect by reprogramming LDH isoform expression and activity in prostate cancer. Cancer Research 78: 4459-4470. PMID: 29891507. PMCID: PMC6095720
  6. Wang, C., Y. Ke, S. Liu; S. Pan, Z. Liu, H. Zhang, Z. Fan, C. Zhou, J. Liu, and Wang (2018) Ectopic fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 promotes inflammation by promoting nuclear factor-κB signaling in prostate cancer cells. J. Biol. Chem. 293:14839-14849. PMID: 30093411, PMCID: PMC6153282

Publications in 2019

  1. Hua Q., C. Wangb, F. Liu, J. He, Wang*, W. Wang, and P. You (2019) High serum levels of FGF21 are decreased in bipolar mania patients during psychotropic medication treatment and are associated with increased metabolism disturbance. Psychiatry Research 272: 643-648. *Co-corresponding authors. PMID: 30616135
  2. Li, H., Y, Mao, M. Bouaziz, Yu H. X. Qu, Wang, G-S Feng, C. Shawber, and X. Zhang (2019). PI3K restrains cell differentiation by mediating PDGF regulation of Notch signaling. PLoS Biol. 17(2):e3000133. PMID: 30716082. PMCID: PMC6375662
  3. Ji, S., Q. Liu, S. Zhang, Q. Chen, C. Wang, W. Zhang, C. Xiao, Y. Li, C. Nian, J. Li, J. Li, J. Geng, L. Hong, C. Xie, Y. He, X. Chen, X. Li, Z.-Y. Yin, H. You, K. H. Lin, Q. Wu, C. Yu, R. L. Johnson, L. Wang, L. Chen, Wang, and D. Zhou (2019) FGF15 activates Hippo signaling to suppress bile acid metabolism and liver tumorigenesis. Dev. Cell, 48(4):460-474.e9. PMID: 30745141.
  4. S. K, Y. Ke, F. Wang, M. A. Kayani, M. F. A. Malik (2019) Influence of SHH/GLI1 axis on EMT mediated migration and invasion of breast cancer cells. Science Rep. 9: 6620. PMID: 31036836; PMCID: PMC6488587
  5. Wang C., Z. Liu, Y. Ke, and F. Wang (2019) Intrinsic FGFR2 and Ectopic FGFR1 Signaling in the Prostate and Prostate Cancer. Genet. 10: 12. PMID: 30761180, PMCID: PMC6363687.


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