exterior of cancer center

Internationally renowned cancer researcher joins cancer center’s leadership team


Xiao-Jing Wang joined the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center today, May 25, 2022, as chief science officer. She will also be associate director for basic science, the leadership role previously held by  Luis Carvajal-Carmona who was recently appointed the cancer center’s inaugural chief diversity officer and director of the new Center for Advancing Cancer Health Equity.

Xiao-Jing Wang headshot
Xiao-Jing Wang is the cancer center’s new chief science officer and associate director for basic science.

Wang comes to UC Davis from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus where she was a tenured full professor, holding joint appointments in the departments of pathology, dermatology, otolaryngology, radiation oncology and craniofacial biology. She was also the John. S. Gates Endowed Chair of Cancer Stem Cell  Biology, as well as the founding director of Head and Neck Cancer Research Program, the director of T32 Training Program of Lung, Head and Neck Cancer, and co-director of the Colorado Head and Neck SPORE Program. The program advances translational research to improve survival and quality of life for head and neck cancer patients.

“Our research innovations and areas will broaden significantly with our appointment of Dr. Wang,” said UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Primo “Lucky” Lara Jr.  “She brings to UC Davis not only a portion of the Head and Neck SPORE funding, but true programmatic collaborations, as well with its exciting advancements of science leading to novel therapies for multiple cancer types.”

The Wang Lab uses both mouse models and human cancer specimens for cross-species comparisons. The Lab is especially focused on the role of tumor microenvironments in cancer progression and metastasis, and the properties of cancer stem cells. It also explores the mechanism of immune evasion of cancer and cancer immunotherapy.

“UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center’s reputation as a research institution is growing internationally and I’m humbled to join the institution at its rapidly growing phase with my significant efforts in developing team science, clinical translation, training/mentoring and innovation,” Wang said.

Wang obtained her medical degree and doctorate in neuroscience from Beijing Medical University in China and completed her postdoctoral education at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Her independent research career started at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston as a tenured associate professor, then moved to Oregon Health & Science University as a tenured full professor before joining University of Colorado.

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 100,000 adults and children every year and access to more than 200 active clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program engages more than 240 scientists at UC Davis who work collaboratively to advance discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Patients have access to leading-edge care, including immunotherapy and other targeted treatments. Its Office of Community Outreach and Engagement addresses disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations, and the cancer center provides comprehensive education and workforce development programs for the next generation of clinicians and scientists. For more information, visit cancer.ucdavis.edu.

Clinical Trials at UC Davis