Associate Research Professor of Inflammation and Epigenetics, Institute for Academic Medicine
Associate Research Member, Research Institute
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. Ms. 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.
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.