The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases

 Dachun Wang, M.D.

Dachun Wang, M.D.

Assistant Professor, Center for Immunology and Autoimmune Disease


Dachun Wang received his M.D. degree from Fujian University of Medical Sciences and graduate training at Sun Yat-Sen University of Medical Sciences and Institute of Forensic Sciences of Justice Department in China, where he focused on the study of wound-healing responses to tissue injury.

Dachun Wang pursued his postdoctoral training in the Laboratories of Dr. Maximilian L. Buja and Dr. Steven J. Norris in the Department of Pathology, UT Medical School at Houston and then obtained further postdoctoral training on genetic manipulation of ES cells in Dr. Rick A. Wetsel’s Laboratory in the Research Center for Immunology and Autoimmune Diseases from 2003, where he was subsequently promoted to Research Scientist in 2005 and then to Instructor in 2008.

Dachun Wang’s research projects are focusing on 1) to direct human embryonic stem (hES) cell differentiation into pure populations of lung resident stem cells/progenitors, such as alveolar type II (ATII) epithelial cells and lower airway Clara cells, by genetic selection, and 2) to generate a universal donor human embryonic stem cell line to provide a transplantable cell source for cell based therapy or tissue regeneration without causing draft rejection by recipient immune system. A pure population of AT II cells derived from human embryonic stem cell has been successfully generated. These cells possess the potential to proliferate, give rise to colonies and differentiate into alveolar type I (AT I) epithelial cells in vitro and hold promise to be a practical transplantable source to replace defective or damaged alveolar epithelium in future, such as therapeutic treatment of surfactant protein deficiencies and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Bleomycin induced mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis is being utilized to investigate the therapeutic potential of the hES cell derived AT II cells.


  • Yuan Quan and Wang D. invited review: Clinical potentials of human pluripotent stem cells. Clinical and Translational Medicine. 2014, 3:15  doi:10.1186/2001-1326-3-15.
  •  Yan Q.*, Quan Y.*, Sun H., Peng X., Zou Z., Alcorn J.L., Wetsel R.A., and Wang D. A site-specific genetic modification for induction of pluripotency and subsequent isolation of derived lung alveolar epithelial type II cells. STEM CELLS.  2014 Feb;32(2):402-13. *co-first author.
  • Sun H.*, Quan Y.*, Yan Q., Peng X., Mao Z., Wetsel R.A., and Wang D. Isolation and characterization of alveolar epithelial type II cells derived from mouse embryonic stem cells. TISSUE ENGINEERING. 2014 Jun;20(6):464-72. *co-first author.
  • Wetsel RA. Wang D and Calame DG. Therapeutic Potential of Lung Epithelial Progenitor Cells Derived from Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. Annu. Rev. Med. 2011. 62:30.1-30.11 
  • Wang D., Morales J.E., Calame D.G., Alcorn J.L., and Wetsel R.A. Transplantation of Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Alveolar Epithelial Type II Cells Abrogates Acute Lung Injury in Mice. Molecular Therapy. 2010 Mar;18(3):625-34.
  • Mueller-Ortiz SL, Wang D., Morales JE, Li L, Chang JY, Wetsel RA. Targeted disruption of the gene encoding the murine small subunit of carboxypeptidase N (CPN1) causes susceptibility to C5a anaphylatoxin-mediated shock. J Immunol. 2009; 182: 6533-6539.
  • Wang D, Haviland DL, Burns AR, Zsigmond E, Wetsel RA.  A pure population of lung alveolar epithelial type II cells derived from human embryonic stem cells.  Proc Natl Acad Sci 2007; 104: 4449-4454.
  • Zhang S., Wang D., Estrov Z., Raj S., Willerson JT, and Yeh ET. Both Cell Fusion and Transdifferentiation  Account for the Transformation of Human Peripheral Blood CD34-Positive Cells Into Cardiac myocytes In Vivo. Circulation. 2004; 110: 3803-3807.
  • Cheng J. Wang D. Wang Z and Yeh ET.  SENP1 enhances androgen receptor-dependent transcription through desumoylation of histone deacetylase 1. Mol Cell Biol. 2004; 24: 6021-6028.
  • Wang D, Botkin DJ, Norris SJ.  Characterization of the vls antigenic variation loci of the Lyme disease spirochaetes Borrelia garinii Ip90 and Borrelia afzelii ACAI. Mol Microbiol. 2003; 47: 1407-1417.
  • Brick RJ, Wood DE, Pointdexter B, McMillin JB, Karoly A, Wang D, Bunting R, McCann T, Law GJ, Buja LM. Cytokines increase neonatal cardiac mycocyte calcium concentrations: the involvement of nitric oxide and cyclic nucleotides. J. Interferon Cytokine Res. 1999; 19: 645-653.
  • Wang D. Harrison W. Buja LM. Elder FB. McMillin JB. Genomic DNA Sequence, Promoter Expression, and Chromosomal Mapping of Rat Muscle Canitine Palmitoyltranferase I. Genomics. 1998; 48: 314-323.
  • Wang D, Xia Y. Buja LM, McMillin JB. The Liver Isoform of Carnitine Palmitoyltransferase I is Activitied in Neonatal Rat Cardiac Mycocytes by Hypoxia. Molecular and Cellular Biochem. 1998; 180: 163-170.
  • Wang D, McMillin JB, Bick R, Buja LM. Response of the neonatal rat cardiomyocyte in culture to energy depletion: effects of cytokines, nitric oxide, and heat shock proteins. Lab Invest. 1996; 75: 809-818.
  • Hudson EK, Wang D, Bieber LL, Buja LM, McMillin JB. Increased carnitine palmitoyltransferase in cardiac myocytes is mediated by insulin growth factor I. Am J Physiol. 1996; 271: H422-427.
  • Wang D,  Buja LM, McMillin JB. Acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase activity in neonatal rat cardiac myocytes in culture: citrate dependence and effects of hypoxia. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1996; 325: 249-255.
  • McMillin JB, Wang D, Witters LA, Buja LM. Kinetic properties of carnitine palmitoyltransferase I in cultured neonatal rat cardiac myocytes. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1994; 312: 375-384.
  • Wang D, Jiazhen Z. Localization and quantification of the nonspecific esterase in injured skin for timing of wounds. Forensic Sci. Int. 1992; 53: 203-213.