Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Rongfu Wang Ph.D.

Rongfu Wang, Ph.D.


Rongfu Wang, Ph.D.

Rongfu Wang, Ph.D.

Senior Member
Director, Center for Inflammation and Epigenetics
Co-Director, Diabetes Research Center for the Diabetes and Metabolism Institute, Immunometabolism Research Program
The Methodist Hospital Research Institute

Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University

Phone: 713-441-7359
E-mail: rwang3@houstonmethodist.org


Ph.D.   University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA (Molecular Genetics)

Postdoctoral Training

Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular Virology, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA

General Fellow, Cancer Immunotherapy, Surgery Branch, NCI, Bethesda, MD



Dr. Wang received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in 1992.  After receiving his doctoral degree in Molecular Genetics, Dr. Wang expanded his field of expertise by training with Dr. James Mullins in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine. In 1994, Dr. Wang joined the Surgery Branch in the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland where he worked with Branch Chief, Dr. Steve Rosenberg, who is a pioneer of cancer immunotherapy.  In 1996, Dr. Wang was promoted to Senior Principal Investigator.

During his tenure at the NCI, Dr. Wang made insightful discoveries on how immune cells recognize solid tumors through specific cancer antigens and published a landmark paper in Science onthe development of a novel genetic approach to identify cancer antigens recognized by CD4+ T cells. In 2000, Dr. Wang was appointed Associate Professor  at Baylor College of Medicine in the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy and the Department of Pathology and Immunology.  He was promoted to full Professor in 2004.  His lab studies novel mechanisms in tumor immunity and tolerance, innate immune regulation, regulatory T cell biology, inflammation, and epigenetics. He moved his laboratory to The Methodist Hospital Research Institute in 2012, where he currently serves as the Director of the Center for Inflammation and Epigenetics and the Co-Director of the Metabolism and Diabetes Center.  

In recognition of his academic achievements, Dr. Wang received the The Michael DeBakey Excellence in Research Award in 2006 and was bestowed with one of BCM’s highest honors; the Jack L. Titus Professorship in Pathology appointment in 2007.   Throughout his career Dr. Wang has published over eighty peer-reviewed journal articles, two textbooks, has over fifteen patent applications, has received many grants from NIH, American Cancer Society, Cancer Research Institute and CPRIT, has successfully completed one clinical trial and serves in ten scientific publication review panels.

Description of Research

Dr. Wang has a long-standing interest in tumor immunotherapy and cancer vaccine development. In particular, he has been interested in tumor antigen discovery, cancer stem cells and innate immunity and functional control of regulatory T cells by Toll-like receptors. His team studies the role and mechanisms of Toll-like receptors, NOD-like receptors, negative regulators of innate immune signaling, inflammation, epigenetics and cancer immunotherapy.

Major Areas of Research

Cancer immunology, innate immune signaling, epigenetics of cancer and stem cells, and cancer immunotherapy

Recent Publications

Zhao W, Li Q, Ayers S, Gu Y, Shi Z, Zhu Q, Chen Y, Wang HY, Wang RF. Jmjd3 Inhibits Reprogramming by Upregulating Expression of INK4a/Arf and Targeting PHF20 for Ubiquitination. Cell. 2013 Feb 28;152(5):1037-50. PMID: 23452852

Tong Y, Cui J, Li Q, Zou J, Wang HY, Wang RF.  Enhanced TLR-induced NF-?B signaling and type I interferon responses in NLRC5 deficient mice. Cell Res. 2012 May;22(5):822-35. PMID: 22473004

Wang HY, Wang RF. Enhancing cancer immunotherapy by intracellular delivery of cell-penetrating peptides and stimulation of pattern-recognition receptor signaling. Adv Immunol. 2012. 114:151-76. PMID: 22449781

Cui J, Li Y, Zhu L, Liu D, Songyang Z, Wang HY, Wang RF. NLRP4 negatively regulates type I interferon signaling by targeting the kinase TBK1 for degradation via the ubiquitin ligase DTX4. Nat Immunol. 2012. 13(4):387-95. PMID: 22388039

Ajibade AA, Wang Q, Cui J, Zou J, Xia X, Wang M, Tong Y, Hui W, Liu D, Su B, Wang HY, Wang RF. TAK1 negatively regulates NF-?B and p38 MAP kinase activation in Gr-1+CD11b+ neutrophils. Immunity. 2012. 36(1):43-54. PMID: 22226633

Xia X, Cui J, Wang HY, Zhu L, Matsueda S, Wang Q, Yang X, Hong J, Songyang Z, Chen ZJ, Wang RF. NLRX1 negatively regulates TLR-induced NF-?B signaling by targeting TRAF6 and IKK. Immunity. 2011 Jun 24:34(6)843-53. PMID: 21703539

Cui J, Zhu L, Xia X, Wang HY, Legras X, Hong J, Ji J, Shen P, Zheng S, Chen ZJ, Wang RF. NLRC5 negatively regulates the NF-?B and type I interferon signaling pathways and antiviral immunity. Cell. 2010. Apr 30;141(3):483-96. PMID: 20434986