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Peiwen Fei, MD, PhD

Peiwen Fei, MD, PhD
  • Associate Professor (Associate Researcher) and Full Member
    Cancer Biology Program
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
  • Academic Appointment

  • Graduate Faculty
    Programs of Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB)
    Molecular Biosciences & Bioengineering (MBBE)


  • MD
    Xu Zhou Medical College
    Xu Zhou, China
  • PhD, Pathology and Cell Biology
    Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA
  • Fellowship
    Howard Hughes Medical Institute
    University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • Fellowship
    National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD

Research Focus

Dr. Fei's research interests focus on how tumor suppressors function and what can be learned from cancer susceptibility syndromes. Currently, she is studying two tumor suppressor-signaling pathways, the p53 and Fanconi Anemia (FA)-BRCA signaling pathways, and their implications in tumor suppression and cancer treatment.

The importance of p53 in tumor suppression is illustrated by the fact that more than half of all human cancers have p53 mutations. During tumor development or progression, cell outgrowth generates many stresses that can activate p53 to eliminate the stressed out cells. However, the mechanisms underlying the tumor suppressor activity of p53 initiated by these stresses remain under-investigated. Dr. Fei and colleagues are among the first to study how p53 tumor suppressor activity is triggered by one tumor environment stressor—hypoxia. The goal of Dr. Fei and colleagues in furthering p53 research is to advance the understanding of the dynamics in tumor environment and provide novel insights into developing improved diagnostic and predictive measures, as well as therapeutic methods.

FA is a rare human genetic disease with an extremely high cancer incidence, suggesting that a FA signaling pathway is a tumor suppressor pathway. With discoveries that breast cancer susceptibility gene products, BRCA2, PALB2, and BACH1/BRIP1 are FA proteins, the signaling pathway comprising all FA proteins that is also called the FA-BRCA tumor suppressor pathway, has become an intense area of investigation. Dr. Fei's lab is the first to investigate how the converged FA and HHR6 pathways maintain genome stability and suppress the development of human cancer. They are also among the first to use the FA signaling pathway as a unique signaling transduction model system. They will utilize it to gain insights into human tumorigenesis, indicating the value of studying cancer susceptibility syndromes to advance multiple aspects of cancer research including those directly and indirectly related to the disease at hand. The goal Dr. Fei and colleagues in pursuing FA research is to dissect the FA protein signaling pathway, determine how FA proteins mediate tumor suppression, and investigate the potential of targeting the FA-BRCA pathway as a therapeutic approach in the treatment of cancer.

Selected Publications

  • Panneerselvam J, Pickering A, Han B, Li L, Zheng J, Zhang J, Fei P*. (2014). Basal Level of FANCD2 Monoubiquitination Is Required for the Maintenance of a Sufficient Number of Licensed-Replicatio Origins to Fire at a Normal Rate. Oncotarget, Mar; 15:5 (5):1326-37.
  • Panneerselvam J, Pickering A, et al and Fei, P*. (2013). A hidden role of inactivated FANCD2: upregulating ÿNp63. Oncotarget, 3;4(9):1416-26.
  • Fu D, Dudimah FD, et al, and Fei P*. (2013). Recruitment of DNA polymerase eta by FANCD2 in the early resonse to DNA damage. Cell Cycle,12(5):803-9. PMID: 23388460.
  • Panneerselvam J, et al and Fei P*. (2012). FAVL impairment of the Fanconi anemia pathway promotes the development of human bladder cancer. Cell Cycle,11(15):2947-55. PMID: 22828653.
  • Zhao D, Zhang J, Park H, et al and Fei P*. (2010). FAVL Disrupts Fanconi Anemia Pathway and Promotes Chromosomal Instability and Tumor Development. J Clin Invest,120,1524. PMID: 20407210.

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

  • P. Fei, Principal Investigator
    "Molecular Insights into the Fanconi Anemia Tumor Suppressor Signaling Pathway"
    July 1, 2014-June 30, 2019
  • P. Fei, Principal Investigator
    "Roles of Fanconi Anemia Signaling Pathway in Bladder Tumorigenesis"
    July 1, 2009-May 31, 2016