Dr. Sihan Wu has an extensive background in cancer genetics and genomics. After graduating from Sun-Yat-sen University (SYSU), where he majored in biotechnology in the Life Science School, he obtained his Ph.D. at the Zhongshan School of Medicine at SYSU. His doctoral research focused on how genetic alterations contribute to brain tumor development. His work led to the discovery that dysregulation of non-coding microRNAs contributes to the development of glioblastoma. After receiving his Ph.D., he initiated postdoctoral research at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University of California, San Diego, under Dr. Paul Mischel’s mentorship. There he studied the structure and function of extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) in cancer, uncovering its circular shape and the functional impact of its unique physical conformation.

In 2021, Dr. Wu joined the faculty of Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern as an assistant professor and became a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) scholar. He holds a secondary appointment in pediatrics.


The Wu lab is working to understand the functions of ecDNA and how ecDNA is maintained in cancer. They are integrating several approaches (modern sequencing technologies, cytogenetic profiling with high-resolution imaging, and bioinformatics) to tackle these questions. Understanding these mechanisms will help them develop specific therapeutic strategies to eliminate ecDNA and target oncogenes that are currently undruggable to treat a variety of cancers.


Wu Laboratory


Graduate School
Sun Yat-Sen University (2014), Pharmacology

Research Interest

  • Cancer epigenetics
  • Cancer genomics
  • Extrachromosomal DNA in human cancer


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) in cancer pathogenesis.
Wu S, Bafna V, Mischel PS, Curr Opin Genet Dev 2021 Jan 66 78-82
Same Script, Different Cast: Different Cell Origins Shape Molecular Features and Therapeutic Response in Glioblastoma.
Wu S, Mischel PS, Cancer Cell 2020 09 38 3 311-313
Zinc-finger antiviral protein acts as a tumor suppressor in colorectal cancer.
Cai J, Liu W, Wong CW, Zhu W, Lin Y, Hu J, Xu W, Zhang J, Sander M, Wang Z, Dan J, Zhang J, Liu Y, Guo L, Qin Z, Liu X, Liu Y, Yan G, Wu S, Liang J, Oncogene 2020 09 39 37 5995-6008
Oncogene Amplification in Growth Factor Signaling Pathways Renders Cancers Dependent on Membrane Lipid Remodeling.
Bi J, Ichu TA, Zanca C, Yang H, Zhang W, Gu Y, Chowdhry S, Reed A, Ikegami S, Turner KM, Zhang W, Villa GR, Wu S, Quehenberger O, Yong WH, Kornblum HI, Rich JN, Cloughesy TF, Cavenee WK, Furnari FB, Cravatt BF, Mischel PS, Cell Metab. 2019 Jul
Targeting cancer's metabolic co-dependencies: A landscape shaped by genotype and tissue context.
Bi J, Wu S, Zhang W, Mischel PS Biochim. Biophys. Acta 2018 May
Glioblastoma cellular cross-talk converges on NF-?B to attenuate EGFR inhibitor sensitivity.
Zanca C, Villa GR, Benitez JA, Thorne AH, Koga T, D'Antonio M, Ikegami S, Ma J, Boyer AD, Banisadr A, Jameson NM, Parisian AD, Eliseeva OV, Barnabe GF, Liu F, Wu S, Yang H, Wykosky J, Frazer KA, Verkhusha VV, Isaguliants MG, Weiss WA, Gahman TC, Shiau AK, Chen CC, Mischel PS, Cavenee WK, Furnari FB Genes Dev. 2017 Jul
The Anti-Warburg Effect Elicited by the cAMP-PGC1a Pathway Drives Differentiation of Glioblastoma Cells into Astrocytes.
Xing F, Luan Y, Cai J, Wu S, Mai J, Gu J, Zhang H, Li K, Lin Y, Xiao X, Liang J, Li Y, Chen W, Tan Y, Sheng L, Lu B, Lu W, Gao M, Qiu P, Su X, Yin W, Hu J, Chen Z, Sai K, Wang J, Chen F, Chen Y, Zhu S, Liu D, Cheng S, Xie Z, Zhu W, Yan G Cell Rep 2017 Jan 18 2 468-481


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

Evolvement of MicroRNAs as Therapeutic Targets for Malignant Gliomas. In Evolution of the Molecular Biology of Brain Tumors and the Therapeutic Implications

Sihan Wu, Wenbo Zhu, Guangmei Yan (2013). UK, INTECH Open Access Publisher

Honors & Awards

  • CPRIT Scholar
  • Award of Excellence, poster session, UC San Diego Moore Cancer Center
  • Ludwig Institute Kerr Award
  • National Award for Academic Star of Doctoral Candidate, Ministry of Education of China
  • National Scholarship for Graduated Student, Ministry of Education of China