Donna Zhang

Facility Co-Leader
Pilot Project Coordinator
Research Focus Group Membership: 
Research Focus Group 2

PD 1997-1998 DuPont-Haskell Laboratories Newark, DE
PhD 1991-1997 Molecular Toxicology/Oncology New York University

College Affiliations: 

College of Pharmacy

Research Interests: 

The Nrf2/Keap1 signaling pathway that is activated by oxidative stress and chemopreventive compounds; Regulation of gene expression by the ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation pathway

Environmental Health Research & Expertise: 

Donna D. Zhang is a recognized leader in the field of the Nrf2-Keap1-ARE signaling pathway. Dr. Zhang has been working on this newly discovered Nrf2 signaling pathway since 2002 and has contributed to both the mechanistic understanding of Nrf2 regulation and the dual functions of Nrf2 in cancer. Dr. Zhang is the first one who identified that three cysteine residues of Keap1 (C151, C277 and C288) are important in sensing and regulating the activity of Nrf2 according to cellular redox conditions. Dr. Zhang is among the first who identified that Keap1 is an E-3 ubiquitin ligase that constantly targets Nrf2 for ubiquitination and degradation, which has been proved to be the primary regulation of Nrf2 activity. Dr. Zhang and her team were responsible for linking upregulation of Nrf2 in several types of cancer cells to their chemoresistance and providing strong evidence that inhibiting expression of Nrf2 renders cancer cells more susceptible to chemotherapeutic drugs. Dr. Zhang’s experience/knowledge of the cellular antioxidant signaling pathway made her suited to provide support for the center grant led by Dr. Lau. Dr. Zhang is currently a member of RFG3, ROS & Disease Prevention.

Select Publications


Canet, M. J., M. D. Merrell, B. G. Harder, J. M. Maher, T. Wu, A. J. Lickteig, J. P. Jackson, D. D. Zhang, M. Yamamoto, and N. J. Cherrington, "Identification of a functional antioxidant response element within the eighth intron of the human ABCC3 gene.", Drug Metab Dispos, vol. 43, issue 1, pp. 93-9, 2015 Jan. PubMed PMCID: PMC4279086  PMID: 25349122
Long, M., S. Tao, M. Rojo de la Vega, T. Jiang, Q. Wen, S. L. Park, D. D. Zhang, and G. T. Wondrak, "Nrf2-dependent suppression of azoxymethane/dextran sulfate sodium-induced colon carcinogenesis by the cinnamon-derived dietary factor cinnamaldehyde.", Cancer Prev Res (Phila), vol. 8, issue 5, pp. 444-54, 2015 May. PubMed PMCID: PMC4417412  PMID: 25712056
Bao, L., M. C. Jaramillo, Z. Zhang, Y. Zheng, M. Yao, D. D. Zhang, and X. Yi, "Induction of autophagy contributes to cisplatin resistance in human ovarian cancer cells.", Mol Med Rep, vol. 11, issue 1, pp. 91-8, 2015 Jan. PubMed PMCID: PMC4237096  PMID: 25322694


Tao, S., S. Wang, S. Javad Moghaddam, A. Ooi, E. Chapman, P. K. Wong, and D. D. Zhang, "Oncogenic KRAS confers chemoresistance by upregulating NRF2.", Cancer Res, vol. 74, issue 24, pp. 7430-41, 2014 Dec 15. PubMed PMCID: PMC4268230  PMID: 25339352
Riahi, R., S. Wang, M. Long, N. Li, P-Y. Chiou, D. D. Zhang, and P. Kin Wong, "Mapping photothermally induced gene expression in living cells and tissues by nanorod-locked nucleic acid complexes.", ACS Nano, vol. 8, issue 4, pp. 3597-605, 2014 Apr 22. PubMed PMCID: PMC4004321  PMID: 24645754