Faculty Profile

Dr. Wenjun Guo, Ph.D.

Wenjun Guo, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Cell Biology

Areas of Research: Breast cancer, mammary stem cells, mammary development, cancer stem cells, tumor metastasis

Professional Interests

My lab is interested in two interlocking areas of stem cell biology: the molecular pathways that regulate the normal stem-cell state in the mammary gland, and the role of these pathways in the regulation of breast cancer stem cells.

Regulators of mammary stem cells

We have developed sensitive and specific mammary stem cell assays. Using these assays, we aim to identify novel markers and regulators of mammary stem cells.

In this effort, we identified two key transcription factors of mammary stem cells, Slug and Sox9. Both factors are necessary for maintaining endogenous mammary stem cells. Furthermore, ectopic expression of these factors efficiently converts differentiated mammary epithelial cells into long-term gland-regenerating stem cells. We are now investigating the mechanism of action by which these factors induce stem cells and regulate the epithelial cell hierarchy in the mammary gland.

Function of stem-cell pathways in breast cancer

Emerging evidence suggests that normal stem-cell pathways often get activated aberrantly in cancers and contribute to aggressive cancer behaviors. Identification of key normal stem cell regulators provides us a framework to understand how breast cancer stem cells are regulated. We are particularly interested in understanding the role of stem-cell factors in regulating metastatic colonization, a rate-limiting step of the metastatic cascade that involves cancer stem cells. In addition, we are interested in how cancer stem cells are regulated by the tumor microenvironment.

Selected Publications

1-    Guo W, Pylayeva Y, Pepe A, Yoshioka T, Muller WJ, Inghirami G, Giancotti FG. (2006) Beta 4 integrin amplifies ErbB2 signaling to promote mammary tumorigenesis. Cell 126: 489-502.

2-    Mani SA*, Guo W*, Liao MJ*, Eaton EN, Ayyanan A, Zhou A, Brooks M, Reinhard F, Zhang CC, Shipitsin M, Campell LL, Polyak K, Brisken C, Yang J, Weinberg RA. (2008) The epithelial-mesenchymal transition generates cells with properties of stem cells. Cell 133: 704-715. (*: equal contribution.)

3-    Guo W, Keckesova Z, DonaherJ, Shibue T, Tischler V, Reinhardt F, Itzkovitz S, Noske A, Zürrer-Härdi U, Bell G, Tam WL, Mani SA, van Oudenaarden A, Weinberg RA. (2012) Slug and Sox9 cooperatively determine the mammary stem cell state. Cell 148: 1015-1028.

4-    Guo W. (2014) Breast cancer stem cells: regulatory networks, stem cell niches, and disease relevance. Stem Cells Translational Medicine 3:942-948.

5-   Zhang Z, Christin JR, Wang C, Ge K, Oktay MH, Guo W. (2016) Mammary-stem-cell-based somatic mouse models reveal breast cancer drivers causing cell fate dysregulation. Cell Reports 16: 3146-3156. 

6-   Wang C, Christin JR, Oktay MH, Guo W. (2017) Lineage-biased stem cells maintain estrogen-receptor-positive and -negative mouse mammary luminal lineages. Cell Reports 18: 2825-2835.

Complete list of publications:  http://tinyurl.com/hdgzeve 

More Information About Dr. Wenjun Guo

Guo Lab at Cell Bio

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Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Michael F. Price Center
1301 Morris Park Avenue , Room 122
Bronx, NY 10461

Tel: 718.678.1276
Fax: 718.678.1018

Research Information