Lili Wang Lab

Dr. Wang’s laboratory focuses on a clinically heterogeneous blood disease, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common form of adult leukemia in North America. In the past few years, worldwide efforts using next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology have identified numerous cancer driving genetic events across various cancer types including CLL. How these somatic events drive disease initiation, progression, and relapse has become a central question in the field of cancer research. The Wang laboratory will systematically dissect somatic mutations contributing to the disease phenotype utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 technology and single-cell sequencing which will be coupled with murine models as well as human CLL samples. The ultimate goal will be to discover novel prognosis markers and design better therapeutic approaches for this heterogeneous disease.
Recently, Dr. Wang has leveraged comprehensive integrated approaches including NGS and RNA-sequencing of primary patient samples to understand how RNA splicing factor mutations of the gene SF3B1 impact CLL biology. This gene is found to be frequently mutated and associated with poor clinical outcome in CLL.  Moreover, mutations in this gene were also discovered in myelodysplasia, uveal melanoma, breast and pancreatic cancer, raising the question of how altered RNA splicing events are linked to oncogenesis. At City of Hope, Dr. Wang’s group will delineate how these splicing mutations lead to the progression and relapse of CLL as well as how RNA splicing dysregulation contributes to leukemogenesis.