Dr. Yemin Wang is an adjunct professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UBC, and a staff scientist in the Department of Molecular Oncology, BC Cancer. Dr. Wang oversees the animal research core for the OVCARE team. He has led the development of multiple endometrial cancer cell lines, a number of patient-derived xenograft models of ovarian and endometrial cancers, and a conditional knocking mouse model of Dicer1 mutation, the first genetically engineered mouse model for studying the pathogenesis of cancers associated with DICER1 syndrome. Working collaboratively with Dr. David Huntsman, his research has led to the discovery of dual loss of both SWI/SNF ATPases, SMARCA4 and SMARCA2, as a highly sensitive and selective diagnosis tool for ovarian small cell carcinoma hypercalcemic type (SCCOHT), a rare but highly aggressive cancer affecting girls and young women. This study was awarded the 2016 Jeremy Jass Prize for Research Excellence in Pathology. Dr. Wang’s team has also identified epigenetic vulnerabilities in SCCOHT, including EZH2. A clinical trial was triggered to test the potency of tazemetostat, an EZH2 inhibitor, in SCCOHT in part due to this discovery.
Dr. Wang is currently supported by a North Family Health Research Award and operating grants from Canadian Institute of Health Research and Cancer Research Society. His team utilizes functional genomics coupled with multi-omics analysis on cell line, PDX and transgenic mouse models to investigate how genetic mutations in the SWI/SNF complex and others drive the development ovarian and endometrial cancer and to identify actionable targets in these hard-to-treat malignancies.