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Tzyy-Choou Wu, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Tzyy-Choou Wu, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.

Director, Gynecologic Pathology Division

Professor of Pathology


Languages: English, Chinese, Taiwanese

Expertise: Cervical Cancer, Head and Neck Cancers, Pathology

Research Interests: CD8+ T lymphocytes; cervical cancer; vaccination; human papillomavirus (HPV); HPV vaccine; cellular pathology; molecular pathology; T cell biology; tumor immunology; HPV immunology more


The Johns Hopkins Hospital

600 N. Wolfe Street
Sheikh Zayed Tower
Baltimore, MD 21287 map

Contact for Research Inquiries

The Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine
Cancer Research Building II, Room 309
Baltimore, MD 21205 map


Dr. Tzyy-Choou Wu is a professor of pathology, oncology, and obstetrics and gynecology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He holds a joint appointment in the Bloomberg School of Public Health Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology.

Dr. Wu’s clinical interests include gynecological pathology, cervical cancer, head and neck cancers, and the molecular diagnosis of viral infections.

He and Dr. Chien-Fu Hung also oversee the Cervical Cancer Research Lab, which is working to develop vaccines and immunotherapeutic strategies to prevent and treat human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cervical cancer.

Dr. Wu earned his M.D. at National Taiwan University College of Medicine before earning both his Ph.D. in molecular virology and his M.P.H. in epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He completed a residency in anatomic pathology and a fellowship in gynecologic pathology at Johns Hopkins. He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty as an assistant professor in 1995.

Dr. Wu has published more than 260 academic journal articles, written scores of editorials, reviews and book chapters, and delivered many invited lectures. He also holds a number of patents.

He serves on the editorial boards of publications that include the American Journal of Pathology, International Journal of Gynecological Pathology, Gene Therapy and Cancer Research.

Dr. Wu is a member of professional organizations that include the American Society for Clinical Investigation, American Association for Cancer Research and International Society of Gynecological Pathologists. Among his many activities, Dr. Wu serves as director of the Cervical Cancer Steering Committee and as a member of the Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center Research Council. more


  • Director, Gynecologic Pathology Division
  • Director, Cervical Cancer Research Lab
  • Professor of Pathology
  • Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics
  • Professor of Oncology



  • MD, National Taiwan University Medical School (1982)


  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine / Pathology (1992)


  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine / Pathology (1993)
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine / Pathology (1995)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Pathology / Anatomic Pathology (1992)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Wu’s research focuses on human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine development.

He has created a unique preclinical murine tumor model that expresses HPV-16 oncogenic proteins (E6 and E7) and simulates specific molecular events in the progression of HPV+ precancerous lesions (CIN 3) to invasive cancer.

This model has been widely used and tested by researchers worldwide for HPV vaccine development.

Dr. Wu has focused on identifying immunotherapeutic and vaccine approaches to enhance antigen processing and presentation by dendritic cells. These include intracellular targeting and spreading strategies aimed at preventing and treating cervical lesions and cancers. Intracellular targeting directs antigens to different subcellular locations to enhance antigen processing and presentation.

Intercellular spreading helps antigens distribute to neighboring cells by taking advantage of unique intercellular transport properties that allows for an increase in the amount of antigen presented to effector cells.

Dr. Wu has created an innovative approach that combines both antigen-specific immunotherapy and anti-angiogenesis to treat HPV E7-expressing tumors.

The impressive preclinical data derived from these studies have led to several clinical trials that are either currently under way or will soon commence. The continued development of these strategies will facilitate the development of vaccines that generate a potent immune response and antitumor effect against cervical cancer.

Dr. Wu is also actively involved with investigating mechanisms of immune evasion of tumors, identifying new tumor-specific antigens and applying vaccine strategies to other cancer systems with characterized tumor-specific antigens.


