Postdoc - Molecular Genetics & Molecular Biology
MIT - 1995
Ph.D. - Biochemistry
University of California, Los Angeles - 1990
B.S. - Chemistry
Zhongshan University, China - 1984
Dr. Li Zhang has made major contributions to understanding the
molecular mechanisms underlying heme signaling in eukaryotic cells. Heme
is central to oxygen sensing and utilization in virtually all living
organisms. In mammals, heme is critical for erythroid, hepatic, and
neuronal functions. Oxygen sensing is directly related to many
fundamental physiological and pathological processes, including
angiogenesis, tumor development, and ischemia. Investigating the
molecular mechanism of oxygen sensing and heme signaling is the main
objective of Dr. Zhang2s lab. Furthermore, Dr. Zhang's lab is interested
in investigating the molecular mechanisms by which common
neurotoxicants act in neural cells, because studies of neurotoxicants
should facilitate the understanding of many neural functions and
neurological diseases. Dr. Zhang2s lab combines approaches of molecular
and cellular biology with genomics and computational approaches to
elucidate the global molecular mechanisms underlying cellular responses
to environmental stressors, including hypoxia and environmental
Dr. Zhang recently joined the Department of Molecular &
Cell Biology as Professor and Head, coming from Columbia University,
where she was professor of Environmental Health Sciences. Dr. Zhang also
holds the Cecil H. and Ida Green Distinguished Chair in Systems Biology
Rock the nucleus: significantly enhanced nuclear membrane permeability and gene transfection by plasmonic nanobubble induced nanomechanical transduction 2018 - Journal Article
Heme promotes transcriptional and demethylase activities of Gis1, a member of the histone demethylase JMJD2/KDM4 family 2017 - Journal Article
The Bioenergetic Role of Mitochondria in Lung Cancer 2017 - Other
The vascular disrupting agent combretastatin A-4 phosphate causes prolonged elevation of proteins involved in heme flux and function in resistant tumor cells 2017 - Journal Article
The Swi3 protein plays a unique role in regulating respiration in eukaryotes 2016 - Journal Article
Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Heme Action in Promoting the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease 2016 - Book
A holistic view of cancer bioenergetics: mitochondrial function and respiration play fundamental roles in the development and progression of diverse tumors. 2016 - Journal Article
Cyclopamine tartrate, an inhibitor of Hedgehog signaling, strongly interferes with mitochondrial function and suppresses aerobic respiration in lung cancer cells. 2016 - Journal Article
Elevated Mitochondrial and Heme Function as Hallmarks for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers 2016 - Journal Article
SCT Promoter Methylation Is a Highly Discriminative Biomarker for Lung and Many Other Cancers 2015 - Journal Article
Professor and Head
University of Texas at Dallas [2007–Present]
Columbia University [2004–2004]
Columbia University [2004–2007]
New York University [2001–2003]
New York University [1995–2000]
Graduate Student Researcher
University of California, Los Angeles [1986–1990]
- 1985-1986 P.R. China Fellowship;
- 1985-1990 UCLA Non-resident Tuition Fellowship;
- 1991-1993 The Jane Coffin Childs Fellowship for Medical Research;
- 1999-2003 The Monique Weill-Caulier Medical Scholarship;
- 2006 Top 1% of cited authors for journals in Molecular Biology and Genectics & Madison Whos Who;
- 2007- The Cecil H. and Ida Green Distinguished Chair of Systems Biology
Heme is the iron-containing molecule in hemoglobin that gives blood its deep red hue and binds to oxygen, allowing for its distribution throughout the body. “The field has progressed significantly throughout the last decade,” Zhang said. “It’s something I’ve studied for years now, and I thought it was the right time to work on this project.” Throughout her more than 15-year career, Zhang has made significant contributions to the field of molecular biology—particularly in the study of heme signaling and its role in tumor development, shortage of blood supply to tissues in the body and defective heme synthesis.
Recent research has shown that cancer cells have a much different – and more complex – metabolism than normal cells. Now, scientists at The University of Texas at Dallas have found that exploiting these differences might provide a new strategy to combat lung cancer.
In an article
published online May 21 in the journal PLOS ONE
, UT Dallas researchers compared the metabolic characteristics of “non-small-cell” lung cancer cells with normal lung cells taken from the same patient.
The University of Texas at Dallas has appointed a noted Columbia University professor of environmental health sciences to lead the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology
Dr. Li Zhang will also hold the Cecil H. and Ida Green Distinguished Chair in Systems Biology Science. She starts work Nov. 1.
Zhang will succeed Dr. Donald Gray, who has headed the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology for three years and previously from 1985 to1995.
University of Texas at Dallas scientists have demonstrated that the growth rate of the majority of lung cancer cells relates directly to the availability of a crucial oxygen-metabolizing molecule.
In a preclinical study, recently published in Cancer Research
, biologist Dr. Li Zhang
and her team showed that the expansion of lung tumors in mice slowed when access to heme — the oxygen-binding molecule in hemoglobin — was restricted. The researchers also showed that those same cancers grew faster when more heme was available than normal.
Learning from graph-structured data: new algorithms for modeling physical interactions in cellular networks.
An oxygen sensing network involving heme and chaperones