Medulloblastoma and glioblastoma are the two common malignant tumors originating in the central nervous system. In addition, brain metastases occur in approximately 30% of patients with systemic malignancies. Despite significant progress in development of treatments for these tumors, the mortality rate is still high. Moreover, patients often suffer from severe long-term side effects from the aggressive treatment. Our research seeks to elucidate genetic/epigenetic mechanisms underlying brain tumor initiation and progression by using animal models, genomic sequencing as well as high-throughput drug screening, with the aim of translating the findings into improved approaches for the treatment of these devastating diseases.

Our ongoing studies address the following questions:

  1. How to treat brain tumors by promoting terminal differentiation of tumor cells?
  2. How cancer cells from extra-cranial malignancies survive and grow in the brain during metastasis?
  3. How to treat brain tumors by de novo synthesis of cisplatin?
  4. What are the mechanisms underlying neuronal regeneration after traumatic brain injury?


Zeng jie Yang

Principal Investigator

Zeng-jie Yang, M.D. PH.D. is a Professor in Nuclear Dynamics and Cancer Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Dr. Yang research interest focuses on cellular and molecular basis underlying the initiation and progression of brain tumors including primary brain tumors and brain metastasis, and exploration of improved therapeutic strategies for brain tumor treatment.

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Lab News

2023 - Congratulations to Allie Heller, who successfully completed her thesis defense today! (04/21/2023)

2023 - Our research has recently got support from National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society. (03/15/2023)

2023 - Boris Yang won the C. David Allis Travel Award from Cancer Epigenetic Institute. He also won the poster award from the 2023 Cancer Epigenetics Institute Annual Symposium From Epigenetics to Disease to Therapeutics. Congratulations, Boris. (03/05/2023)

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PDLIM3 supports hedgehog signaling in medulloblastoma by facilitating ciliary formation
Zhang, J., Yang, Y.J., Li, X.H., Li, G., Mizukami, T., Liu, Y., Wang, Y., Xu, G.Q., Roder, H., Zhang, L., Yang, Z.J.. Cell Death & Differentiation (2023) PDF in press

Generating a mouse model for relapsed SHH-group medulloblastoma
Heller, A., Du, F., Liu, Y., Yang, Y., Yang, Z.J.. STAR Protocols (2023) in press

Nestin is required for spindle assembly and cell cycle progression in glioblastoma cells
Wang, Q.L., Wu, H., Hu, J., Fu, H., Qu, Y.H., Yang, Y.J., Cai, K., Efimov, A., Wu, M.H., Yen, T., Wang, Y., Yang, Z.J.. Molecular Cancer Research 19(10):1651-1665 (2021) PMCID: PMC8492506 PDF