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Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

Faculty Directory


Associate Professor


Ph.D., Cornell University
Bachelor of Science, Shandong University

Additional Training

UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, postdoctoral research


NIH NRSA postdoctoral fellowship


Dr. Weihang Chai is the course chair for the immunology curriculum for first-year medical students at WSU Spokane. She has mentored graduate students and trained postdoctoral fellows at WSU. She currently has four postdoctoral trainees in her research lab, and is on dissertation committees for graduate students from the School of Molecular Biosciences and College of Pharmacy.


Research in our lab focuses on understanding the molecular and cellular processes related to telomeres in cancer and normal cells. Telomeres are sections of DNA that protect the ends of chromosomes and keep genetic information from becoming damaged. We are particularly interested in understanding how telomere DNA is maintained in human cells. We study how various proteins interact with telomeres and how mutations in these genes make telomeres vulnerable, contributing to the growth of cancers and premature aging.


Associate Professor, Medical Sciences, WSU Spokane
Associate Professor, School of Molecular Biosciences, WSU Pullman
Editorial board member for the journal “Frontiers in Cancer Molecular Targets and Therapeutics”
Editorial board member for “Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine”
Affiliated Assistant Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine Department of Immunology


2005 Scholarship Award from Keystone Symposium in Genome Instability and Repair
2004 The Scholar-in-Training Award from American Association for Cancer Research
The American Aging Association Paul Glenn Award for meritorious research in biomedical gerontology
2003-4 NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Fellowship

Selected Publications (since joining WSU)

Lin W, Sampathi S, Dai H, Liu C, Zhou M, Hu J, Huang Q, Campbell J, Zheng L, Chai W, Shen B. (2013) Mammalian DNA2 cleaves G-quadruplex DNA and is required for telomere integrity. EMBO J. 32(10):1425-39 (co-corresponding author)

Chai W, Zheng L, Shen B. (2013) DNA2, a new player in telomere maintenance and tumor suppression. Cell Cycle. 12 (13)

Huang C, Dai X, Chai W. (2012) Human Stn1 protects telomere integrity by promoting efficient lagging-strand synthesis at telomeres and mediating C-strand fill-in. Cell Research. 22 (12) 1681-1695

Dai X, Huang C, Chai W. (2012) CDK1 differentially regulates G-overhang generation at leading- and lagging-strand telomeres in telomerase negative cells in the G2 phase. Cell Cycle. 11 (16) 2959-3142.

Gu P, Min J, Wang Y, Huang C, Chai W, Chang S. (2012) CTC1 deletion results in defective telomere replication, leading to catastrophic telomere loss and stem cell exhaustion. EMBO J. 31(10):2309-21.

Wu X, Xu Y, Chai W, Her C. (2011) The causal link between microsatellite instability and hMRE11 dysfunction in human cancers. Molecular Cancer Res. 9(11):1443-8.

Sampathi S, Chai W. (2011) Mapping the domain of FEN1/hTERT association. Biochem Biophys Res Comm. 407 (1): 34-38.

Sampathi S, Chai W. (2011) Telomere replication: poised but puzzling. J. Cellular and Molecular Medicine. 15(1): 3-13.

Dai X, Huang C, Bhusari A, Sampathi S, Schubert K, Chai W. (2010) Molecular steps of G-overhang generation at human telomeres and its function in chromosome end protection. EMBO J. 29(16):2788-801.

Sampathi S, Bhusari A, Shen B, Chai W. (2009) Human flap endonuclease I is in complex with telomerase and is required for telomerase-mediated telomere maintenance. J. Biol. Chem. 284(6):3682-90.

More publications »

Associate Professor