Liling Wan, PhD

faculty photo
Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology
Assistant Investigator, Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute
Department: Cancer Biology

Contact information
421 Curie Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6160
Office: (215)-898-3116
Fax: (215)-573-6725
Lab: (215)-898-3698
B.S. (Biological Sciences and Biotechnology)
Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 2008.
PhD (Molecular Biology)
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 2014.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests:
The research interests in the Wan Lab lie in the intersection of cancer biology and epigenetics.

Cancer Biology, Epigenetics, Chromatin, Histone modifications, Gene regulation, Cell fate, Drug discovery, Leukemia, Kidney

Research Details:
Chromatin - the complex of DNA and histone proteins - is the physiological template of the eukaryotic genome through which transcription factors, signaling pathways, and other internal and external cues alter gene activity and cellular phenotypes. Cancer genome studies revealed that at least 40% of human cancers harbor mutations in genes encoding chromatin-associated factors, suggesting widespread roles of chromatin misregulation in cancer. We strive to understand chromatin function and its dysregulation in human cancer, with a focus on addressing how these mechanisms regulate cellular fate transition and plasticity that endow cancer cells with tumor-promoting potentials. We are also interested in leveraging our basic mechanistic discoveries for therapeutics development. We have multiple areas of ongoing research in the lab: (1) Elucidate how the epigenome is decoded by chromatin readers to influence cell fate decisions and tumorigenesis; (2) Investigate the structural and biochemical basis and functional consequence of cancer-associated mutations in chromatin regulators; (3) Investigate how epigenomic reprogramming influences transcriptional and cellular plasticity to impact cancer cell behaviors such as metastasis; and (4) Develop and/or characterize drugs that target newly identified epigenetic mechanisms in cancer.

Research techniques:
We use a host of different approaches including genome-wide sequencing, advanced imaging, functional genomics, biochemistry, structural biology, mouse models of disease, bioinformatics and more.

Rotation Projects:
Rotation projects are available in each area of interest in the lab. Please contact Dr. Wan for details.

Selected Publications

Wan L#, Chong S, Fan X, Liang A, Cui X, Gates L, Carroll TS, Li Y, Feng L, Chen G, Wang S, Ortiz MV, Daley S, Wang X, Xuan H, Kentsis A, Muir TW, Roeder RG, Li H, Li W, Tjian R, Wen H#, Allis CD# (#co-corresponding): Impaired Cell Fate through Gain-of-function Mutations in a Chromatin Reader. Nature 577(7788): 121-126, January 2020.

Wan L*, Wen H*, Li Y*, Lyu J, Xi Y, Hoshii T, Joseph JK, Wang X, Loh YE, Erb MA, Souza AL, Bradner JE, Shen L, Li W, Li H, Allis CD, Armstrong SA, Shi X (*Equal contribution): ENL Links Histone Acetylation to Oncogenic Gene Expression in Acute Myeloid Leukemias. Nature 543(7644): 265-269, March 2017.

Li X*, Li XM*, Jiang Y, Liu Z, Cui Y, Fung K, van der Beelen S, Tian G, Wan L, Shi X, Allis CD, Li H, Li Y, Li X (*equal contribution): Structure-guided Development of YEATS Domain Inhibitors by Targeting π-π-π Stacking. Nature Chemical Biology 14(12): 1140-1149, December 2018.

Li Y*, Sabari BR*, Panchenko T*, Wen H, Zhao D, Guan H, Wan L, Huang H, Tang Z, Zhao Y, Roeder RG, Shi X, Allis CD, Li H (*equal contribution): Molecular Coupling of Histone Crotonylation and Active Transcription by AF9 YEATS Domain. Molecular Cell 62(2): 181-193, April 2016.

Wan L, Lu X, Yuan S, Wei Y, Guo F, Shen M, Yuan M, Chakrabarti R, Hua Y, Smith HA, Blanco MA, Chekmareva M, Wu H, Bronson RT, Haffty BG, Xing Y, Kang Y: MTDH-SND1 Interaction is Crucial for Expansion and Activity of Tumor-Initiating Cells in Diverse Oncogene- and Carcinogen-Induced Mammary Tumors. Cancer Cell 26(1): 92-105, July 2014.

Guo F*, Wan L*, Zheng A, Stanevich V, Wei Y, Satyshur KA, Shen M, Lee W, Kang Y, Xing Y (*equal contribution): Structural Insights into the Tumor-Promoting Function of the MTDH-SND1 Complex. Cell Reports 8(6): 1704-1713, September 2014.

Wan L, Hu G, Wei Y, Yuan M, Bronson RT, Yang Q, Siddiqui J, Pienta KJ, Kang Y: Genetic Ablation of Metadherin Inhibits Autochthonous Prostate Cancer Progression and Metastasis. Cancer Research 74(18): 5336-5347, September 2014.

Wan L, Pantel K, Kang Y: Tumor Metastasis: Moving New Biological Insights into the Clinic. Nature Medicine 19(11): 1450-1464, November 2013.

Alexia C, Poalas K, Carvalho G, Zemirli N, Dwyer J, Dubois SM, Hatchi EM, Cordeiro N, Smith SS, Castanier C, Le Guelte A, Wan L, Kang Y, Vazquez A, Gavard J, Arnoult D, Bidère N: The Endoplasmic Reticulum Acts as a Platform for Ubiquitylated Components of Nuclear Factor κB Signaling. Science Signaling 6(291), September 2013.

Wan L, Kang Y: Pleiotropic Roles of AEG-1/MTDH/LYRIC in Breast Cancer. Advances in Cancer Research 120:113-34, 2013.

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Last updated: 08/25/2022
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