The Cervical Cancer Research Lab of Drs. T-C Wu and Chien-Fu Hung has a multi-part mission to:

  • Create the most effective cervical cancer vaccine for the prevention and treatment of human papillomavirus-associated malignancies
  • Extend the application of the principles and strategies that we use for HPV vaccine development in order to create vaccines that target other cancers with defined tumor antigens
  • Develop innovative immunological assays for human papillomavirus vaccine clinical trials
  • Serve as an environment for the education of research technicians, graduate students and undergraduate students


Lab Website: Cervical Cancer Research Lab

Selected Publications

  1. Wu T.-C. (1994) Immunology of Human Papilloma Virus (in relation to cancer). Curr Opin in Immunol 6:728 732.
  2. Wu T.-C., Huang AYC, Jaffee E M and Pardoll DM (1995) A reassessment of the role of B7-1 expression in tumor rejection. J Exp Med 182:1415-1421.
  3. Wu T.-C., F.G. Guarnieri, K.F. Staveley-O''Carroll, R.P. Viscidi, H.I. Levitsky, L. Hedrick, K.R. Cho, J.T. August, and D.M. Pardoll (1995) Engineering a novel pathway for MHC Class II Presentation of Antigens. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 92: 11671-11675.
  4. Lin K-Y, F. G. Guarnieri, K. F. Staveley-O''Carroll, H. I. Levitsky, J. T. August, D. M. Pardoll and T.-C. Wu (1996) Treatment of established tumors with a novel vaccine that enhances major histocompatibility class II presentation Of tumor antigen. Cancer Research 56: 21-26.
  5. R. Roden and T.-C. Wu (2006) How will HPV vaccines affect cervical cancer?. Nature Reviews Cancer 6: 753-763.
  6. T. H. Kang, J. H. Lee, C. K. Song, H. D. Han, B. C. Shin, S. I. Pai, C.-F. Hung, C. Trimble, J.-S. Lim, T. W. Kim and T.-C. Wu (2007) Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate enhances CD8+ T cell-mediated antitumor immunity induced by DNA vaccination. Cancer Research 67: 802-811.
  7. K.-Y. Lin, D. Lu, C.-F. Hung, S. Peng, L Huang, C. Jie, F. Murillo, J. Rowley, Y.-C. Tsai, L. He, E. Jaffee, D. M. Pardoll and T.-C. Wu (2007) Ectopic expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) as a new mechanism for tumor immune evasion. Cancer Research 67: 1832-1841.
  8. S. Peng, C. Trimble, L. Wu, D. Pardoll, C.-F. Hung, and T.-C. Wu (2007) HLA-DQB1*02-restricted HPV-16 E7 peptide-specific CD4+ T cell immune responses correlate with regression of HPV-16-associated high grade squamous intraepithelial lesions Clinical Cancer Research 13: 2479-2487.
  9. C.-F. Hung, Y.-C. Tsai, L. He, and T.-C. Wu (2007) Co-administration of DNA vaccines with DNA encoding Ii-PADRE generates potent PADRE-specific CD4+ T cell immune responses and enhances vaccine potency. Molecular Therapy 15: 1211-1219.
  10. T.-C. Wu (2007) The role of VCAM-1 in tumor Immune evasion. Cancer Research 67: 6003-6007.
  11. W.-F. Cheng, C.-F. Hung, C.-Y. Chai, C.-A. Chen, C.-N. Lee, Y.-N. Su, W.-Y. I. Tseng, C.-Y. Hsieh, I.-M. Shih, T.-L. Wang and T.-C. Wu (2007) Generation of Mesothelin-Expressing Tumor Model with Intraperitoneal Tumor Growth and Ascites Formation. Cancer 110: 420-431.
  12. D. Kim, C.-F. Hung and T.-C. Wu (2007) Monitoring the trafficking of adoptively transferred antigen- specific CD8-positive T cells in vivo, using noninvasive luminescence imaging. Hum Gene Ther 18: 575-588.
  13. C.-L. Chang, Y.-C. Tsai, L. He, T.-C. Wu, and C.-F. Hung (2007) Cancer immunotherapy using irradiated tumor cells secreting Hsp70. Cancer Research 67: 10047-10057.
  14. D. Kim, T. Hoory, T.-C. Wu and C.-F. Hung (2007) Enhancing DNA vaccine potency by combining a strategy to prolong dendritic cell life and intracellular targeting strategies with a strategy to boost CD4+ T cells. Gene Therapy. 18: 1129-1139.
  15. D. Kim, R. Gambhira, B. Karanam, A. Monie, C.-F. Hung, R. Roden and T.-C. Wu (2008) Generation and characterization of a preventive and therapeutic HPV DNA vaccine. Vaccine 26: 351-360.
  16. S. Peng, C. L. Trimble, R. D. Alvarez, W. K. Huh, Z. Lin, A. Monie, C.-F. Hung and T.-C. Wu (2008) Cluster Intradermal DNA Vaccination Rapidly Induces E7-specific CD8+ T Cell Immune Responses Leading to Therapeutic Antitumor Effects. Gene Therapy (in press).
  17. C.-W. Tseng, C.-F. Hung, R. D. Alvarez, C. L. Trimble, W. K. Huh, D. Kim, C.-M. Chuang, C.-T. Lin, Y.-C. Tsai, L. He, A. Monie and T.-C. Wu (2008) Pretreatment with cisplatin enhances E7-specific CD8+ T cell-mediated antitumor immunity induced by DNA vaccination. Clinical Cancer Research 14: 3193-3203.
  18. D. Kim, T. Hoory, A. Monie, J. P.-Y. Ting, C.-F. Hung and T.-C. Wu (2008) Enhancement of DNA vaccine potency through co-administration of MHC Class II Transactivator (CIITA) DNA with DNA vaccines via gene gun. Journal of Immunology 180: 7019-7027.
  19. D. Kim, A. Monie, Y.-C. Tsai, L. He, M.-C. Wang, C.-F. Hung and T.-C. Wu (2008) Enhancement of CD4+ T cell help reverses the doxorubicin-induced suppression of antigen-specific immune responses in vaccinated mice. Gene Therapy 15: 1176-1183.
  20. J. Rowley, A. Monie, C.F. Hung and T.-C. Wu (2008) Inhibition of tumor growth by NK1.1+ cells and CD8+ T cells activated by IL-15 through receptor beta/common gamma signaling in trans. Journal of Immunology 181(12):8237-47.

