Faculty Directory

Wenge Zhu

Wenge Zhu

Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

Office Phone: 202-994-3125
Email: Email
Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine


  • BS, Nankai University, 1990
  • PhD, University of Vermont, 2003


Dr. Wenge Zhu is an associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at the George Washington Univesity School of Medicne and Health Science.
Dr. Zhu received his Bachelor of Science in Biology Department at Nankai Univeristy in 1990.  He went to University of Vermont for a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Program in 1998. His thesis focused on DNA replication regulation in yeast. After receiving his Ph.D. degree in 2003, Dr. Zhu started his postdoc training by joining Dr. Anindya Dutta lab at University of Virginina, where his research focuced on the regulation of DNA replication and DNA damage response in cancer cells. During the training at this period, he reported that geminin is key factor to prevent DNA re-replication in human cells and identified a key factor called And-1 that regulats DNA replication in human cells.  In 2007,  he joined Dr. Melvin DePamphilis lab at NIH as a research follow to continue projects on DNA replication regulation. At NIH, for the first time, he established a high throughput screen (HTS) for cells with excess DNA replication and found that depletion of geminin could selectively kill cancer cells.  
In 2009, Dr. Zhu received NIH/NCI Pathway to Independence (PI) Award (K99/R00) and joined GWU as an assistant professor of  the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine in 2010. In 2015, he was promoted to tenured associate professor. His group mainly works on DNA replication, damage response as well as drug resistance in cancer with the funding by  NIH and ACS. He has published 34 papers and filed three patents. In addition to teaching and research work, he has participated in multiple professional service for department and university, as well as the service at both national and international levels. Currently, he is an associate editor for Cancer Medicine and editorial board member of JBC. He also serves as the permanent or Ad hoc members for  multiple study sections of NIH, ACS and NSF of China.  


       1. ACS Research Scholar Grant RSG-13-214-01,  “The role of And-1 in DNA damage repair”
       2. NIH/NCI 1R01CA177898 “ The role of And-1 in DNA damage response”       
       3. NIH/NCI 1R01CA184717  “The Regulation of Cisplatin Resistance in Ovarian Cancer ”


2014            Elaine H. Snyder Cancer Research Award
2013            American Cancer Society Scholar
2009            NIH/NCI Pathway to Independence (PI) Award (K99/R00)
2007            NIH/Ruth Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA, F32)



1.  Molecular Medicine (Bioc 6222)
2. Medical Genomics 
3. Faculty Oncology Research Seminar (MMED8222)
4. Student seminar course (Bioc 227)
5. Fundamentals of Molecular Biology (Bioc 6254)
6. The Basic Science of Oncology (MMED 221)
7. Molecular and Cellular Signaling (Bioc 8231)


Research Interests

DNA replication, DNA damage checkpoint and repair, drug resistance, and identification of small molecules for cancer therapy.

Research Program

Maintenance of genome stability is extremely important in the cell cycle because instable genome is the primary contribution to cancer formation. Cells have evolved multiple mechanisms to prevent genomic instability during genome duplication, including DNA damage checkpoint, DNA damage repair, regulation of DNA replication, etc. The objective of our research is to investigate the mechanisms of how our cells maintain the stability of their genome and to utilize this information to identify new drugs for cancer treatment.

To accomplish this goal, we are conducting following research work. (1) Investigate the mechanisms of how cells response to DNA damage and repair damaged DNA. (2) Investigate the mechanisms of anti-cancer drug resistance to improve cancer treatment. (3) Investigate how cells prevent DNA re-replication (one type of genomic stability) in both normal and cancer cells. (4) Identify small molecules through HTS for cancer therapy. 


Centers and Institutes

GWU Cancer Center


  • GW Cancer Center


View publications by this faculty member from January 1, 2013 - present

Dai S, Yang S, Hu X, Sun W, Tawa G, Zhu W, Schimmer AD, He C, Fang B, Zhu H, and Zheng W. 17-hydroxy wortmannin restores TRAIL's response by ameliorating increased beclin 1 level and autophagy function in TRAIL resistant colon cancer cells. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. 2019; in press. PMID: 31092562 Link

Li Z, Zhou W, Zhang Y, Sun W, Yung MM, Sun J, Li J, Chen C, Li Z, Meng Y, Chai J, Zhou Y, Liu S, Cheung AN, NgaN HY, Chan DW, Zhenn W, and Zhu W. ERK regulates HIF-1?-mediated platinum resistance by directly targeting PHD2 in ovarian cancer. Clinical Cancer Research; 2019; in press.

Zhang Y, Li Z, Hao Q, Tan W, Sun J, Li J, Chen C, Li Z, Meng Y, Zhou Y, Han Z, Pei H, DePamphilis M, Zhu W. The Cdk2-c-Myc-miR-571 Axis Regulates DNA Replication and Genomic Stability by Targeting Geminin. Cancer Research; 2019; in press.

