Alumni News

October 19, 2019 at 2:07 pm

Notable Alumni | Jon Wang Pioneers Research in Oncology and Gene Therapy

By Regina Yoong

Graphic for College of Arts & Sciences Notable Alumni Award

Editor’s Note: The College of Arts & Sciences Notable Alumni Awards honor alumni for broad career accomplishments, commitment to community service, and valuable contributions to Ohio University and the College of Arts & Sciences.

Dr. Jon Wang ’93 Ph.D. Molecular and Cellular Biology

Dr. Xinzhong “Jon” Wang is an accomplished scientific leader with over 20 years of experience in oncology research and gene therapy in biopharmaceutical industry. He has extensive knowledge and experience in tumor immunology, molecular and cell biology, drug target discovery, animal modeling, and protein therapeutics development.

He holds key international patents in the field of Immuno-Oncology and Gene Therapy and published over 30 original research papers in prestigious scientific journals. He also has experience in leading early stage clinical trials to evaluate immune modulating agents for cancer treatment.

Wang earned a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the College of Arts & Sciences at Ohio University in 1993.

Jon Wang, portrait

Dr. Jon Wang

Wang joined CStone Pharmaceuticals in June 2017, as the Senior Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer. He is responsible the scientific development of CStone’s product portfolio and technology platforms of interest, and providing general scientific leadership from discovery to IND.

Wang also participates in setting the broad scientific direction of the company and providing exemplary scientific guidance to CStone’s portfolio to support the overall corporate strategy.

OHIO Memories

From times of concentration doing lab work to fun times with friends, Wang walks down memory lane, reminiscing his time back in OHIO.

“After almost 20 hours of flight, I arrived in Athens, Ohio, a typical American college town in the fall of 1988. It was so quiet, beautiful, but foreign and very different from Beijing. Excitement, curiosity and the desire of learning drove me into my graduate student life at Ohio University,” Wang said.

“I lived in different houses but always on Brown Avenue in the west part of the town. Walking, biking took me everywhere around the campus and the narrow streets in Athens. The tennis court by Hocking River was where I took my first tennis lesson. Miller’s Chicken was the places to go for a quick bite after long classes or hours of studying in Alden Library. Aside from the graduate courses and language classes to improve my English, I spent most of time working in the laboratories of Edison Biotechnology Center located in Wilson Hall and Irvine Hall.”

Dr. Jan Wang working in the lab at OHIO.

Dr. Jan Wang working in the lab at OHIO.

“‘Oriental Express’ was our team’s name in the OU bowling league. We bowl every Wednesday night at Baker Center during the school year. After I bought my first car, a 1978 Buick Lesabre, I made numerous trips to Strouds Run for barbecues and fishing! I had also learned ‘clubbing’ by showing up in almost every pub/bar on Court Street. Every year’s International Street Fair and Halloween Party were my favorite gathering time with friends and colleagues. I have fond memories of all the friends like Nick Okada, Bruce Kelder, Bill Hayes , Paul Wheil, Dave White and ‘Larry’ from the Library photo lab, to name a few.”

Wang met his wife in Athens, and they are happily married and live in Boston. Their daughter, Emily Wang, is in college and their son, Jesse Wang, is finishing high school and will attend college in 2020.

OHIO’s Impact & Career Milestones

After completing his graduate study at OHIO, Wang chose to do a Post-Doc at Harvard Medical School. “This was certainly a turning point for me — to go to another unknown city and different field of Immunology and Gene Therapy that I barely know anything. It was hard post-doc training, but at the end I would not trade this experience with any other choice. The experience greatly expanded my knowledge and furthered my understanding of translation science in medical research,” he said.

Wang attributed his success to his professors at OHIO,

“Graduate study at Ohio University certainly laid solid foundation for my career development. I am very lucky having Dr. John Kopchick as mentor for my Ph.D. degree. His dedication to science and determination to discover new medicine gave me the first-hand experience of drug development during my graduate study.”

“This is extremely valuable for my later career development in the drug industry. Also Dr. Tom Wagner’s guidance had always inspired me for creativity and innovation until today. Advice and encouragement from Allan Showalter, Calvin James and Robert Colvin have not only supported me through my graduate study but also in later career development,” he explains.

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