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School of Medicine Columbia

Faculty and Staff

Wenbin Tan, Ph.D.

Title: Associate Professor
Department: Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy
School of Medicine Columbia
Phone: 803-216-3816
Resources: Tan's Lab Website
Wenbin Tan Headshot


B.S.: Central South University, Xiangya School of Medicine,  P. R. China                 

M.S., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Central South University, Xiangya School of Medicine,  P. R. China    

Ph.D., Neurophysiology and Neurobiology: University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)          


Dr. Tan’s lab is interested in congenital vascular malformations, vascular biology, exosomal biology, and stem cell biology. His lab is developing disease-derived iPSCs and iPSC-induced vascular cells and organoids as clinically relevant models to understand the fundamental mechanisms of congenital vascular malformations and endothelial dysfunctions. The current ongoing research projects include (1) the pathogenesis of cutaneous capillary malformations (CM), also known as Port Wine birthmark or stain (PWB or PWS), and Sturge-Weber syndrome (SWS), as well as the development of novel types of therapeutic strategies for targeting of lesional endothelial cells (ECs) in combination with laser-based technology; (2) the role of exosomes in endothelial dysfunction;  (3) reprogramming of hypertensive ECs for mitigation of hypertension; and (4) cardiovascular complications associated with COVID-19 and PASC and innate functions of natural compounds for vascular benefits.

The research projects have been continuously supported by numerous awards from ASLSM, NIH, and DoD since 2012.


Dr. Tan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy at the School of Medicine Columbia. He is also affiliated with the Cardiovascular Research Center and the Department of Bioengineering at USC.

He obtained his B.Sc. in Medicine and M.Sc. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Xiangya School of Medicine, Central South University, China. He received his Ph.D. in Neurophysiology and Neurobiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA, in 2008 under the mentorship of Dr. Jack L. Feldman.

His Ph.D. dissertation was to study rhythmic neurons in the brainstem for neuronal control of breathing. In 2010, his family moved to Anaheim, Orange County where Disneyland is located. Then he joined Dr. J Stuart Nelson’s group in the Department of Surgery and the Beckman Laser Institute at the University of California, Irvine, where he began his research in congenital vascular malformations. This was a radical and involuntary transition for his research from neurons to endothelial cells.

When he was weighing academic continuation or industrial opportunity as the next step of his career, he received an NIH/NIAMS K01 in 2013 with a perfect score (zero) on the first time of submission. This award kept him in academia. He had been deeply indebted to Dr. J Stuart Nelson and Dr. Dongbao Chen at UC Irvine for their mentorships. He received an R01 and a DoD discovery award in 2018 and made his cross-continental journey to the School of Medicine University of South Carolina.

He continues to miss a variety of authentic foods and no-change-cool weather in Southern California but not the torturous traffic on the 405/105/5/10/91/22 highways. He has been enjoying the beautiful natural environment in South Carolina.


1.     Tan W., Janczewski WA, Yang P, Shao XM, Callaway EM, and Feldman JL. Rapid silencing of PreBötzinger Complex somatostatin-expressing neurons induces persistent apnea in adult awake rats. Nature Neuroscience, 2008, 11(5): 538-54. PMID:18291943

2.     Tan W, Chernova M, Gao L, Sun V, Liu H, Jia W, et al. Sustained activation of c-Jun N-terminal and extracellular signal-regulated kinases in port-wine stain blood vessels. Journal of the American Academy Dermatology, 2014; 71:964-968. PMID:25135651

3.     Tan W, Nadora, DM, Gao L, Wang G, Mihm M and Nelson JS. The somatic GNAQ mutation (R183Q) is primarily located within the blood vessels of port wine stains. Journal of the American Academy Dermatology, 2016; 74:380-383, PMID: 26775782

4.     Tan W, Wang J, Zhou F, Gao L, Rong Y, Liu H, Sukanthanag A, Wang G, Mihim MC Jr, Chen D and Nelson JS. Coexistence of EphB1 and EphrinB2 in Port Wine Stain Endothelial Progenitor Cells Contributes to Clinicopathological Vasculature Dilatation. British Journal of Dermatology, 2017, DOI:10.1111/bjd.15716. PMID:28599054.

5.     Yin R, Rice SJ, Wang J, Gao L, Tsai J, Anvari RT, Zhou F, Liu X, Wang G, Tang Y, Mihm MC, Belani CP, Chen D, Nelson JS and Tan W. Membrane Trafficking and Exocytosis are Upregulated in Port Wine Stain Blood Vessels. Histology and Histopathology,  September 2018, accept.

Complete List of Published Work.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.