Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Yicheng (Helen) Wang

Yicheng (Helen) Wang

Yicheng (Helen) Wang

Yicheng (Helen) Wang

Assistant Member 
Center for Inflammation and Epigenetics
Diabetes and Metabolic Disease
Cancer Research
The Methodist Hospital Research Institute

E-mail: ywang4@houstonmethodist.org
Phone: (713) 441-1133
Fax: (713) 441-5349


B.S.   Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China


Ms. Wang began her research training at the University of Georgia and Stanford University School of Medicine in the fields of molecular biology and biochemistry. In 1994, she joined the American Red-Cross Laboratory, and later moved to the National Institute of Health as a biologist. During that time, she became interested in immunology, focusing on cytokine biology, signaling transduction, and T-cell biology in autoimmune diseases.

Ms. Wang was appointed assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in 2007, and assistant member at The Methodist Hospital Research Institute in 2012. At Baylor College of Medicine, Ms. Wang identified T-cell recognized tumor antigens that can be engineered for the development of novel cancer vaccines. Dr. Wang’s research at Baylor College of Medicine provided the first evidence that antigen-specific regulatory T (Treg) cells dampen antitumor immunity elicited by cancer vaccines. She later showed that this suppressive function of Treg cells can be reversed by activating innate immune receptors.

Ms. Wang now directs a T Cell Biology laboratory that is studying a set of critical immune targets associated with cancer, obesity and neurodegenerative diseases and subsets of T cells. The goal of these studies is to develop novel vaccines or drugs for the prevention and treatment of cancer, obesity and neurodegenerative diseases.

Description of Research

Ms. Wang’s team studies the role of T cells in antigen recognition and immune regulation. Her projects include identifying mechanisms of cytokine signaling in immune cells, tumor antigen discovery, and defining mechanisms of regulatory T cell function and innate immune signaling. A critical goal of her research is to identify antigens that are recognized by various T cells, including Th1, Th17 and Treg cells. This knowledge is essential for understanding how the host immune system responds to cancer, obesity and neurodegenerative diseases, and provides important therapeutic targets for development of effective vaccines against cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Ms. Wang also works on understanding innate immune signaling pathways, in particular Toll-like receptor (TLR8) signaling in the reversal of regulatory T cell suppressive functions. Negative regulators play a critical role in controlling immune balance and inflammation, which has been linked to the development of cancer and many other diseases. Her team is therefore investigating how to improve immune responses by reducing the levels of these negative regulators in immune cells. These research findings have the potential to translate into novel therapeutics for diseases such as cancer, obesity and inflammation-associated diseases like ALS.

Major Areas of Research

Cancer immunology, cancer immunotherapy, innate immune signaling, antigen presentation, epigenetics

Recent Publications

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

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, and Wang RF. NLRC5 negatively regulates the NF-kappaB and type I interferon signaling pathways and antiviral immunity. Cell. 2010. Apr 30;141(3):483-96. PMID: 20434986

Peng G, Wang HY, Peng W, Kiniwa Y, Seo KH, Wang RF. Tumor-infiltrating gamma delta T cells suppress T and dendritic cell function via mechanisms controlled by a unique toll-like receptor signaling pathway. Immunity. 2007 Aug;27(2):334-48. PMID: 17656116

Peng G. Z. Guo, Y. Kiniwa. K.S. Voo, W. Peng, T. Fu, D. Y. Wang,, Y. Li, H. Y. Wang and Wang RF. Toll-like receptor 8 mediated-reversal of CD4+ regulatory T cell function. Science. 2005 Aug 26;309(5739):1380-4. PMID: 16123302

Wang HY, Peng G, Guo Z, Shevach EM, Wang RF. Recognition of a new ARTC1 Peptide Ligand Uniquely Expressed in Tumor Cells by antigen-specific CD4+ regulatory T Cells. J. Immunol. 2004. 174:2661-2670. PMID: 15728473

Wang, HY, Lee DA, Peng G, Guo Z, Li Y, Kiniwa Y, Shevach EM, and Wang RF. Tumor-specific human CD4+ regulatory T cells and their ligands: implications for immunotherapy. Immunity 2004. 20:107-118. PMID: 14738769

Wang RF, Wang HY. Enhancement of antitumor immunity by prolonging antigen presentation on dendritic cells. Nat Biotechnol. 2002 Feb;20(2):149-54. PMID: 11821860