Peng Y, Liao Q, Tan W , Peng C, Li Z, Li j, Zhu W, He F, Pei H. The deubiquitylating enzyme USP15 regulates homologous recombination repair and cellular response to PARP inhibitors. Nature Communications. 2018; in press. PMID: 30874560  Link

Tian T,  Wang, M, Zhu Y, Zhu W, Yang T, Li H, Lin S, Dai C, Deng Y, Song D, Li N, Zhai Z, Dai Z. Expression, Clinical Significance, and Functional Prediction of MNX1 in Breast Cancer. Mol. Ther. Nucleic Acids. 2018; 13: 399-406. PMID: 30368216 Link

Sima N, Sun W, Gorshkov K, Shen M, Huang W, Zhu W, Xie X, Zheng W, Cheng X. Small molecules identified from a quantitative drug combinational screenresensitize cisplatin's response in drug-resistant ovarian cancer cells. Transl Oncol. 2018; 11: 1053-1064. PMID: 29982103 Link

Chen D, Li Y, Zhou W, Li Z, Liu SS, DePamphilis ML, Yan Y, Zhu W. DHS (Trans-4,4'-Dihydroxystilbene) suppresses DNA replication and tumor growth by inhibiting RRM2 (Ribonucleotide Reductase Regulatory Subunit M2). Oncogene. 2018; in press. PMID: 30518875 Link

Tian T, Wang M, S Lin, Y Guo, Z Dai, K Liu, P Yang, C Dai, Y Zhu, Y Zheng, P Xu, Zhu W (co-corresponding), Dai Z. The Impact of lncRNA Dysregulation on Clinicopathology and Survival of Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.  Mol Ther Nucleic Acids. 2018; 12: 359–369. PMID: 30195774 Link

Tian T, Wang M, Zheng Y, Yang T, Zhu W, Li H, Lin S, Liu K, Xu P, Deng Y, Zhou L, Dai Z.  Association of two FOXP3 polymorphisms with breast cancer susceptibility in Chinese Han women. Cancer Management and Research. 2018; 10: 867–872. PMID: 29731666 Link

Sun J, Cai X, Yung MMH, Zhou W, Li J, Zhang Y, Li Z, Liu SS, Cheung ANY, Ngan  HYS, Li Y, Dai Z, Kai Y, Tzatsos A, Peng W, Chan DW, Zhu W.  miR-137 mediates the functional link between c-Myc and EZH2 that regulates cisplatin resistance in ovarian cancer. Oncogene. In press, 2018 PMID: 30166592 Link

Zhou W, Sun W, Yung MMH, Dai S, Cai Y, Chen CW, Meng Y, Lee JB, Braisted JC, Xu Y, Southall NT, Shinn P, Huang X, Song Z, Chen X, Kai Y, Cai X, Li Z, Hao Q, Cheung ANY, Ngan HYS, Liu SS, Barak S, Hao J, Dai Z, Tzatsos A, Peng W, Pei H, Han Z, Chan DW, Zheng W, Zhu W. Autocrine activation of JAK2 by IL-11 promotes platinum drug resistance. Oncogene. 2018; 37(29):3981-3997 PMID: 29662190 Link

Meng Y, Chen CW, Yung MMH, Sun W, Sun J, Li Z, Li J, Li Z, Zhou W, Liu SS, Cheung ANY, Ngan HYS, Braisted JC, Kai Y, Peng W, Tzatsos A, Li Y, Dai Z, Zheng W, Chan DW, Zhu W. DUOXA1-mediated ROS production promotes cisplatin resistance by activating ATR-Chk1 pathway in ovarian cancer. Cancer letters. 2018; 428: 04-116 PMID: 29704517 Link

Wang M, Tian T, Ma X, Zhu W, Guo Y, Duan Z, Fan J, Lin S, Liu K, Zheng Y, Sheng Q, Dai Z. Peng H. Genetic polymorphisms in caveolin1 associate with breast cancer risk in Chinese Hanpopulation. Oncotarget. 2017; 8(53):91654-91661. PMID: 29207674 Link

Dai ZJ, Liu XH, Wang M, Guo Y, Zhu W, Li X, Lin S, Tian T, Liu K, Zheng Y, Xu P, Jin T, Li X. IL-18 polymorphisms contribute to hepatitis B virus-related cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma susceptibility in Chinese population: a case-control study. Oncotarget. 2017; 8 (46):81350-81360. PMID: 29113394 Link

Tian T, Wang M, Zhu W, Dai ZM, Lin S, Yang PT, Liu XH, Liu K, Zhu YY, Zheng Y, Liu M, Dai ZJ. MiR-146a and miR-196a-2 polymorphisms are associated with hepatitis virus-related hepatocellular cancer risk: a meta-analysis. Aging. 2017; 9:381-392. PMID: 28148887 Link

