Paul S. Mischel

Paul Mischel, M.D., is a physician scientist trained in pathology and cancer biology. He is Professor and Vice Chair for Research, for the Department of Pathology, Stanford Medicine, and an Institute Scholar in Sarfan ChEM-H, Stanford University. His laboratory has made a series of seminal discoveries published in Nature, Science, and Nature Genetics, that have identified a central role for ecDNA (extrachromosomal DNA) in cancer development, progression, accelerated tumor evolution and drug resistance. These findings have provided a new understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of oncogene amplification and the spatial organization of altered tumor genomes, launching a new area of cancer research that links circular architecture with tumor pathogenesis.  Paul leads Team eDyNAmiC, which was awarded one of the $25M Cancer Grand Challenges Awards from CRUK and the National Cancer Institute, to tackle the extrachromosomal DNA grand challenge. Paul’s lab has also uncovered actionable metabolic co-dependencies that are downstream consequences of oncogene amplification, including in the highly lethal brain cancer glioblastoma, that are poised for therapeutic exploitation. Paul is a member of the National Academy of Medicine. He is also an elected Fellow and Past-President of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. Fellow of the American Association of Physicians, and a Fellow of The American Association for the Advancement of Science. Mischel is also a founder of Boundless Bio., Inc.

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Jun Tang

I joined the lab in 2018, right after I got my Ph.D degree in Chinese Academy of Science, Shanghai institutes for biological sciences. My research interests focus on understanding the interplay between extrachromosomal DNA and cancer metabolism. Besides that, I like watching movies and I would sometimes go for running.

Yanbo Wang

I received my B.S. in Physics from Peking University, and Ph.D. in Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine under the supervision of Taekjip Ha. I joined Paul’s lab in 2023 as a joint postdoc co-mentored by Howard Y. Chang. My research interest is epigenetic features of ecDNA.

Ivy Tsz-Lo Wong

I obtained my PhD from the University of Hong Kong in 2017 and joined Paul’s team in 2019. My research interest lies in the cancer biology of extrachoromosomal DNA, and its role in genome instability. Outside the lab I enjoy watching movies, sipping a nice cup of coffee and hiking.

Google Scholar

Lu Yang

I received my MD/PhD from Washington University School of Medicine in 2020, completing my thesis in developmental biology under the mentorship of David Ornitz. I came to Stanford for residency in clinical pathology and joined Paul’s group in 2022 for postdoctoral training. My main research interests are in ecDNA biology and cancer evolution.

Hyerim Yi

Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dermatology

I received my Ph.D. in Biological Science from Seoul National University in 2019 under the supervision of V. Narry Kim. With expertise in RNA biology, I joined Paul S. Mischel in 2021 as a joint postdoc co-mentored by Howard Y. Chang. I am working to decipher the regulatory mechanisms of ecDNA-driven gene expression.

Shu Zhang

Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dermatology

I received my B.A. in Biotechnology from Beijing Normal University, and Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Peking University under the supervision of Fuchou Tang. I joined Paul’s lab in 2022 and co-mentored by Howard Y. Chang. My research interest is the correlation between tumor heterogeneity and ecDNA, especially related to immune regulation.

In my spare time, I like eating gourmet, photography and hiking.

Graduate Students

Ellis J. Curtis (EJ)

I graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2017, where I majored in Neuroscience and completed my thesis in a Physical Chemistry lab. I worked with Samantha Glazier to determine the temporal, spatial and thermodynamic properties of the chemotherapy drug, doxorubicin, as it interacted with DNA. I joined the Medical Scientist Training Program at UCSD in the Fall of 2017. Outside of the lab, I play on a hockey team, surf and play with my German Shepherd Husky.

Aditi Gnanasekar

I graduated from UC San Diego with a BS in Bioengineering: Biotechnology and joined the Medical Scientist Training Program at Stanford University in 2022. My research interests lie in the maintenance and evolution of extrachromosomal DNA and how ecDNA uniquely contributes to cancer progression. Outside of the lab, I like to sing, swim, and spend time outside with family and friends.

Vishnu Shankar

After receiving my BS with Honors in Mathematical & Computational Science from Stanford University in 2018, I completed my MS in Computer Science in 2020 also from Stanford. In 2021, I joined the PhD Program in Immunology and am co-mentored by Paul Mischel and Mark Davis.  My research interests broadly span immunity, metabolism, cancer, biological and analytical chemistry, applied statistics. Outside the lab, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading, and going on long walks.  

Lab Manager

Huijun Yang

My role in the lab is to provide administrative and experimental research support and to help principal investigators create an environment where members of the lab can work together as an effective team. I aim to provide daily technical assistance for studies on the molecular pathogenesis of brain tumors; in the development of diagnostic molecular studies to select patients for brain tumor therapies; and in immunohistochemical analysis of signal pathways in brain tumor biopsies. I also am responsible for documenting all records and results.

Lab Alumni