Qisheng Zhang

PhD, School of Pharmacy, UNC-Chapel Hill, Molecular Therapeutics

PhD
Associate Director
School of Pharmacy
UNC-Chapel Hill
Molecular Therapeutics

Area of interest

My research interest is focused on understanding the roles of endogenous small molecules, particularly phospholipids, in cell signaling events that are responsible for both normal development and diseases. Phospholipids play essential roles in all living organisms. Other than being major membrane constituents in cells, many phospholipids function as signaling molecules. Consequently, abnormal levels of phospholipids and aberrant regulation of their metabolizing enzymes have been associated with onset and progression of various
diseases. However, how phospholipid signaling pathways regulate normal development and diseases is still poorly understood, largely due to their dynamic metabolism in the cells and the lack of available reagents and assays for phospholipids and their metabolic enzymes. I am interested in three different approaches to profile and understand phospholipids:

  1. develop small molecule sensors and inhibitors for different phospholipid metabolizing enzymes
  2. develop efficient methods and technologies to profile phospholipids and use the resulting data for precision medicine and identification of new signaling molecules
  3. investigate cellular functions of known and unknown phospholipids, particularly their synergistic actions with small GTPases ADP ribosylation factors in regulating protein trafficking in signaling transduction

More recently, we have also extended our efforts to drug discovery towards diseases (particularly cancer and Parkinson’s disease) where phospholipid metabolizing enzymes are dysregulated. Toward this end, we are constructing library of small molecules with unique structures and functions.

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