Xiaowei Wang, PhD studies prognostic biomarkers to stratify patients based on the risk of failure to standard therapies. The lab has performed gene expression profiling studies and established multiple microRNA-based prognostic models for robust prediction of a variety of human cancers. In particular, they have focused on cervical and oropharyngeal cancers, both of which are closely associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Besides microRNA biomarkers, they have also characterized the interactions between microRNA and HPV during the development of HPV-induced cancers. The Wang Lab is currently collaborating with Radiation Oncologists to validate the clinical utility of the identified prognostic biomarkers to guide treatment decisions. They have developed multiple bioinformatics tools and experimental methods to facilitate microRNA studies. For example, they have developed an online database, miRDB for microRNA target prediction and functional analysis. miRDB has quickly become a widely-used bioinformatics tool for microRNA research.
Besides tools related to microRNA, Dr. Wang’s lab has also developed other popular bioinformatics tools for gene expression studies. Several prominent examples are: 1) PrimerBank database for real-time PCR studies, which has been referenced by thousands of publications; 2) siOligo program for siRNA design. siOligo is currently used by Life Technologies to design their siRNA products, which have been distributed to hundreds of labs throughout the world; 3) WU-CRISPR, a recently developed tool for the design of CRISPR/Cas9 assays.