Dr. Zhang received his B.S. degree from Wuhan University in China and his Ph.D. degree in the Department of Biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University. His dissertation research under the mentorship of Professor Michael Weiss focused on the molecular characteristics of transcription factors in gender specification. He then conducted his postdoctoral training with Professor Stephen Baylin at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, where he employed in vitro and in vivo models to characterize the contribution of aberrant epigenetic changes, such as abnormal DNA hypermethylation, to the development of cancer.  Between 2010 and 2016, Dr. Zhang first joined the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology at the National Cancer Institute as a research scientist and later became a research assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern University, where he closely worked with Drs. Alan Krensky and Carol Clayberger to understand the role of the Kruppel-like factor (KLF) transcription factor family in regulating T-cell biology, inflammation, human papillomavirus (HPV) life cycle, host cell immune response, and cervical cancer. Dr. Zhang’s current research focuses on how oncogenic HPV viral infection, epigenetic regulation of key tumor suppressor genes, oncogenes, and cytokines produced in the tumor microenvironment collectively contribute to the development of cervical cancer. Another aspect of Dr. Zhang’s ongoing research focuses on esophageal cancer and precursor lesions (e.g. Barrett’s Esophagus), with the ultimate goal of identifying molecules that can be used as a “liquid biopsy” for esophageal cancer.


Graduate School
Case Western Reserve Univ (2006), Biochemistry

Research Interest

  • Cancer Epigenetics
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Gene Regulation in HPVs
  • Tumor Immunology


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

KLF13 regulates the differentiation-dependent human papillomavirus life cycle in keratinocytes through STAT5 and IL-8.
Zhang W, Hong S, Maniar KP, Cheng S, Jie C, Rademaker AW, Krensky AM, Clayberger C Oncogene 2016 Oct 35 42 5565-5575
Epigenetic silencing of neurofilament genes promotes an aggressive phenotype in breast cancer.
Calmon MF, Jeschke J, Zhang W, Dhir M, Siebenkäs C, Herrera A, Tsai HC, O'Hagan HM, Pappou EP, Hooker CM, Fu T, Schuebel KE, Gabrielson E, Rahal P, Herman JG, Baylin SB, Ahuja N Epigenetics 2015 10 7 622-32
KLF13 Cooperates with c-Maf To Regulate IL-4 Expression in CD4+ T Cells.
Kwon SJ, Crespo-Barreto J, Zhang W, Wang T, Kim DS, Krensky A, Clayberger C J. Immunol. 2014 May
Frequent inactivation of cysteine dioxygenase type 1 contributes to survival of breast cancer cells and resistance to anthracyclines.
Jeschke J, O'Hagan HM, Zhang W, Vatapalli R, Calmon MF, Danilova L, Nelkenbrecher C, Van Neste L, Bijsmans IT, Van Engeland M, Gabrielson E, Schuebel KE, Winterpacht A, Baylin SB, Herman JG, Ahuja N Clin. Cancer Res. 2013 Jun 19 12 3201-11
Fbw7?-mediated degradation of KLF13 prevents RANTES expression in resting human but not murine T lymphocytes.
Kim DS, Zhang W, Millman SE, Hwang BJ, Kwon SJ, Clayberger C, Pagano M, Krensky AM Blood 2012 Aug 120 8 1658-67
Loss of a single Hic1 allele accelerates polyp formation in Apc(?716) mice.
Mohammad HP, Zhang W, Prevas HS, Leadem BR, Zhang M, Herman JG, Hooker CM, Watkins DN, Karim B, Huso DL, Baylin SB Oncogene 2011 Jun 30 23 2659-69
Aberrant epithelial-mesenchymal Hedgehog signaling characterizes Barrett's metaplasia.
Wang DH, Clemons NJ, Miyashita T, Dupuy AJ, Zhang W, Szczepny A, Corcoran-Schwartz IM, Wilburn DL, Montgomery EA, Wang JS, Jenkins NA, Copeland NA, Harmon JW, Phillips WA, Watkins DN Gastroenterology 2010 May 138 5 1810-22
A potential tumor suppressor role for Hic1 in breast cancer through transcriptional repression of ephrin-A1.
Zhang W, Zeng X, Briggs KJ, Beaty R, Simons B, Chiu Yen RW, Tyler MA, Tsai HC, Ye Y, Gesell GS, Herman JG, Baylin SB, Watkins DN Oncogene 2010 Apr 29 17 2467-76
Epigenetic inactivation of the canonical Wnt antagonist SRY-box containing gene 17 in colorectal cancer.
Zhang W, Glöckner SC, Guo M, Machida EO, Wang DH, Easwaran H, Van Neste L, Herman JG, Schuebel KE, Watkins DN, Ahuja N, Baylin SB Cancer Res. 2008 Apr 68 8 2764-72
Cooperation between the Hic1 and Ptch1 tumor suppressors in medulloblastoma.
Briggs KJ, Corcoran-Schwartz IM, Zhang W, Harcke T, Devereux WL, Baylin SB, Eberhart CG, Watkins DN Genes Dev. 2008 Mar 22 6 770-85