Li Y, Li Z, Wu R, Han Z, Zhu W. And-1 is required for homologous recombination repair by regulating DNA end resection. Nucleic Acids Res. 2017; 45:2531-2545, PMID: 27940557 Link

Lin S, Wang M, Liu X, Zhu W, Guo Y, Dai Z, Yang P, Tian T, Dai C, Zheng Y, Hu C, Wei L, Dai Z. Association of genetic polymorphisms in MIF with breast cancer risk in Chinese women. Clin Exp Med. 2016 Nov 14. PMID: 27844180 Link

Vassilev A, Lee CY, Vassilev B, Zhu W, Ormanoglu P, Martin SE, DePamphilis ML. Identification of genes that are essential to restrict genome duplication to once per cell division. Oncotarget. 2016 Jun 7; 7(23):34956-76. PMID: 27144335 Link

Gao L, D Li, C Jing, X Jia, T Xu, X Sun, W Zhang, S Wu, M Dong, M Deng, Y Chen, W Zhu, J Peng, F Wan, Y Zhou, L Zon, W Pan. TopBP1 Governs Hematopoietic Stem/Progenitor Cells Survival in Zebrafish Definitive Hematopoiesis. PLoS Genet. In press. 2015

Hao J., C. de Renty, Y. Li, H. Xiao, M.Kemp, Z.Han, M. DePamphilis, W. Zhu. And-1 coordinates with Claspin for efficient Chk1 activation in response to replication stress. EMBO J. Jun 16. pii: e201488016. [Epub ahead of print]. 2015

Jaramillo-Lambert A, Hao J, Xiao H, Li Y, Han Z, Zhu W. (2012). Acidic nucleoplasmic DNA-binding protein (And-1) controls chromosome congression by regulating the assembly of CENP-A at centromeres. J Biol Chem. 288(3): 1480-8, 2013.

Li, Y, Xiao H, de Renty C, Jaramillo-Lambert A, Han Z, Depamphilis ML, Brown CJ, W. Zhu. The involvement of acidic nucleoplasmic DNA-binding protein (And-1) in the regulation of pre-replicative complex (pre-RC) assembly in human Cells. J Biol Chem. 287(51):42469-79, 2012

Li, Y., A. N. Jaramillo-Lambert, Y. Yang, R. Williams, N. H. Lee, and W. Zhu. And-1 is required for the stability of histone acetyltransferase Gcn5. Oncogene. 31: 643-52, 2012.

Lee, C., R. L. Johnson, J. Wichterman-Kouznetsova, R. Guha, M. Ferrer, P.Tuzmen, S. E. Martin, W. Zhu (co-corresponding), M. L. DePamphilis. High-throughput screening for genes that prevent excess DNA replication in human cells and for molecules that inhibit them. Methods. 57: 234-78, 2012.

Li, Y., A. N. Jaramillo-Lambert, J. Hao, Y. Yang, and W. Zhu. (2011). The stability of histone acetyltransferase Generalcontrol non-derepressible (Gcn) 5 is regulated by Cullin4-RING E3 ubiquitin ligase. J Biol Chem. 286: 41344-52, 2011.

Zhu W, Lee C, Johnson R, Wichterman J, Huang R, DePamphilis M. An image-based, high-throughput screening assay for molecules that induce excess DNA replication in human cancer cells. Mol Cancer Res. 9: 294-310, 2011.

Zhu W and DePamphilis M. Selective killing of cancer cells by suppression of geminin activity. Cancer Research 69: 4870-4877, 2009.

Zhu W, Ukomadu C, Senga S, Dhar D., Wohlschlegel J., Kornbluth S. and Dutta A. Mcm10 and And-1/CTF4 recruit DNA polymerase a to chromatin for initiation of DNA Replication. Genes & Development. 21: 2288-2299, 2007.

Zhu W, and Dutta A. An ATR, BRCA1 mediated FA pathway is required for activating the G2/M checkpoint and DNA damage repair upon rereplication. Mol. Cell. Biol. 26: 4601-4611, 2006.

Zhu, W., and A. Dutta. Activation of fanconi anemia pathway in cells with re- replicated DNA. Cell Cycle 5:2306-2309, 2006.

Zhu, W., T. Abbas, and A. Dutta. DNA replication and genomic instability. Adv Exp Med Biol 570:249-279, 2005.

Zhu W, Chen Y and Anindya D. Re-replication by depletion of geminin is seen regardless of p53 status and activates a G2/M checkpoint. Mol. Cell. Biol. 24: 7140-7150, 2004.

Additional publications published before January 1, 2013 may be available within Himmelfarb Library's database.

Industry Relationships and Collaborations

This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has reported a financial interest with the health care related companies listed below. These relations have been reported to the University and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts.

  • None