Shou-Jiang (SJ) Gao, Ph.D.

  • Professor
  • UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Microbiology, University of Bordeaux, France, 1993
  • M.Sc., Biochemistry, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, China, 1987
  • B.S., Agronomy, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, China, 1984

Research Interest Summary

Molecular Mechanism of Viral Oncogenesis

Research Categories

Research Interests

The main research area in Dr. Gao’s laboratory has been on viral oncogenesis with current focus on Kaposi’s sarcoma-associate herpesvirus (KSHV) and AIDS-related malignancies. The lab has been engaging in a multidisciplinary effort and expanding the research program into translational and cancer therapeutics, cancer metabolism, microbiota, inflammation, angiogenesis, innate immunity, and microRNAs. The lab has applied state-of-art approaches and technologies in genomics, epigenetics, RNA epigenetics, metabolomics, high-throughput genomic screening, high-throughput drug screening, and systems biology to tackle these forefront biomedical issues. In particular, the lab has recently invested in drug screening and discovery as a result of the identification of new therapeutic targets and development of new model systems for infections and cancers. Dr. Gao’s laboratory is well supported by extramural funding. There are currently 6 active R01s and 1 Sub-project of an active PPG. Here are some of the ongoing research directions and projects: 

1.    Drug screening and discovery: The lab has developed several cancer and infection models, and used them in Crispr-Cas9 mediated genome-wide screening and drug screening. The lab has already identified numerous new targets and agents, which have been shown to be effective in both in vitro and in vivo models.

2.    Systems biology: The lab has been engaging in works in epigenetics, RNA epigenetics and metabolomics in cancer and infections.

3.    Infections, inflammation and innate immunity: The lab continues to study microRNAs, inflammation, angiogenesis, innate immunity and infections.

Representative Publications

Graffaz M, Zhou SH, Vasan K, Rushing T, Michael QL, Lu C, Jung JU, Gao S-J. Repurposing cytarabine for treating primary effusion lymphoma by targeting KSHV latent and lytic replications. mBio, 2018, 9: e00756-18.

Tan B, Liu H, da Silva SR, Yuan HF, Sorel O, Zhang L, Meng J, Huang YF, Gao SJ. Viral and cellular N6-methyladenosine and N6,2'-O-dimethyladenosine epitranscriptomes in the KSHV life cycle. Nature Microbiology, 2018, 3:108-120

Graffaz M, Vasan K, Tan B, da Silva SR, Gao SJ. TLR4-mediated inflammation promotes KSHV-induced cellular transformation and tumorigenesis by activating the STAT3 pathway. Cancer Research, 2017, 77:7094-7108.

Zhu Y, Li TT, da Silva SR, Jae-Jin Lee, Lu C, Hyungjin Eoh, Jung JU, Gao SJ. A critical role of glutamine and asparagine γ-nitrogen for nucleotide biosynthesis in cancer cells hijacked by an oncogenic virus. mBio, 2017, 8. pii: e01179-17. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01179-17.

Zhu Y, da Silva SR, Liang QM, Lu C, Feng PH, Jung JU, Gao SJ. Suppression of glycolysis by KSHV promotes cell survival and oncogenic transformation. PLoS Pathogens, 2016, 12: e1005648.

Lee MS, Jones T, Song DY, Jang JH, Jung JU, Gao S-J. Exploitation of complement system by oncogenic Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus for cell survival and persistent infection. PLoS Pathogens, 2014, 10: e1004412.

Moody R, Zhu Y, Huang YF, Cui XD, Jones T, Bedolla R, Lei XF, Bai ZQ, Gao S-J. KSHV microRNAs mediate cellular transformation and tumorigenesis by redundantly targeting cell growth and survival pathways. PLoS Pathogens, 2013, 9: e1003857.

Greene W, Zhang W, He ML, Witt C, Ye FC and Gao S-J. The ubiquitin/proteasome system regulates Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus entry into endothelial cells. PLoS Pathogens, 2012, 8: e1002703.

Jones T, Ye FC, Bedolla RG, Huang YF, Meng J, Qian LW, Pan HY, Zhou FC, Moody R, Wagner, B, Arar M and Gao S-J. Direct efficient cellular transformation of primary rat metanephric mesenchymal cells by KSHV. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2012, 122, 1076-1081.

Lei XF, Bai ZQ, Ye FC, Xie JP, Kim CG, Huang YF and Gao S-J. Regulation of NF-kB inhibitor IkBa and viral replication by a KSHV microRNA. Nature Cell Biology, 2010, 12, 193-199.

Full List of Publications