Wei Jia, PhD

Wei Jia, PhD

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Faculty Director, Metabolomics Shared Resource
Full Member, Cancer Biology Program, University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center

PhD, MSc, Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Missouri – Columbia


2017 - Founding Member of the Metabolomics Association of North America
2007 - The Shanghai Leading Scientist Award
2005 - The Aurora Scholar Award, Shanghai, China
2004 - New Century Talents Award, Ministry of Education, China
2003-2008 - Outstanding Faculty Award, School of Pharmacy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

Research Focus

Dr. Jia joined the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center in 2013 as the Associate Director for Shared Resources. Previously, he spent about five years as a Professor at University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Co-Director of UNCG Center for Translational Biomedical Research. Prior to his appointment with UNCG, Dr. Jia worked in China for 10 years, as Professor and Executive Vice Dean at College of Pharmaceutical Science, Tianjin University, and Professor and Vice Dean for Research, School of Pharmacy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Dr. Jia's research interest involves carbon source metabolism and its regulation in cancer cells as well as the molecular mechanisms that link metabolic disruptions in gut microbial-host co-metabolism to metabolic disorders and gastrointestinal cancer. Several research projects are being conducted in Dr. Jia's group to decipher the complex metabolic interactions in gut-liver-brain axis and regulation of cancer cell metabolism.

In addition, Dr. Jia directs a well-recognized metabolomics laboratory (currently as one of the UH Cancer Center shared resources). Over the past 13 years, his lab has developed a number of metabolomics technologies and protocols, focusing on the quantitative analysis of endogenous small-molecule metabolites and trace elements from biological specimens including blood, urine, saliva, and tissues of experimental animals and human subjects. Many of these technologies have been applied in clinical and translational research, involving (1) unbiased metabolic profiling and data mining, metabolite annotation and biological interpretation using combined high sensitivity, high throughput LC-MS-MS and GC-MS platforms; (2) targeted and quantitative analysis of metabolic rates and pathways using isotope labeled common substrates such as glucose and cholate; (3) classification and prediction of disease phenotypes based on their unique metabolic signatures and biomarkers for patient stratification and personalized treatment; and (4) novel methodologies to delineate the host-gut microbe co-metabolism of diets and multi-component herbal medicines, such as poly-pharmacokinetics and gut microbial metabolomics.

Selected Publications

Jia W, Xie GX, Jia, WP. (2018). Bile acids and microbiome cross-talk and its impact on gastrointestinal carcinogenesis. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 15(2):111-128.

Xie, G.X., Wang, X.N., Jiang, R.Q., Zhao, A.H., Yan, J.Y., Zheng, X.J., Huang, F.J., Liu, X.Z., Panee, J., Rajani, C., Yao, C., Yu, H., Jia, W.P., Sun, B.C., Liu, P., Jia, W. (2018). Dysregulated bile acid signaling contributes to the neurological impairment in murine models of acute and chronic liver failure. EBioMedicine. 37:294-306.

Chen WL, Wang YY, Zhao AH, Xia L, Xie GX, Su MM, Zhao LJ, Liu JJ, Qu C, Wei RM, Rajani C, Ni Y, Cheng Z, Chen Z, Chen SJ, Jia, W. (2016). Enhanced fructose utilization mediated by SLC2A5 is a unique metabolic feature of acute myeloid leukemia with therapeutic potential, Cancer Cell. 30(5), 779-791. PMID: 27746145.

Xie, GX, Wang, XN, Huang, FJ, Zhao, AH, Chen, WL, Yan, JY, Zhang, YJ, Lei, S, Ge, K, Zheng, XJ, Liu, JJ, Su, MM, Liu, P, Jia, W. (2016). Dysregulated hepatic bile acids collaboratively promote liver carcinogenesis. International Journal of Cancer. 139(8), 1764-1775. PMID: 27273788.

Qiu YP, Cai GX, Zhou BS, Li D, Zhao AH, Xie GX, Li HK, Cai SJ, Xie D, Huang CZ, Ge WT, Zhou ZX, Xu L, Jia WP, Zheng S, Yen Y, Jia W. (2014). A distinct metabolic signature of human colorectal cancer with prognostic potential. Clinical Cancer Research. 20(8), 2136-2146. PMID: 24526730.

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

W. Jia, Co-Investigator, J. Turkson, PI
R01 CA208851, NIH, NCI
“STAT3, G6PD and TrxR as underlying mechanisms for antitumor responses to hirsutinolides”
The goal of this project is to develop new hirstinolide analogs and assess their inhibitory activities against STAT3, G6PD and TrxR1 and their mechanisms for inhibiting human breast and flioma tumors.
03/02/17 – 02/28/22

W. Jia, Co-Investigator, R. Holcombe, PI
P30 CA071789, University of Hawaiʻi CCSG, NCI
The major goal of this project is to continue to lower cancer incidence and improve the care of cancer patients in Hawaiʻi and elsewhere by attempting to understand reasons for the remarkable ethnic-related cancer associations found in the region.
07/01/97 – 06/30/21

W. Jia, Principal Investigator
1U01 CA188387, NIH, NCI
"Gut microbiota mediated bile acid alterations in hepatic carcinogenesis"
Alterations in gut bacteria may result in an increase in the concentration of toxic bile acids in liver, causing sustained liver injury and the subsequent development of liver fibrosis and cancer. The proposed study will help us design novel therapeutic approaches to protect against the development of liver cancer.
08/01/15 - 07/31/20

W. Jia, Principal Investigator
Nestle Institute of Health Sciences Ltd.
"Characterizing the metabolic footprints of gut microbial host co-metabolism"
Exploratory study to characterize the metabolic footprints of gut microbial host co-metabolism in m human infants with cow milk protein allergy.
08/01/18 - 07/31/20

W. Jia, Co-Investigator, UNC-Chapel Hill subcontract, Brouwer, Principal Investigator
R01 GM041935, NIH/NIGMS
"Altered Hepatic Disposition of Anionic Drugs-Mechanisms"
This project will study the mechanisms of the drug-induced liver conditions with important pathophysiological consequences such as liver cancer. My laboratory will quantitatively analyze the bile acids in biological samples generated from this project over the 5-year period.
09/01/14 - 8/31/19