Chi Van Dang, M.D., Ph.D.

Chi Van Dang, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Professor
  • Strategic Adviser to the President

The Dang laboratory has contributed to the understanding of the function of the MYC cancer gene, which has emerged as a central transcription factor or gene switch in many different human cancers.  His laboratory established the first mechanistic link between the MYC cancer gene and cellular energy metabolism, contributing to the concept that genetic alterations in cancers re-program fuel utilization by tumors and render cancers addicted to certain fuel sources. His laboratory is now exploiting these concepts for therapeutic targeting of cancer cell metabolism as a new way to treat cancer. Ongoing interests of the Dang lab include MYC oncogene function in rewiring metabolism, the effects of oncogene and hypoxic stress on the circadian molecular clock, MYC oncogene effects on metabolism and immunity and MYC and metabolic vulnerabilities of cancers.

Dang is Scientific Director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and joined The Wistar Institute as a Professor in July of 2017.  He previously served as Director of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, Professor of Medicine, and the John H. Glick Professor.  As Director of the Abramson Cancer Center, he launched a series of Translational Centers of Excellence, which propels teams of scientists, nurses, and clinicians to reach for the cure for various cancers.  He also catalyzed the establishment of the Center for Personalized Diagnostics with Penn’s Department of Pathology and the Basser Research Center for BRCA. His career at Penn started in September 2011 after having been at Johns Hopkins for 24 years on the faculty, where he was the Johns Hopkins Family Professor in Oncology Research and Vice Dean for Research of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  He directed the Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering and was a Professor of Medicine, Pathology, Oncology, and Cell Biology with joint appointment in Molecular Biology and Genetics.

Dang received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Georgetown University, Washington, DC.  He earned an M.D. degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and was an Osler Medical Resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  He received Hematology-Oncology training at UCSF, where he first worked on MYC, and returned to Johns Hopkins as Assistant Professor of Medicine.   

Dang is Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Cancer & Metabolism and serves or served on editorial boards of Cancer Discovery, Cancer Research, Clinical Translational Science, eLIFE, Genes & Cancer, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Neoplasia, and Oncotargets.  He has authored over 200 scientific and medical articles, book chapters and a book. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors, American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and The Association of American Physicians. He was president of the ASCI (2003). He was a member of the White House Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel. He held an NIH/National Cancer Institute MERIT award, received a number of honors, and sponsored and mentored many NIH K08 physician-scientist awardees, Ph.D. doctorates and post-doctoral fellows. 

Selected Publications

1. Rajeshkumar NV, Yabuuchi S, Pai S, De Oliveira E, Kamphorst JJ, Rabinowitz JD, Tejero H, Al-Shahrour F, Hidalgo M, Maitra A, Dang CV. Treatment of pancreatic cancer patient-derived xenograft panel with metabolic inhibitors reveals efficacy of phenformin. Clin Cancer Res. 2017 Jun 13. pii: clincanres.1115.2017. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-17-1115.

2. Altman BJ, Hsieh AL, Gouw AM, Dang CV. Correspondence: Oncogenic MYC persistently upregulates the molecular clock component REV-ERBα. Nat Commun. 2017 Mar 23;8:14862. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14862.

3. Krishnaiah SY, Wu G, Altman BJ, Growe J, Rhoades SD, Coldren F, Venkataraman A, Olarerin-George AO, Francey LJ, Mukherjee S, Girish S, Selby CP, Cal S, Er U, Sianati B, Sengupta A, Anafi RC, Kavakli IH, Sancar A, Baur JA, Dang CV, Hogenesch JB, Weljie AM.  Clock Regulation of Metabolites Reveals Coupling between Transcription and Metabolism. Cell Metab. 2017 Apr 4;25(4):961-974.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.03.019.

4. Altman BJ, Hsieh AL, Sengupta A, Krishnanaiah SY, Stine ZE, Walton ZE, Gouw AM, Venkataraman A, Li B, Goraksha-Hicks P, Diskin SJ, Bellovin DI, Simon MC, Rathmell JC, Lazar MA, Maris JM, Felsher DW, Hogenesch JB, Weljie AM, Dang CV. MYC Disrupts the Circadian Clock and Metabolism in Cancer Cells. Cell Metab. 2015 Dec 1;22(6):1009-19. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.09.003. Epub 2015 Sep 17.

5. Xiang Y, Stine ZE, Xia J, Lu Y, O’Connor RS, Altman BJ, Hsieh AL, Gouw M, Thomas AG, Gao P, Sun L, Song L, Yan B, Slusher BS,, Zhuo J, Ooi LL, Lee CGL, Mancuso A, McCallion AS, Le A, Milone MC, Rayport S, Felsher DW, and Dang CV.  Targeted inhibition of tumor-specific glutaminase diminishes cell-autonomous tumorigenesis. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2015, Jun;125(6):2293-306.

6. Le A, Lane AN, Hamaker M, Bose S, Gouw A, Barbi J, Tsukamoto T, Rojas CJ, Slusher BS, Zhang H, Zimmerman LJ, Liebler DC, Slebos RJ, Lorkiewicz PK, Higashi RM, Fan TW, Dang CV. Glucose-Independent Glutamine Metabolism via TCA Cycling for Proliferation and Survival in B Cells. Cell Metab. 2012 Jan 4;15(1):110-21.

7. Le A, Cooper CR, Gouw AM, Dinavahi R, Maitra A, Deck LM, Royer RE, Vander Jagt DL, Semenza GL, Dang CV. Inhibition of Lactate Dehydrogenase A Induces Oxidative Stress and Inhibits Tumor Progression.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A., 2010, 107(5):2037-42.