Lee SY, Kang TH, Knoff J, Huang Z, Soong RS, Alvarez RD, Hung CF, Wu TC. Intratumoral injection of therapeutic HPV vaccinia vaccine following cisplatin enhances HPV-specific antitumor effects. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2013 Jul;62(7):1175-85. doi: 10.1007/s00262-013-1421-y. Epub 2013 Apr 25. PubMed PMID: 23615841; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3690484.

Kang TH, Mao CP, Lee SY, Chen A, Lee JH, Kim TW, Alvarez RD, Roden RB, Pardoll D, Hung CF, Wu TC. Chemotherapy acts as an adjuvant to convert the tumor microenvironment into a highly permissive state for vaccination-induced antitumor immunity. Cancer Res. 2013 Apr 15;73(8):2493-504. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-4241. Epub 2013 Feb 15. PubMed PMID: 23418322; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3630272.

Lee SY, Huang Z, Kang TH, Soong RS, Knoff J, Axenfeld E, Wang C, Alvarez RD, Chen CS, Hung CF, Wu TC. Histone deacetylase inhibitor AR-42 enhances E7-specific CD8⺠T cell-mediated antitumor immunity induced by therapeutic HPV DNA vaccination. J Mol Med (Berl). 2013 Oct;91(10):1221-31. doi: 10.1007/s00109-013-1054-9. Epub 2013 May 29. PubMed PMID: 23715898; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3783646.

Sun Y, Peng S, Qiu J, Miao J, Yang B, Jeang J, Hung CF, Wu TC. Intravaginal HPV DNA vaccination with electroporation induces local CD8+ T-cell immune responses and antitumor effects against cervicovaginal tumors. Gene Ther. 2015 Jul;22(7):528-35. doi: 10.1038/gt.2015.17. Epub 2015 Mar 19. PubMed PMID: 25786869; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4490060.

Wu CY, Yang LH, Yang HY, Knoff J, Peng S, Lin YH, Wang C, Alvarez RD, Pai SI, Roden RB, Hung CF, Wu TC. Enhanced cancer radiotherapy through immunosuppressive stromal cell destruction in tumors. Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Feb 1;20(3):644-57. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-1334. Epub 2013 Dec 3. PubMed PMID: 24300786; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3946442.


DNA Vaccine Enhancement with MHC Class II Activators
Patent # US9085638 B2 | 07/21/2015

Methods for treating or preventing hyperproliferating diseases, e.g., cancer, are described. A method may comprise administering to a subject in need thereof a therapeutically effective amount of a nucleic acid encoding an MHC class I and/or II activator and optionally a nucleic acid encoding an antigen.

