The Shumei Song Lab

Dr. Shumei Song Lab is investigating cancer biology and molecular cancer biology, specifically with regard to gastrointestinal cancers. The lab has a further focus on upper gastrointestinal malignancies, including those found in the esophageal tract, the GE junction, and gastric cancer initiation, progression, therapy resistance and metastasis.

The lab’s current focus is to understand how aberrant stem cell signaling including Hippo/YAP1, Notch and TGF-β signaling play a role in the pathogenesis of esophageal and gastric cancers and how deregulation of these pathways drives cancer stem cells (CSCs) traits, tumor progression, therapy resistance and even metastasis; and how Hippo/YAP1 and SOXs affect tumor immunosuppressive microenvironments. The lab strives to discover novel targets and immunotherapies by elucidating tumor-immune interactions and tumor microenvironment from patient samples. Dr. Song and her team are working to build the functional translational GI cancer research platforms (PDXs, organoids, stem cells, patient-derived cancer cells and fibroblasts, TMA, etc) for translational and preclinical studies aiming to translate discoveries from the laboratory into new therapies in the clinics.

The team has several research interests:

  • Molecular mechanisms and functional role of Hippo/YAP/TAZ in mediating CSCs traits, therapy resistance and metastases in gastrointestinal cancers: The goal is to understand how upregulation of YAP1 or TAZ, the two coactivators as well as their transcriptional factors (TEAD1-4) in Hippo signaling in GI tumors contribute to CSCs, therapy resistance and metastases.
  • Developing novel therapeutic strategies to target Hippo/YAP/TAZ/TEAD to overcome therapy resistance and metastases by small molecule library screening and drug design; and test their antitumor activities in vitro and in PDXs in vivo models. We believe YAP/TAZ/TEAD inhibitors will be used in combination with chemoradiotherapy and immunotherapy. Our long-term goal is to translate some of these inhibitors into clinical trials.
  • Elucidate HippoYAP/SOXs/CSCs mediated tumor immunosuppressive microenvironment and the interaction among tumor cells, macrophage, cancer associated fibroblast (CAFs) and T cells for novel therapeutic strategies.
  • Exploring novel immune checkpoints from patients derived metastatic cells/tissues and identify the effective target and immune combination therapies using syngenetic and genetic mouse models.
  • Building strong translational GI programs (PDXs, organoids etc) and facilitate novel discoveries from patients’ samples that provide rationale for novel clinical trials.

Join the Team

The Song Lab is actively looking for postdoc and talented scientists who share a passion for cancer biology research, especially related to gastrointestinal cancers. Drop us a line if you're a good fit.