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Zhiqiang An, PhD (adjunct)

Dr. Zhiqiang An joined the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in 2009 after more than 15 years in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. He is appointed Professor of Molecular Medicine, the Robert A. Welch Distinguished University Chair in Chemistry, and Director of the Texas Therapeutics Institute (TTI) at the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine. Previously, he served as Chief Scientific Officer at Epitomics, Inc. and was Director of the Biologics Research at Merck Research Laboratories. He started his biotech/pharmaceutical career at Millennium Pharmaceuticals where he worked in the field of biocombinatorial natural products drug discovery using microbial molecular genetics and engineering approaches. Dr. An received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and his postdoctoral training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. An is studying the cancer drug resistance mechanisms in the human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER/ErbB) signaling pathways using monoclonal antibodies as platform technology. Drug resistance is often a limiting factor for clinical efficacy of existing cancer therapies. Growing evidence indicates that HER3/ErbB3 plays an important role in the overall HER signaling pathway and in drug resistance. Currently, there are no HER3-targeting therapies and clinical development of HER3 therapeutics is limited. By employing in vitro, in vivo, and clinical approaches, he is studying the molecular basis of physiological and pathophysiological states of the HER3 mediated signaling cascade. The proteolytic process mediated by proteases including matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the tumor microenvironment plays a critical role in tumor growth, invasion, metastasis, and cancer drug resistance. The molecular mechanisms underlining the complex roles of proteases in cancer biology are currently poorly understood. Recent studies suggest that proteases in tumor microenvironment may invade host immunosurveillance by cleavage of antibodies or shedding cell surface receptors to allow cancer cells to escape immune response. We are studying the interactions between proteases and anti-tumor antibodies in the tumor microenvironment to delineate the roles of proteases play in tumor resistance to antibody immune therapies.

Search PubMed for Dr. An's publications.