RNA Interference That Blocks Expression of Pro-Apoptotic Proteins Potentiates Immunity Induced by DNA and Transfected Dendritic Cell Vaccines
Patent # US9011866 B2 | 04/21/2015

An immunotherapeutic strategy is disclosed that combines antigen-encoding DNA vaccine compositions combined with siRNA directed to pro-apoptotic genes, primarily Bak and Bax, the products of which are known to lead to apoptotic death. Gene gun delivery (particle bombardment) of siRNA specific for Bak and/or Bax to antigen-expressing DCs prolongs the lives of such DCs and lead to enhanced generation of antigen-specific CD8+ T cell-mediated immune responses in vivo. Similarly, antigen-loaded DC's transfected with siRNA targeting Bak and/or Bax serve as improved immunogens and tumor immunotherapeutic agents.

Nucleic Acid Immunogenic Compositions Encoding Hsp-antigen Chimera
Patent # CA2388045 C | 02/11/2014

The invention provides chimeric nucleic acids encoding a chimeric polypeptide, constructs for expressing these polypeptides both in vitro and in vivo, isolated chimeric polypeptides, pharmaceutical compositions and methods of making and using these compositions. These compositions and methods are particularly useful for stimulating or enhancing the immunogenicity of a selected antigen or stimulating or enhancing a cellular immune response specific for that antigen. The nucleic acid of the invention comprises a first polypeptide domain comprising a carboxy terminal fragment of a heat shock protein (HSP), an Flt-3 ligand (FL), a cytoplasmic translocation domain of a Pseudomonas exotoxin A (ETA dII), or a granulocyte-macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) sequence, and a second polypeptide domain comprising an antigenic polypeptide.

Superior Molecular Vaccine Linking the Translocation Domain of a Bacterial Toxin to an Antigen
Patent # US8128922 B2 | 03/06/2012

Nucleic acids encoding a chimeric or fusion polypeptide which polypeptide comprises a first domain comprising a translocation polypeptide; and a second domain comprising at least one antigenic peptide are disclosed. The preferred translocation polypeptide is a bacterial toxin translocation polypeptide, such as domain II of Pseudomonas aeruginosa exotoxin A (ETA(dII)). Such nucleic acids, expression vectors thereof, and cells expressing these vectors are used as vaccine compositions in a method for enhancing an antigen specific immune response, a method of increasing the numbers of CD8+ CTLs specific for a selected desired antigen in a subject, or a method of inhibiting the growth of a tumor in a subject.

Molecular Vaccine Linking an Endoplasmic Reticulum Chaperone Polypeptide to an Antigen
Patent # US8007781 B2 | 08/30/2011

This invention provides compositions and methods for inducing and enhancing immune responses, such as antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses, using chimeric molecules comprising endoplasmic reticulum chaperone polypeptides and antigenic peptides. In particular, the invention provides compositions and methods for enhancing immune responses induced by polypeptides made in vivo by administered nucleic acid, such as naked DNA or expression vectors, encoding the chimeric molecules. The invention provides a method of inhibiting the growth of a tumor in an individual. The invention also provides novel self-replicating RNA virus constructs for enhancing immune responses induced by chimeric polypeptides made in vivo.

Activities & Honors


  • Scientific Award, the Chinese American Medical Society, 2008
  • Outstanding Service Award, Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America (DC Chapter), 2000
  • Physician Scientist Award, the Passano Foundation, 1995
  • Binford-Dammin Award, Binford-Dammin Society of the International Academy of Pathology, 1994
  • Frederik B. Bank Award, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 1987
  • The Delta Omega Honorary Society Alpha Chapter, School of Hygiene & Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 1988
  • Hampil Fellowship, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 1986 - 1988
  • Dr. Shu Yeh Scholarship, National Taiwan University, 1979


  • Society for Clinical Investigation
  • Association of American Physicians

    Dr. Wu is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians.

Professional Activities

  • Co-Executive Director, Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America, 2010
  • President, Binford-Dammin Infectious Disease Society of the International Academy of Pathology, 2006 - 2007
  • President, International Association of Chinese Pathologists, 2003 - 2005
  • President, Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America (DC Chapter), 1998 - 1999
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