Our research focuses on using leading-edge mass spectrometric technologies to identify novel activation pathways in small numbers of blood cells. Our innovative mass spectrometry platforms enable us to phosphoproteomically profile hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, leukemia cells and immune cells as they undergo state and fate transitions.
These strategies, combined with in vitro and in vivo model systems, will enable us to understand and to treat pediatric blood cancers and solid tumors more effectively.
Principal Investigator: Leo David Wang, M.D., Ph.D.
An Assistant Professor in the Department of Immuno-Oncology and in the Department of Pediatrics, Dr. Leo Wang conducts research that focuses on CAR T research, hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell biology, and immune cell signaling and engineering.
Children with aggressive brain tumors have a very poor prognosis and new therapies are badly needed. Researchers at City of Hope have developed a promising new CAR T cell therapy that has shown remarkable clinical efficacy (Brown et al., NEJM 2016), and we are excited that our clinical trial will extend this therapy to children with neuromalignancies including (but not limited to) glioblastoma, medulloblastoma, atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor, ependymoma, and diffuse midline glioma/DIPG.
Our trial uses lymphodepletion followed by autologous CAR T cells that target the brain tumor antigen IL13Rα2, after an initial safety lead-in in which patients will receive CAR T cells without lymphodepletion. For more information, please call 833-582-4673 (833-582-HOPE) or email PediatricTrials@coh.org.
Tristan Chan earned his Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017. At UCSB, he did research in the laboratory of Songi Han, Ph.D., studying the effects of surface species on proteorhodopsin. Later, he earned his Master of Science in biochemistry from University of Arizona in Tucson under the guidance of Wolfgang Peti, Ph.D. His master’s thesis focused on expanding the interactome of PIM1 Kinase. Chan looks forward to diversifying his expertise as a researcher in a clinical research environment, and is excited to jump into the field of immune-oncology in the lab of Leo Wang, M.D., Ph.D.
Diana Gumber graduated with a Bachelor of Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2015, double majoring in animal science and biology. In 2017, she earned her Master of Science degree in agriculture with a specialization in animal science from the CIRM-funded Regenerative Medicine program at Cal Poly. Upon graduation, she joined the Laboratory of Karl Willert, Ph.D., at University of California, San Diego, which studies the role of Wnt proteins and their signaling pathways in cancer and development. As a graduate student of City of Hope's Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences, she is excited to begin her dissertation research in the laboratory of Leo Wang, M.D., Ph.D., in the study of hematopoietic malignancies and cancer immunotherapies.
In 2008, Leonce Kouakanou, Ph.D., graduated from University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin with a Bachelor's in physiology. He then completed his M.Sc. in microbiology/immunology at the University of Lome, Togo in 2011. His master's thesis, which was completed at the Medical Research Council in the U.K, The Gambia, focused on the immunoregulation by antibodies in infant malaria. In 2015, with a Ph.D. scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service, he joined the University of Kiel in Germany in the group of Professor Dieter Kabelitz. He obtained his Ph.D. in Immunology in 2019, working on the influence of vitamin C in the differentiation and functional plasticity of human gamma delta T cells, in the context of cancer immunotherapy.
Jennifer Shepphird earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in microbiology and her Ph.D. in chemistry and biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles, studying protein structure by X-ray crystallography. She worked in the field of structure-based drug design before focusing on science communication and project management. At City of Hope, she is a project development scientist within the Clinical and Translational Project Development team and functions as the project manager for Dr. Leo Wang’s pediatric brain tumor CAR T cell trial.
Grace Sun graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in 2020 with a bachelor's degree in animal science. She then continued her education at the University of Southern California, earning her Master of Science in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine in 2021. During her time at USC, she conducted research in the laboratory of Miller Huang, Ph.D, where she studied the molecular mechanisms of MYCN pathway in medulloblastoma and its effect on tumorigenesis. Sun is excited to explore the clinical and translational aspect of research, as well as the field of immuno-oncology in the lab of Dr. Wang.
Hanmin Wang graduated from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in biopharmaceutical engineering and then completed his Ph.D. in physiology at Loma Linda University in 2021. His previous research interests focus on cell fate decisions and in the actions of transcription factors and miRNAs in development and in cancer.
He finished his Ph.D. project in the laboratory of Dr. Juli Unternaehrer at Loma Linda University. There, Hanmin studied the role of transcription factor SNAIL and miRNA let-7 in the context of cancer cell stemness. Hanmin joined the laboratory of Dr. Leo Wang as a postdoctoral fellow and is eager to start the next chapter of his career and expand his horizons in the pursuit of cancer patient health.
Join Our Team
Join one of our labs and help us on our mission to save lives.
The goal of the Leo Wang Lab is to revolutionize the way that pediatric and blood cancers are treated, and we could not be more thrilled to bring our innovative and exciting scientific research group to the San Gabriel Valley.
We are looking for enthusiastic, self-motivated individuals who thrive in a fast-paced, challenging startup research environment, and who can interact well with others as part of a cohesive team. If you have a desire to make a significant impact in health care, and have the fortitude to work hard, we invite you to contact us.