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

Transcriptional upregulation of microtubule-associated protein 2 is involved in the protein kinase A-induced decrease in the invasiveness of glioma cells.
Zhou Y, Wu S, Liang C, Lin Y, Zou Y, Li K, Lu B, Shu M, Huang Y, Zhu W, Kang Z, Xu D, Hu J, Yan G Neuro-oncology 2015 May
Emerging function of mTORC2 as a core regulator in glioblastoma: metabolic reprogramming and drug resistance.
Wu SH, Bi JF, Cloughesy T, Cavenee WK, Mischel PS Cancer Biol Med 2014 Dec 11 4 255-63
Identification and characterization of alphavirus M1 as a selective oncolytic virus targeting ZAP-defective human cancers.
Lin Y, Zhang H, Liang J, Li K, Zhu W, Fu L, Wang F, Zheng X, Shi H, Wu S, Xiao X, Chen L, Tang L, Yan M, Yang X, Tan Y, Qiu P, Huang Y, Yin W, Su X, Hu H, Hu J, Yan G Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2014 Oct 111 42 E4504-12
Inhibition of cancer cell proliferation by midazolam by targeting transient receptor potential melastatin 7.
Dou Y, Li Y, Chen J, Wu S, Xiao X, Xie S, Tang L, Yan M, Wang Y, Lin J, Zhu W, Yan G Oncol Lett 2013 Mar 5 3 1010-1016
Single Bout Short Duration Fluid Shear Stress Induces Osteogenic Differentiation of MC3T3-E1 Cells via Integrin ß1 and BMP2 Signaling Cross-Talk.
Mai Z, Peng Z, Wu S, Zhang J, Chen L, Liang H, Bai D, Yan G, Ai H PLoS ONE 2013 8 4 e61600
Triptolide cooperates with Cisplatin to induce apoptosis in gemcitabine-resistant pancreatic cancer.
Zhu W, Li J, Wu S, Li S, Le L, Su X, Qiu P, Hu H, Yan G Pancreas 2012 Oct 41 7 1029-38
MiR-135a functions as a selective killer of malignant glioma.
Wu S, Lin Y, Xu D, Chen J, Shu M, Zhou Y, Zhu W, Su X, Zhou Y, Qiu P, Yan G, Oncogene 2012 Aug 31 34 3866-74
Triptolide inhibits proliferation and invasion of malignant glioma cells.
Zhang H, Zhu W, Su X, Wu S, Lin Y, Li J, Wang Y, Chen J, Zhou Y, Qiu P, Yan G, Zhao S, Hu J, Zhang J, J Neurooncol 2012 Aug 109 1 53-62
MicroRNA 335 is required for differentiation of malignant glioma cells induced by activation of cAMP/protein kinase A pathway.
Shu M, Zhou Y, Zhu W, Zhang H, Wu S, Chen J, Yan G, Mol Pharmacol 2012 Mar 81 3 292-8
Activation of a pro-survival pathway IL-6/JAK2/STAT3 contributes to glial fibrillary acidic protein induction during the cholera toxin-induced differentiation of C6 malignant glioma cells.
Shu M, Zhou Y, Zhu W, Wu S, Zheng X, Yan G, Mol Oncol 2011 Jun 5 3 265-72


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