Department of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology at the University of Pittsburgh
Wei Qian, PhD
Research Instructor
Hillman Cancer Center 5117 Centre Avenue Research Pavilion Suite 2.6, Lab 2.1
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Phone: 412-623-7804

Fax: 412-623-7761

BS (Kinesiology), Shandong Normal University, China, 1999
MS (Kinesiology and Biochemistry), East China Normal University, China, 2002
PhD (Biochemistry), Osaka City University, Japan, 2007

Research Areas
Drug Discovery
Photo of Wei Qian, PhD

Mitochondria play important roles in many cellular processes, such as modulating reactive oxygen species (ROS), energy metabolism, and apoptosis. Mitochondria also contribute significantly to the tumor development and the response of tumor cells to anticancer therapy. Mitochondria are thus emerging as promising therapeutic targets for cancer. Dr. Qian revealed that the mitochondrial genome is crucial for the effect of platinum anticancer agents; and the disruption of mitochondrial dynamics impacts genome stability, which established a novel link between the changes of mitochondrial morphology with cancer and aging. Dr. Qian’s work has led to the discovery of the important anticancer properties of mitochondrial division inhibitors (a novel class of thioxodihydroquinazolinone small molecules), including the tumor cell-specific antimitotic effect through inducing acentrosomal mitotic spindles (acentrosomal spindle inducers, ASI), and the synergistic effect with platinum-based chemotherapeutic drugs in drug resistant tumors through activating Bax/Bak-independent mitochondrial apoptosis. Platinum drug resistance is directly related with cancer treatment failure and shorter survival for many types of cancers. Dr. Qian’s current research interests focus on the development of mitochondrial-targeted ROS-based novel anticancer therapeutic strategies, understanding the role of mitochondrial genome in cellular genome stability, and the preclinical development and mechanism studies of thioxodihydroquinazolinone small molecules in drug resistant cancers.

Important Publications
Ma J, Lim C, Sacher JR, Van Houten B, Qian W, Wipf P. Mitochondrial targeted beta-lapachone induces mitochondrial dysfunction and catastrophic vacuolization in cancer cells. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 25(21):4828-33, 2015
Qian W, Salamoun J, Wang J, Roginskaya V, Van Houten B, and Wipf P. The combination of thioxodihydroquinazolinones and platinum drugs reverses platinum resistance in tumor cells by inducing mitochondrial apoptosis independent of Bax and Bak. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 25(4):856-63, 2015
Wang J, Hansen K, Edwards R, Van Houten B, Qian W. Mitochondrial division inhibitor 1 (mdivi-1) enhances death receptor-mediated apoptosis in human ovarian cancer cells. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 456(1):7-12, 2015
Qian W, Wang J, Roginskaya V, McDermott LA, Edwards RP, Stolz DB, Llambi L, Green D, and Van Houten B. Novel combination of mitochondrial division inhibitor 1 (mdivi-1) and platinum agents produces synergistic pro-apoptotic effect in drug resistant tumor cells. Oncotarget 5(12):4180-94, 2014
Qian W, Choi S, Gibson GA, Watkins SC, Bakkenist CJ, Van Houten B. Mitochondrial hyperfusion induced by loss of the fission protein Drp1 causes ATM-dependent G2/M arrest and aneuploidy through DNA replication stress. J Cell Sci. 125(Pt 23):5745-57, 2012
Qian W, Nishikawa M, Haque M, Hirose M, Mashimo M, Sato E, and Inoue M. Mitochondrial density determines the cellular sensitivity to cisplatin-induced cell death. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 289, C1466-75, 2005

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