64881-Shen, Jia

Jia Shen, PhD, MS

Assistant Professor of Medical & Molecular Genetics

Biology Building 106
Bloomington, IN


Dr. Shen earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2014, where he focused on cancer mechanistic study and drug screens. He then worked as a drug development scientist at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Shen pursued postdoctoral training at the NCI-Designated Cancer Center at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, California, with a focus on functional genomics and targeting tumor-intrinsic mechanisms to augment cancer immunotherapy responses. In 2020, he was promoted to a Staff Scientist position at the Cancer Center, where his research delved into the crosstalk of cancer stem cells and the tumor immune microenvironment. In 2023, Dr. Shen joined the IU School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics and the Medical Sciences Program. His laboratory utilizes various patient-derived samples and employs a combination of bioinformatic and experimental techniques, including functional genomics, single-cell and spatial omics, mouse models, and drug screens, to unveil the mechanisms of cancer stem cell maintenance and resistance to immunosurveillance, with the goal of developing cancer stem cell-based targeted therapies and immunotherapies for brain and other cancers.

Lab: https://sites.google.com/view/shen-laboratory/welcome 

Key Publications

Selected Publications (*Contributed equally):

  • Shen JZ*, Qiu Z*, Wu Q, Finlay D, Garcia G, Sun D, Rantala J, Barshop W, Hope JL, Gimple RC, Sangfelt O, Bradley LM, Wohlschlegel J, Rich JN, Spruck C (2021). FBXO44 promotes DNA replication-coupled repetitive element silencing in cancer cells. Cell 184:352-369. (Highlighted by Cancer Discovery 2021,11: 531.)
  • Qiu Z*, Zhao L*, Shen JZ*, Liang Z, Wu Q, Yang K, Min L, Gimple RC, Yang Q, Bhargava S, Jin C, Kim C, Hinz D, Dixit D, Bernatchez JA, Prager BC, Zhang G, Dong Z, Lv D, Wang X, Kim LJY, Zhu Z, Jones KA, Zheng Y, Siqueira-Neto JL, Chavez L, Fu X, Spruck C, Rich JN (2022). Transcription elongation machinery is a druggable dependency and potentiates immunotherapy in glioblastoma stem cells. Cancer Discovery 12:502-521.
  • Shen J*, Sheng X*, Chang ZN*, Wu Q, Wang S, Xuan Z, Li D, Wu Y, Shang Y, Kong X, Yu L, Ruan K, Hu H, Huang Y, Hui L, Xie D, Wang F, Hu R (2014). Iron metabolism regulates p53 signaling through direct heme-p53 interaction and modulating localization, stability and function of p53. Cell Reports 7:1-14. (Highlighted by Cell Chemical Biology 2014, 21: 431-432.)
  • Shen J*, Zhang T*, Cheng Z, Zhu N, Wang H, Lin L, Wang Z, Yi H, Hu M (2018). Lycorine inhibits glioblastoma multiforme growth through EGFR suppression. Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 37:157.
  • Shen J*, Song G*, An M, Li X, Wu N, Ruan K, Hu J, Hu R (2014). The use of hollow mesoporous silica nanospheres to encapsulate bortezomib and improve efficacy for non-small cell lung cancer therapy. Biomaterials 1: 316-26.

Titles & Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Medical & Molecular Genetics
  • Education
    2014 PhD Chinese Academy of Sciences
    2011 MS East China Normal University
    2008 BS Zhejiang Sci-Tech University
  • Research

    Research interests in Dr. Shen’s laboratory (brain and other cancers):

    • Functional genomics to identify key regulators controlling cancer stem cell maintenance and immune evasion.
    • Single-cell and spatial omics to understand the complexity of crosstalk between cancer stem cells and tumor immune microenvironment.
    • Utilizing T cells, NK cells, and macrophages to target cancer stem cells and developing CAR-T and CAR-NK immunotherapies.
    • Interrogating the synergistic effects of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted therapy, tumor-treating fields (TTFields) therapy, and immunotherapy (e.g., anti-PD1) on eradicating cancer stem cells.
    • Exploring differentiation therapy as a potential approach for cancer stem cell-targeted therapy.
    • Conducting drug screens to discover small molecules that can effectively target cancer stem cells and have the potential for translation into clinical applications.
    • Investigating aging-associated cancer stem cell behavioral alterations.
  • Professional Organizations
    American Aging Association
    American Association Cancer Research
    American Association of Immunologist

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