800-826-HOPE (4673)

Sophia S. Wang, Ph.D.

Research Focus :
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Genetic susceptibility
  • Hematopoietic malignancies
  • Gynecologic tumors
  • Stroke and related cardiovascular endpoints
  • Childhood cancers and conditions
  • Immune biomarkers
  • Infectious and viral causes of cancer
Languages Spoken
  • Chinese

Dr. Wang is a molecular epidemiologist with expertise in cancer etiology and survivorship research. She completed her training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (B.S.) and The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Ph.D.). For her doctoral dissertation, she identified interactions between hepatitis B infection and aflatoxin exposure in increased risk for hepatocellular carcinoma in China. 

Dr. Wang completed her post-doctoral fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where she served as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer in the Office of Genetics and Disease Prevention and the Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases as part of the team that investigated the avian influenza outbreak (H9N2) in Hong Kong, China. 

Prior to joining the City of Hope, Dr. Wang was an intramural investigator at the National Cancer Institute where she conducted extensive research on the genetics of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and served as the principal investigator to the Study to Understand Cervical Cancer Early Endpoints and Determinants (SUCCEED) where she sought to identify molecular characteristics along the carcinogenic pathway. 

Since joining the City of Hope, Dr. Wang has continued these lines of research and has further expanded her research into the California Teachers Study cohort where she is integrally involved in its biobanking efforts to understand the molecular tumor characteristics of cancers and the role of inflammation in cancer etiology and survival. She is a Professor in the Department of Population Sciences’ Division of Cancer Etiology. 

  • 2013 - present, Professor, Department of Population Sciences, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, CA
  • 2009 - 2013, Associate Professor, Department of Population Sciences, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, CA
  • 2008 - 2009, Senior Investigator, Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD
  • 2000 - 2008, Investigator, Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD
  • Cancer Etiology
  • Population Sciences

Degrees

  • 1994 - 98, Ph.D., Epidemiology, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
  • 1988 - 92, B.S., Biology (Minor in Music), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Fellowship

  • 1998 - 2000, Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, Office of Genomics & Disease Prevention - Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases (Div of Influenza), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

For over 15 years, my research has focused on understanding the role of immune perturbations/inflammation and cancer risk.  A molecular epidemiologist by training, I evaluate the role of both genetic and environmental influences on cancer risk, with a specific focus on pinpointing the specific immune mechanism involved in carcinogenesis.  I have evaluated the role of immune perturbations from infections (e.g., hepatitis A, B, C; human papillomavirus), from autoimmune conditions, from behavioral characteristics (e.g., obesity) and from genetic variations among immune genes. 

A large part of my research has focused on the etiology of hematopoietic malignancies, with ongoing work in understanding the role of the immune genes, such as human leukocyte antigens (HLA), and others particularly relevant genes for inflammation (e.g., tumor necrosis factor) in lymphoma etiology and survival.  I have also devoted many years to understanding the immunological/genetic underpinnings related to infections and cancer, most notably in human papillomavirus and cervical cancer. 

My currently funded research in lymphoma is derived from the Los Angeles County population, where we are evaluating the role of environmental and genetic risk factors for developing the incident lymphoma, for developing a recurrent lymphoma, and for surviving lymphoma.  I also serve as a Steering Committee member to the California Teachers Study cohort where we evaluate the causes of multiple cancers.  The unique linkages of this study with state-wide databases, including hospitalization, cancer registry, mortality databases, along with the detailed exposure information ascertained from the nearly 133,000 female participants enables our research team to evaluate life-long exposures (and changes) with regard to cancer risk, and in consideration of competing disease entities, including stroke and diabetes. 

I am also an active researcher in large international consortia, including the International Lymphoma Epidemiology (InterLymph) Consortium where I served as its chair in 2013, the National Cancer Institute’s Cohort Consortium, and the National Institute of Health’s The Cancer Genome Atlas Cervix Working Group. 

Journal Editor

  • 2009 - present, Editorial Board, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention
  • 2009 - 2014, Editorial Board, Leukemia and Lymphoma
  • 2011 - present, Editorial Board, American Journal of Epidemiology
  • 2011 - present, Review Editor, Frontiers in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention
  • 2011 - present, Senior Editorial Board, International Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Genetics
  • 2013 - present, Editorial Board, Cancer Research
     

Representative Publications »

  • 1998-present, American Association for Cancer Research
  • 2001-present, Molecular Epidemiology Group, AACR
  • 2002-present, Women in Cancer Research, AACR
  • 2012-present,American Epidemiological Society (elected)
  • 2012-present,American Society of Hematology
  • 2007, Mentoring Award, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute
  • 2006, Bench to Bedside Award, National Institutes of Health
  • 2006, Merit Award, National Institutes of Health
  • 1998, Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
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