UA Pharmacy Professor Receives 2 NIH Grants of More than $3 Million to Study Arsenic

News Release Date: 
Tuesday, July 19, 2016

(UAHS News) Donna Zhang, PhD, professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, is the principal investigator on two new R01 grants from the National Institutes of Health that will provide more than $3 million for her research.

The first project, “Nrf2, Autophagy and Arsenic Carcinogenesis,” will investigate the detailed mechanism by which arsenic causes lung cancer. In turn, this will allow investigators to identify markers of exposure to identify populations at risk of developing arsenic-induced lung cancer, as well as to develop tailored therapies for the individuals who already have developed the disease. This project is funded by grant number 1R01 ES0268745, NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, for $1.7 million over five years.

The second project, "Arsenic, Nrf2 and Autophagy Dysfunction in Type II Diabetes," will investigate the molecular mechanisms by which arsenic alters the proteotoxic and oxidative stress responses to determine if these alterations aid the onset and progression of diabetes. This project is funded by grant number 1R01 DK109555, NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, for $1.9 million over five years.

Dr. Zhang also is a member of the University of Arizona Cancer Center's Cancer Prevention and Control unit and of the UA BIO5 Institute.