Xiaowei Wang, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Radiation Oncology

Computational and Systems Biology Program
Molecular Genetics and Genomics Program
Molecular Cell Biology Program

  • 314-747-5455

  • 8224

  • 4511 Forest Park Ave

  • xwang@radonc.wustl.edu

  • http://rnalab.wustl.edu

  • microRNA, bioinformatics, computational biology, cancer, biomarker

  • Combined computational and experimental analyses of microRNA functions

Research Abstract:

Our research is focused on a family of non-coding RNAs called microRNAs. Hundreds of human microRNAs have been identified in recent years. MicroRNAs function primarily through negative regulation of the expression of their gene targets. Both computational and experimental studies have shown that thousands of human protein-coding genes are regulated by microRNAs, and microRNAs may act as master regulators for many important biological pathways, such as cancer development, cell growth, tissue differentiation, apoptosis and viral infection. Because of their critical roles in gene expression regulation, microRNA functional characterization has become one of the most active research fields in biology in recent years. We are currently employing both bioinformatics and experimental approaches to study the functions of microRNAs. The identification of microRNA targets will be an important first step to characterize microRNA functions. By combining computational data modeling with high-throughput experimental data, we are developing novel computational algorithms to more accurately predict the genes targeted by microRNAs. Besides bioinformatics projects on microRNA target regulation analysis, we are also carrying out large-scale profiling experiments to identify microRNAs that are involved in cancer development. Our goal is to identify interesting microRNAs as robust biomarkers for the prediction of cancer outcomes. The identification of these microRNA biomarkers will bring new promises to individualized cancer patient care: therapeutic protocols will be designed for each patient based on the outcome prediction result from the same individual. Besides using microRNAs as disease biomarkers, we are also actively investigating the therapeutic potential of microRNAs by studying the functional involvement of microRNAs in various human diseases. By combining bioinformatics and experimental biology, we hope that our systems biology approach of microRNA study will shed light on the functions of microRNAs under normal physiological conditions as well as various disease states.

Selected Publications:

Wang X (2016) Improving microRNA target prediction by modeling with unambiguously identified microRNA-target pairs from CLIP-Ligation studies. Bioinformatics. 32(9):1316-1322.

Wong N, Khwaja SS, Baker CM, Gay HA, Thorstad WL, Daly MD, Lewis JS Jr, Wang X (2016) Prognostic microRNA signatures derived from The Cancer Genome Atlas for head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. Cancer Medicine. 5(7):1619-1628.

Wong N, Liu W, Wang X (2015) WU-CRISPR: characteristics of functional guide RNAs for the CRISPR/Cas9 system. Genome Biology. 16(1):218 1-8.

Wong N, Wang X (2015) miRDB: an online resource for microRNA target prediction and functional annotations. Nucleic Acids Research. 43(D1):D146-152.

Wang X (2014) Composition of seed sequence is a major determinant of microRNA targeting patterns. Bioinformatics 30(10):1377-1383.

Liu W, Gao G, Hu X, Wang Y, Schwarz JK, Chen JJ, Grigsby PW, Wang X (2014) Activation of miR-9 by human papillomavirus in cervical cancer. Oncotarget. 5(22):11620-11630.

Jiang Z, Liu W, Wang Y, Gao Z, Gao G, Wang X (2013) Rational design of microRNA-siRNA chimeras for multi-functional target suppression. RNA 19(12):1745-1754.

Gao G, Gay HA, Chernock RD, Zhang TR, Luo J, Thorstad WL, Lewis JS, Wang X (2013) A microRNA expression signature for the prognosis of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Cancer 119(1):72-80.

Gao G, Chernock RD, Gay HA, Thorstad WL, Zhang TR, Wang H, Ma XJ, Luo Y, Lewis JS, Wang X (2013) A novel RT-PCR method for quantification of human papillomavirus transcripts in archived tissues and its application in oropharyngeal cancer prognosis. International Journal of Cancer 132(4):882-90.

Wang X, Spandidos A, Wang H, Seed B (2012) PrimerBank: a PCR primer database for quantitative gene expression analysis, 2012 update. Nucleic Acids Research 40(1):D1144-1149.

Hu X, Schwarz JK, Lewis JS., Huettner PC, Rader JS, Deasy JO, Grigsby PW, Wang X (2010) A microRNA expression signature for cervical cancer prognosis. Cancer Research 70(4):1441-1448.

Wang X, Wang XH, Varma RK, Beauchamp L, Magdaleno S, Sendera TJ (2009) Selection of hyperfunctional siRNAs with improved potency and specificity. Nucleic Acids Research 37(22):e152 1-9.

Last Updated: 5/4/2017 9:50:20 AM

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