Dean Tang, PhD

Professor of Oncology
Chair, Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Special Interests: 
Stem cell development
Cancer stem cells
Cancer cell heterogeneity
Prostate cancer
Non-coding RNAs and Epigenetics
Experimental therapeutics


Dean Tang, PhD, was trained as a Pathologist and is currently Professor & Chair in Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. He also acts as a Co-Leader of the CCSG Developmental Therapeutics (DT) Program and Director of the Experimental Therapeutics (ET) Graduate Program.  Dean’s Master of Science research (1986-1989), conducted in Dr. Hong-Shen Tian’s laboratory in Wuhan University School of Medicine, focused on establishing lung cancer metastasis models. To continue his research on cancer metastasis, Dean joined Dr. Ken Honn’s lab at Wayne State University (WSU, Detroit, MI, USA) in 1989 to study the roles of integrin receptors and eicosanoids in mediating and regulating tumor cell-extracellular matrix interactions, and tumor cell invasion and dissemination. He obtained his PhD in Cancer Biology in 1994.

In 1998, Dean was awarded a Burroughs-Wellcome Hitchings-Elion post-doctoral fellowship to study oligodendrocyte precursor cell (OPC) development in Dr. Martin Raff’s lab in Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory for Molecular & Cellular Biology (LMCB) of University College London (UCL, UK). Dr. Tang returned to the States in June of 2000 to join as a faculty in Department of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis at the University of Texas M.D Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) till end of May in 2016, when he moved to Roswell Park.

Since 2002, Dean and his colleagues have been applying normal stem cell biology knowledge to elucidate the fundamental biological principles that govern the generation of tumor cell heterogeneity via cancer stem cells (CSCs) and epigenetic mechanisms. By focusing on prostate cancer (PCa), the lab has characterized the biological, molecular, and tumorigenic properties of prostate CSCs (PCSCs). Their recent work has shown that PCa cell heterogeneity, especially heterogeneity in AR expression and status, has a great impact on PCa cell responses to clinical therapies. One line of the lab research has been translated into a phase I/IIb clinical trial (NCT03751436) that treats mCRPC patients with a combination of enzalutamide and the only FDA-approved BCL-2 specific inhibitor Venetoclax.


Education and Training: 
1994 - PhD - Cancer Biology - Wayne State University Medical School, Detroit, MI
1989 - MS - Cancer Biology - Wuhan University School of Medicine, Wuhan, China
Oncological Pathology - Wuhan, China
2000 – Postdoctoral Fellow – MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, London