- Fellowship in 2022 at Harvard Medical School
About Dr Peng Wang’s work
Dr Peng Wang studies the metabolic limitations of tumor immunotherapy. T cells migrate and infiltrate into tumours, where they function as cytotoxic cells to recognize and eliminate tumor cells as part of the host defence. However, the tumor microenvironment (TME) is usually nutrient-deprived due to the cancer cells’ high demand for nutrients to feed their intense growth. Nutrient depletion in the TME results in the compromised anti-tumor activity of T cells, compromising not just host immunity but also impairing the efficacy of existing cancer immunotherapies.
Investigating how T cells overcome nutrient limitations in the TME is critical to improving existing therapies. Dr Wang’s hypothesis is that the essential vitamin folate is a limiting nutrient in the TME that impairs the anti-tumor functions of T cells. Investigating the survival pathways required by folate-deprived T cells will reveal ways to augment cancer immunotherapies.
Dr Wang is applying advanced genetic and biochemical methods to reveal what genes are required for T cell survival in low folate, and study the mechanism by which folate deprivation compromises T cell function via protein glycosylation. This research will provide clinical implications of nutritional or pharmacological therapies that can enhance tumor immunity by rescuing the anti-tumor function of folate-deprived T cells.
Dr Peng Wang is a postdoctoral research fellow affiliated to both the Pathology Department, Children's Boston Hospital, and Harvard Medical School. He did his PhD in Life Science at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, where he also earned an MPhil and a BSc.