A long-term goal of our lab is to understand how RNA splicing is regulated in a systematic level, and how splicing regulation affect important human diseases like cancer.
Our main approach is to collect a part list of splicing regulation, and to further determine how they functionally interact to each other so that to assemble a set of general rules of splicing (i.e. the splicing code). We are incorporating such information into a series of computational approaches to assemble a set of rules for splicing regulation and examine how the splicing rules response to cell signals in cancer cells.
In addition to splicing regulation, we are interested in developing new technologies for detecting and manipulating RNA inside cells. In addition, we have engineered a series of RNA binding factors with designed specificity and use these artificial factors to specially track, edit, or degrade RNAs. These new approaches will help us to rewire the regulatory pathways of both mRNA and non-coding RNAs, which will facilitate the discovery of new rules for RNA regulation.
2012-2016 Jefferson-Pilot Fellowships in Academic Medicine Award
2009 Kimmel Scholar Award
2008-2011 Beckman Young Investigator
2008-2010 Alfred Sloan Research Fellow
2007 RNA Society/Scaringe Young Scientist Award
2006 NRMCB poster award for interdisciplinary science, 11th annual meeting of RNA Society
2003-2006 Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation
2002 Paul Ehrlich Research Award (young investigator award for thesis research), Johns Hopkins University
1999 Burroughs Wellcome Fellowship, Marine Biological Lab, Woods Hole, MA
1996-1997 DiAo scholarship, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing
1994 Graduate with highest honor from Tsinghua University, Beijing
1993-1994 Guang Hua scholarship, Tsinghua University, Beijing
1990-1993 Scholarship for Academic Excellence, Tsinghua University, Beijing
1989 The national high school mathematics competition first prize
1. Tsai YS, Dominguez D, Gomez SM*, Wang Z*, Transcriptome-wide identification and study of cancer-specific splicing events across multiple tumors, Oncotarget, 2015, 6(9): 6825-6839
2. Wang Y, Wang Z*, Efficient backsplicing produces translatable circular mRNAs, RNA, 2015, 21(2): 172-179
3. Wang Yang*, Chen Dan, Qian H, Tsai YS, Shao S, Dominguez D, Wang Zefeng*,RBM4 specifically controls alternative splicing to suppress tumor progression, Cancer Cell, 2014, 26(3): 374-389
4. Choudhury R, Ghose Roy S, Tsai YS, TripathyA, Graves LM and Wang Z*, The splicing activator DAZAP1 integrates splicing control into MEK/Erk regulated cell proliferation and migration, Nat Commun, 2014, 5: 3078-3093
5. Wang Y, Xiao X, Zhang J, Choudhury R, Robertson A, Li K, Ma M, Burge CB*, Wang Z*, A complex network of factors with overlapping affinities control splicing repression by intronic elements, Nat Struct Mol Biol.2013, 20(1): 36-54
6. Wang Y, Ma M, Xiao XS and Wang Z*,Intronic splicing enhancers, cognate splicing factors and context dependent regulation rules, Nat Struct Mol Biol, 2012, 19(10): 1044-1052
7. Choudhury R, Dominguez D, Wang Y and Wang Z*, Engineering RNA endonucleases with customized sequence specificities, Nat Commun, 2012, 3: 1147-1154
8. Dong S, Wang Y, Cassidy-Amstutz C, Lu G, Bigler R, Jezyk MR, Li C, Hall TM, Wang Z*, Specific and modular binding code for cytosine recognition in Pumilio/FBF (PUF) RNA-binding domains, J Biol Chem, 2011, 286(30): 26732-26742
9. Wang Y, Cheong CG, Hall TM, Wang Z*, Engineering splicing factors withdesigned specificities, Nat Methods, 2009, 6(11): 825-830
10. Wang Z, Rolish ME, Yeo G, Tung V, Mawson M, Burge CB*, Systematicidentification and analysis of exonic splicing silencers, Cell, 2004, 119(6):831-845
Education & Academic Background
Zefeng obtained a bachelor of science in biochemistry and bachelor of engineering in electrical and computer techniques from Tsinghua University of China in 1994. Subsequently he obtained a master of science in Biochemistry from the Institute of Biophysics at the Chinese Academy of Science. He came to US in 1997 to attend graduate school in Johns Hopkins Medical School, and obtained a Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry at 2002.
Afterward he became a Damon Runyon post-doc fellow in Department of Biology at MIT, and in 2007 started his own lab as an Assistant Professor in University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Pharmacology. He was promoted to associated professor with tenure in 2013, and accepted the director position of PICB on 2014 (by 2015 his lab has been moved back from UNC).