Tian Zhang

Zhang, Tian

Primary Appointment

Assistant Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics


  • Ph.D., General Biology, University of Rochester

Contact Information

1340 Jefferson Park Ave. Pinn Hall Room 6053
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Email: cgm8ck@virginia.edu

Research Disciplines

Biochemistry, Bioinformatics and Genomics, Biotechnology, Cancer Biology, Genetics, Molecular Pharmacology

Research Interests

Integrating high-throughput proteomic, chemical, genetic and computational tools for target identification and drug discovery in cancer biology

Research Description

Protein abundance and post-translational modifications (PTMs) are tightly regulated to control cellular activities and developmental processes. Dysregulated protein function, either through abnormal protein levels or PTMs, disrupts normal cellular activities and can lead to complex diseases. Studies focusing on kinases and phosphatases involved in cancer development have identified targets, leading to many therapeutic discoveries. Targeting kinases, such as EGFR, ABL and more recently CDK4/6, has been an effective therapeutic strategy in many cancer types. Despite these advances, challenges remain.

How complex interactions between a patient’s genetic background and their environment influences protein and PTMs in cancer growth and treatment is largely unknown. Tumor heterogeneity, and drug resistance and the limitation of druggable targets remain problems in kinase-targeted cancer therapies. Therefore, an urgent need exists for target identification and drug discovery efforts. The continual development of more accurate, faster, comprehensive, and affordable proteomics and chemoproteomics technologies has greatly expanded our capacity to understand protein and PTMs regulation in disease models and to discover new therapeutic treatments.

In the Zhang Lab, we will integrate high-throughput proteomic, chemical, genetics and computational tools to investigate how related factors influence protein abundance and PTMs through diverse mechanisms to facilitate therapeutic treatment development for diseases, especially cancer.

Selected Publications