Faculty Summaries
Zeng-jie Yang
Zeng-jie Yang, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor
Zengjie.Yang@fccc.edu
Office Phone: 215-214-1545
Fax: 215-728-2471
Office: W345
Research Summary

Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in children, and also occurs in adults. Despite significant progress in development of treatments for this cancer, the mortality rate of medulloblastoma is still very high. Our research seeks to elucidate the mechanisms of medulloblastoma initiation and progression, with the aim of translating the findings into improved strategies for the treatment of medulloblastoma.

To study the basis of medulloblastoma formation, we first focus on the tumor cell itself, to define what genetic and/or epigenetic events could convert a normal cell into a tumor cell. We are also examining the functions of tumor-supporting cells (the tumor stroma, and other constituents of the tumor microenvironment) in medulloblstoma formation. We hope to find a more effective way to control medulloblastoma growth, through targeting both tumor cells and their supporting stroma.

Description of research projects
Selected Publications
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  1. Li P, Du F, Yuelling LW, Lin T, Muradimova RE, Tricarica R, Wang J, Enikolopov G, Bellacosa A, Wechsler-Reya RJ, Yang ZJ. A population of Nestin-expressing progenitors in the cerebellum exhibits increased tumorigenicity. Nature Neuroscience. 2013 Dec, 16: 1737-1744.  (Highlighted by a news report: “New Progenitors Nestin(g) in the EGL”, Nature Neuroscience, 2013 Dec. 16: 1710-1712.)
  2. Kessler JD, Hasegawa H, Brun SN, Emmenegger BA, Yang ZJ, Dutton JW, Wang F, Wechsler-Reya RJ. N-myc alters the fate of preneoplastic cells in a mouse model of medulloblastoma. Genes Dev. 2009 Jan 15;23(2):157-70. PubMed
  3. Yang ZJ, Ellis T, Markant SL, Read TA, Kessler JD, Bourboulas M, Schüller U, Machold R, Fishell G, Rowitch DH, Wainwright BJ, Wechsler-Reya RJ. Medulloblastoma can be initiated by deletion of patched in lineage-restricted progenitors or stem cells. Cancer Cell. 2008 Aug 12;14(2):135-45. PubMed
  4. Yang ZJ, Wechsler-Reya RJ. Hit ‘em where they live: Targeting the cancer stem cell niche. Cancer Cell. 2007 Jan;11(1):3-5. PubMed
  5. Yang ZJ, Appleby VJ, Coyle B, Chan WI, Tahmaseb M, Wigmore PM, Scotting PJ. Novel strategy to study gene expression and function in developing cerebellar granule cells. J Neurosci Methods. 2004 Jan 30;132(2):149-60. PubMed
All publications