Department of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology at the University of Pittsburgh
Zhang Lab Hillman Cancer Center Research Pavillion 2.43
5117 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Zhang lab

The Zhang lab studies the molecular mechanisms of apoptosis induced by anti-cancer agents. Common epithelial malignancies, including cancers of breast, colon and lung, are often resistant to standard treatments such as chemotherapy and irradiation. We are investigating how apoptosis regulators, including PUMA, Bax and SMAC/Diablo, mediate apoptosis induced by anticancer agents, and whether deregulation of these proteins contributes to acquired resistance to anticancer agents. We identified PUMA as a BH3-only Bcl-2 family protein that plays an essential role in DNA damage-induced and p53-dependent apoptosis. We also found that the proapoptotic Bcl-2 family protein BAX and the mitochondrial apoptogenic protein SMAC/Diablo mediate apoptosis induced by NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), which have been used for chemoprevention of colon cancer. Efforts are currently undertaken to restore apoptosis regulation in human cancer cells by modulating these proteins. The long-term goal of our research is to develop improved strategies and novel agents for chemotherapy and chemoprevention of human cancer.

Lin Zhang, PhD

Liheng Yang, PhD

Darleny Y. Lizardo, PhD

Denise Risnik, PhD

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