Zhang Awarded $1.9 Million NIH Grant

Yong (Tiger) Zhang, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences at the USC School of Pharmacy, was awarded a five-year, $1.9 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant for his project entitled “Chemistry and Biology of ADP-Ribosylation-Dependent Signaling.”

Cellular proteins are often subjected to a variety of chemical modifications. Among key protein modifications is ADP-ribosylation — whose modification levels and activities are associated with many human diseases such as cancer, immune disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.

“In-depth understanding of ADP-ribosylation and its involvements in human health has proven challenging due to its highly dynamic and heterogenous nature,” Zhang says. “This grant will support my efforts to take an innovative, multidisciplinary approach for solving the puzzles of ADP-ribosylation in modulating human health.”

Through integrating knowledge and technologies in synthetic chemistry, protein biochemistry, proteomics and cell biology, the Zhang lab plans to dissect molecular interaction networks centered on protein ADP-ribosylation and delineate cellular signaling pathways mediated by ADP-ribosylation.

“This NIH-funded study will advance our understanding of complex ADP-ribosylation in physiological and pathological processes and may lead to major breakthroughs in the development of new diagnostics and therapeutics for different human diseases,” Zhang says.