Jingwu Xie PhD

Phone: 317-278-3999
Office: R4 327

Jingwu Xie, PhD

Jonathan and Jennifer Simmons Professor of Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics

Principal Investigator: Herman B Wells Center for Pediatrics

Professor of Pediactrics

Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology

Member, Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research

Member, IU Simon Cancer Center


  • B.S.: Shandong Normal University, Jinan, China
  • M.S.:Peking University, Beijing, China (Mentor: Haojian Yu)
  • PhD: University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland/ UK (Mentor: E. Birgitte Lane)
  • Postdoc University of California at San Francisco (Mentors: Ervin H Epstein Jr. and Frank McCormick)

Current Research Interests:

The main focus in Dr. Xie's laboratory is to investigate signal transduction of the hedgehog pathway and its role in the development of cancer, particularly basal cell carcinomas, rhabdomyosarcomas and gastrointestinal cancers. BCCs, the most common cancer in Caucasians with the lifetime risk of one in three, are generally only locally invasive and rarely metastasized. Rhabdomyosarcoma, the most common pediatric muscle tumor, progress rapidly. In contrast, pancreatic and esophageal cancers as well as other GI cancers have high mortality.

This pathway was initially discovered by two Nobel Laureates Dr. E. Wieschaus and Dr. C. Nusslein-Volhard in Drosophila in 1980. The hedgehog signaling is a master regulator for cell differentiation, tissue polarity, cell proliferation and maintenance of stemness. Recent data indicate that hedgehog signaling is associated with more than 30% of extracutaneous tumors, including gastrointestinal, prostate and breast cancers. Whereas the biological consequences of dysregulation of this pathway are well established, the molecular mechanism of the signal transduction is still poorly understood.

They are taking three approaches to understand the mechanism by which activation of the hedgehog pathway contributes to cancers. First, the activating form of smoothened or the downstream molecule Gli is used as a "biological probe" for the identification, isolation and functional dissection of molecular components that collaborate to regulate the signaling pathway. Second, they are studying the interaction of this pathway with other signaling pathways in carcinogenesis. Third, mouse models are being used to understand activation of the hedgehog pathway in vivo. Ultimately, they hope to find ways to inhibit this pathway with small molecules in relevant human cancers, including pediatric tumors. Dr. Xie is currently an academic editor for PloS ONE, a member of JBC editorial board, and a member of several societies such as the American Association for Cancer Research. He received the Overseas-Scholar Award in 2003-2005 by The National Science Foundation of the People's Republic of China and Jonathan and Jennifer Simmons Professorship in 2009.

Ongoing projects include:

  • Studying signal transduction of the hedgehog pathway
  • Developing novel strategies to treat cancer with specific small molecules.
  • Mouse model of hedgehog-mediated carcinogenesis
  • Cancer stem cells
  • Tumor microenvironment

Dr. Xie's Laboratory

Dr. Xie's Laboratory