Faculty Profile

Dr. Wenjun Guo, Ph.D.

Wenjun Guo, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Cell Biology

Areas of Research: Breast cancer stem cells, mammary stem cells, mammary development, cellular plasticity, metastasis, therapeutic resistance

Professional Interests

My lab is interested in two interlocking areas of stem cell biology and cancer biology: the molecular pathways that regulate the normal stem-cell fate in the mammary gland, and the role of stem cell fate/pathway dysregulation in breast cancer pathogenesis.

Role of mammary stem cells in cancer initiation

We have developed sensitive and specific in vitro and in vivo mammary stem cell assays. Using these assays, we have identified novel unipotent stem cells that are responsible for the development of distinct mamamry epithelial cell lineages. We are investigating whether these unipotent stem cells are the cell-of-origin for different breast cancer subtypes. In addition, we are elucidating the key cell fate determinants of these distinct stem cells, and investigating oncogenic mechanisms causing the dysregulation of stem cell fates during tumorigenesis.

Function of stem-cell pathways in breast cancer progression and metastasis

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.

7-   Hodge DQ, Cui J, Gamble MJ, Guo W. (2018) Histone variant macroH2A1 plays an isoform-specific role in suppressing epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Scientific Reports 8:841. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-19364-4.


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