Dr Liang Zhang received his Bachelor of Medicine (MD equivalent) degree in 2001 with honor from Peking University Health Science Center in Beijing, China. He obtained his PhD degree from the University of Iowa and his PhD research was on delineating the cellular mechanisms that determine the transduction efficiency of adeno-associated virus (AAV) in normal epithelia and cancer cells, under the supervision of Dr John Engelhardt. He performed his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr Jeffrey Wrana on dissecting the signaling mechanisms of cancer metastasis, at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto, Canada.
Our research aims to elucidate the mechanisms by which cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment communicate with each other. The reciprocal interactions between cancer cells and the stromal tissues are recognized as a hallmark of cancer that plays a prime role in tumor initiation, growth, angiogenesis, invasion, metastasis, as well as drug resistance. The current research focus in the laboratory is exosomes, which are small extracellular vesicles that have gained increasing attention for their potent roles in mediating intercellular communication during cancer and other human diseases. We will employ multidisciplinary approaches that incorporate proteomics, genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, and microscopy to dissect the signaling networks that are implicated in exosome-mediated cancer-stroma crosstalk. Over the next few years, my team will engage in the following areas of research:
- To investigate the signaling networks that function in response to exosomes and Wnts to promote migration and metastasis of cancer cells.
- To dissect the molecular machineries that facilitate the biogenesis and function of pro-metastasis exosomes.
- To delineate the molecular mechanisms underlying exosomal association of Wnts, which are essential signaling proteins implicated in development and cancer.
Overall these projects aim to elucidate of the molecular and signaling mechanisms that underlie the function of exosomes in cancer-stroma crosstalk. The outcomes will help exploit the full potential of exosomes to discover non-invasive biomarkers of cancer and other human diseases. In addition, we expect our research to open new windows for designing innovative exosome-based bioengineering and clinical applications.
With respect to training, the underpinning goal of our laboratory is to endow the trainees with comprehensive knowledge of advanced developments and outstanding research skills in cancer biology and biotechnology so that they would become leaders in the academic, industrial of government sectors. Motivated candidates who have strong interests in our research are always welcome to join the laboratory as PhD students, research assistants and postdoctoral fellows. Please directly contact Dr Liang Zhang (email@example.com) for more details.
To apply for PhD positions, please refer to the departmental website for information and guidelines. Students are encouraged to apply for the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme and other opportunities.
- Zhang L, Wrana JL. Regulation of Rho GTPases from the lateral sides of migrating cells. Small GTPases. (2016) Sep 22:0.
- Zhang L, Luga V, Armitage SK, Musiol M, Won A, Yip CM, Plotnikov S, Wrana JL. A lateral signaling pathway coordinates shape volatility during cell migration.Nat Communications. (2016) May; 7:11714.
- Zhang L, Wrana JL. The emerging role of exosomes in Wnt secretion and transport. Current Opinion in Genetics and Development. (2014) Aug; 27:14-19.
- Luga V*, Zhang L*, Viloria-Petit AM, Ogunjimi AA, Inanlou MR, Chiu E, Hosein AN, Buchanan M, Basik M, Wrana JL. Exosomes mediate stromal mobilization of autocrine Wnt-planar cell polarity signaling in breast cancer metastasis. Cell. (2012) Dec; 151(7):1542-56. (*Equal contribution authors)
This paper was commented in Nat Rev Cancer. 13(2): 75 and was highlighted in Nat. Med. 19(2):142. It is also recommended by Faculty of 1000.
- Daulat AM, Luu O, Sing A, Zhang L, Wrana JL, McNeill H, Winklbauer R, Angers S. Mink1 regulates β-catenin-independent Wnt signaling via Prickle phosphorylation. Mol Cell Biol. (2012) Jan; 32(1):173-85.
- Narimatsu M, Bose R, Pye M, Zhang L, Miller B, Ching P, Sakuma R, Luga V, Roncari L, Attisano L, Wrana JL. Regulation of planar cell polarity by Smurf ubiquitin ligases. Cell. (2009) Apr; 137(2):295-307.
- Liu X, Luo M, Zhang L, Ding W, Yan Z, Engelhardt JF. Bioelectric properties of chloride secretion by polarized airway epithelia from human, pig, ferret and mouse. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. (2007) Mar; 36(3):313-23.
- Yan Z, Lei-Butters DC, Liu X, Zhang Y, Zhang L, Luo M, Zak R, Engelhardt JF. Unique biologic properties of recombinant AAV1 transduction in polarized human airway epithelia. J Biol Chem. (2006) Oct; 281:29684-92.
- Ding W*, Zhang LN*, Yeaman C, Engelhardt JF. rAAV2 traffics through both the late and the recycling endosomes in a dose-dependent fashion. Mol Ther. (2006) Apr; 13:671-82. (*Equal contribution authors)
- Li Q, Harraz MM, Zhou W, Zhang LN, Ding W, Zhang Y, Eggleston T, Yeaman C, Banfi B, Engelhardt JF. Nox2 and Rac1 regulate H2O2-dependent recruitment of TRAF6 to endosomal interleukin-1 receptor complexes. Mol Cell Biol. (2006) Jan; 26:140-54.
- Liu X, Luo M, Zhang LN, Yan Z, Zak R, Ding W, Mansfield SG, Mitchell LG, Engelhardt JF. Spliceosome-mediated RNA trans-splicing with recombinant adeno-associated virus partially restores cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator function to polarized human cystic fibrosis airway epithelial cells. (2005) Sep; Hum Gene Ther. 16:1116-23.
- Ding W, Zhang L, Yan Z, Engelhardt JF. Intracellular trafficking of adeno-associated viral vectors. Gene Ther. (2005) Jun; 12:873-80.
- Zhang LN, Karp P, Gerard CJ, Pastor E, Laux D, Munson K, Yan Z, Liu X, Godwin S, Thomas CP, Zabner J, Shi H, Caldwell CW, Peluso R, Carter B, Engelhardt JF. Dual therapeutic utility of proteasome modulating agents for pharmaco-gene therapy of the cystic fibrosis airway. Mol Ther. (2004) Dec; 10:990-1002.
- Qiu X, Zhu X, Zhang L, Mao Y, Zhang J, Hao P, Li G, Lv P, Li Z, Sun X, Wu L, Zheng J, Deng Y, Hou C, Tang P, Zhang S, Zhang Y. Human epithelial cancers secrete immunoglobulin G with unidentified specificity to promote growth and survival of tumor cells. Cancer Res. (2003) Oct; 63:6488-95.