Christopher Wang, PhD
I recently joined the faculty of Ambrose University in Fall 2017. I was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, and received my high school educations in Buenos Aires, Argentina. My interest in cellular and molecular biology stemmed from two fascinating electron microscopy courses taken at the University of Lethbridge during my undergraduate studies. When I was a graduate student at the University of Calgary, I was working on gaining better understanding of the mechanisms that control cell division cycle using the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, and human tissue culture cells. Subsequently, I moved to the University of Minnesota for a brief one year post-doctoral fellowship to study the centrosome replication in mammalian cells. Currently, I am interested in understanding how stem cells maintain a proper balance between proliferation and differentiation using the germ line of free-living nematodes, Caenorhabditis elegans, and the human tissue culture cells as models.
In the past three years, I have taught a variety of non-major and major biology courses by incorporating a combination of learner-centered, active learning, and team-based learning pedagogies to facilitate students’ learning. My ultimate goal is to make each lecture a positive learning experience with the hope that all students would have successful classroom experiences, and are able to apply the obtained knowledge and skills to their future endeavors.
Stem cells have the capacity to divide indefinitely into progeny cells that can continue as stem cells (i.e. self-renewal/proliferation) or differentiate into more specialized cells. Excessive stem cell proliferation may lead to tumour formation, whereas over differentiation could result in developmental defects. Therefore, an appropriate balance between proliferation and differentiation decision must be maintained in order for stem cells to function properly. The highly conserved GLP-1/Notch signaling pathway is a key regulator in governing this balance in many metazoans.
Since its establishment as a model organism, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has become an invaluable tool for biological and medical researches due to its short life cycle and simple anatomy, easiness and in expensive for maintaining and culturing, and tractability for forward and reverse genetics. My research interests is focused on understanding the molecular controls that modulate a proper balance between proliferation and differentiation decision using the germ line of C. elegans as a model. The C. elegans germ line is a polar tissue with distal cells dividing mitotically to form a population of proliferative germline stem cells, while more proximal cells enter meiosis and differentiate into sperm and oocytes. Results from genetic studies indicate that the GLP-1/Notch signaling pathway promotes mitotic proliferation of distal germ cells by antagonizing two redundant pathways that promote differentiation.
In our studies, we have found that the teg-1 (tumour enhancer of glp-1(gf)) gene plays a crucial role in regulating germline development in C. elegans. TEG-1-related proteins are found from yeast to humans and their functions remain to be elucidated. We have reported the isolation of C. elegans teg-1 mutants from genetic screens designed to identify mutations that enhance the tumorous germ line phenotype of a weak glp-1 gain-of-function allele (Wang et. al., 2012). We also found that TEG-1 and its human ortholog, CD2BP2, interacts with splicing factors. Intriguingly, results from our recent studies also suggest that TEG-1 CD2BP2 is involved in regulating the abundance of small, non-coding microRNAs by maintaining the stability of microRNA-induced silencing complex (Wang et. al., 2017). Currently, we are working on gaining insights into how TEG-1 regulates germline development via controlling microRNA abundance.
RECENT CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS
- R. Singh, X. Wang, C. Wang, T. Sutton, K. Kowalchuck, H. Racher and D. Hansen. Derlin proteins promote Notch Signaling in the C. elegans germ line. 21th International C. elegans meeting. University of California Los Angeles. Los Angeles, CA. June 21-25, 2017. Abstract # 388C.
- K. Vanden Broek, P. Gupta, C. Wang, and D. Hansen. Regulation of germline stem cell proliferation by MRG-1 in C. elegans. 21th International C. elegans meeting. University of California Los Angeles. Los Angeles, CA. June 21-25, 2017. Abstract # 393B.
- P. GUPTA, L. LEAHUL, C. WANG, X. WANG, D. HANSEN. MRG-1 and RFP-1 regulate proliferation in the germline. 20th International C. elegans meeting. University of California Los Angeles. Los Angeles, CA. June 24-28, 2015. Abstract # 846B.
- Chris Wang, Pratyush Gupta, Gabriel Bossé, Xin Wang, Martin Simard, and Dave Hansen. TEG-1 CD2BP2 regulates miRNA levels via maintaining miRISC stability in C. elegans and human cells. 20th International C. elegans meeting. University of California Los Angeles. Los Angeles, CA. June 24-28, 2015. Abstract # 1108C.
- Chris Wang and Dave Hansen. TEG-1 regulates the stability of miRISC components and the levels of miRNAs. 19th International C. elegans meeting. University of California Los Angeles. Los Angeles, CA. June 26-30, 2013. Abstract # 1045C.
- Chris Wang and Dave Hansen. C. elegans TEG-1 regulates germline stem cell proliferation by interacting with the UAF-1 splicing factor and VIG-1 miRNA component. 6th Canadian Developmental Biology Conference. Banff, AB. Mar 8-11, 2012. The poster had won a poster award.
- Chris Wang and Dave Hansen. A novel role of C. elegans TEG-1 in regulating levels of the microRNA RISC component, VIG-1. Germ Cells Meeting. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY. Oct 2-6, 2012.
- Chris Wang and Dave Hansen. Identifying TEG-1 interacting proteins that are involved in germline development. 18th International C. elegans meeting. University of California Los Angeles. Los Angeles, CA. June 22-26, 2011. Abstract # 867A.
- Chris Wang, Laura Wilson-Berry, Tim Schedl, and Dave Hansen. TEG-1, a C. elegans homolog of human CD2BP2, functions in germline proliferation. Genetics 2010: Model Organisms to Human Biology meeting. Boston, MA. June 12-15, 2010. Abstract # 20127.
- Christopher L.C. Wang, Lina, Zhao, Laura Wilson-Berry, Tim Schedl, and Dave Hansen. Characterization of TEG-1 in C. elegans germ line. 17th International C. elegans meeting. University of California Los Angeles. Los Angeles, CA. June 24-28, 2009. Abstract # 770B.
- Ryoko Kuriyama, Jon Pines, Kyung Lee, and Christopher L.C. Wang. Centrosome eplication in Hydroxyurea-arrested CHO Cells Expressing GFP-tagged Centrin. The American Society for Cell Biology 46th Annual Meeting. San Diego, CA. December 9-13, 2006. Abstract # 962.
- Christopher L.C. Wang, J.B. Rattner, Manfred J. Lohka. (2004). A human-Mob1-related protein and HsLats1p Play Different Roles During Mitosis. The American Society for Cell Biology 2004 Summer Meeting on Cytokinesis. University of Vermont, Burlington, VT. July 22-25, 2004. Abstract # 25.
- Christopher L.C. Wang, Young Ou, Xuchu Wu, Teresa Scheidl-Yee, Frank F.C. Luca, J.B. Rattner, and Manfred J. Lohka, (2000). Mob1p-related proteins are centrosomal components in vertebrates cells. The American Society for Cell Biology 40th Annual Meeting. San Francisco, CA. December 9-13, 2000. Abstract # 1057.