Department of Medicine
Faculty Profiles by Division

Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine

Faculty Profiles

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photo Liyong Zhang, PhD

Research Instructor in Medicine


Office: BST1 W1200-27B
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Administrative Assistant:
Roe Catley
Phone: 412-624-8669
Fax: 412-383-7113
Education and Training
PhD, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, 2003
MS, Northeast Normal University, 2000
Research Associate, University of Pittsburgh, 2008
Postdoctoral fellow, Medical College of Georgia, 2005
Research Interest
Research interests focus on clarifying the molecular mechanisms underlying human diseases and identifying potential therapeutic targets as well as biomarkers. Specifically,

Stem cells: adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) and cancer stem cells (CSCs)
1) Isolation, characterization, and tri-differentiation of ASCs.
2) Paracrine secretion potency of adipose tissue components including SVFs, ASCs, fat particles, and adipocytes from breast cancer patients.
3) Assessment of the interaction between breast cancer cells and adipose tissue components in vitro, and in vivo.
4) Identification of coactivator activator (CoAA) as CSC marker.

Inflammation and immune regulation by nitric oxide (NO) and the inducible NO synthase (iNOS)
1) TLR3 tyrosine 759 phosphorylation enhances interferon-ß synthesis through iNOS/PKR/Src axis in hepatocytes.
2) Prohibitin 1 associates with iNOS to regulate TNFR1 shedding in hepatocytes.

Ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) in genomic stability and tumorigenesis
1) Proteolysis of Rad17 by Cdh1/APC regulates checkpoint termination and recovery from genotoxic stress.
2) Regulation of KLF4 turnover reveals an unexpected tissue-specific role of pVHL in tumorigenesis
3) Involvement of casein kinase II in APC-mediated TGF-ß signaling.

Molecular mechanism studies reveal potential therapeutic targets for cancer
1) Protein biomarker identification from ESCC serum, and an ELISA kit (Cat # RD194034200R) commercialized by BioVendor-Laboratorní medicína, a.s.
2) The function of stefin A in cancer cells - new tools for angiogenesis drug discovery commercialized by BioMol International.
3) Identification of differentially expressed genes in ESCC and the novel role characterization of stomatin-like protein 2 (SLP-2).
4) Identification of differentially expressed miRNAs in pancreatic cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, and head and neck cancer, and analysis of the role of miRNA candidates in pancreatic cancer.
For my complete bibliography, Click Here.
Selected Publications:
Zhang, L., Wang, Y, Rashid M. H., Liu, M., Angara, K., Mivechi, N. F., Maihle, N. J., Arbab, A. S., Ko, L. Malignant pericytes expressing GT198 give rise to tumor cells through angiogenesis. Oncotarget. 2017; online advance publication: doi:10.18632/oncotarget.18196.
Zhang, L., Zhao, Z., Xu, S., Tandon, M., LaValle, C.R., Deng, F., Wang, Q.J. Androgen suppresses protein kinase D1 expression through fibroblast growth factor receptor substrate 2 in prostate cancer cells. Oncotarget. 2017; 8(8): 12800-12811.
Zhang, L., Xiang, W., Wang, G., Yan, Z., Zhu, Z., Guo, Z., Sengupta, R., Chen, A. F., Loughran, P. A., Lu, B., Wang, Q., Billiar, T. R. IFN-ß Production During the dsRNA Response in Hepatocytes Involves Coordinated and Feed Forward Signaling Through TLR3, PKR, iNOS and Src. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2016; 291(29): 15093-15107.
Wang, H., Wang, G., Zhang, L., Zhang, J., Zhang, J., Wang, Q., Billiar, T. R. ADAR1 Suppresses the Activation of Cytosolic RNA-Sensing Signaling Pathways to Protect the Liver from Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury. Scientific Reports. 2016; 6: 20248.
Deng, M., Loughran, P. A., Zhang, L., Scott, M. J., Billiar, T. R. Shedding of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor from the surface of hepatocytes during sepsis limits inflammation through cGMP signaling. Science Signaling. 2015; 8(361): ra11.
Zhou, Z., Jing, C., Zhang, L., Takeo, F., Kim, H., Huang, Y., Liu, Z., Wan, Y. Regulation of Rad17 protein turnover unveils an impact of Rad17-APC cascade in breast carcinogenesis and treatment. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2013; 288(25): 18134-18145.
Gamper, A. M., Qiao, X., Kim, J., Zhang, L., DeSimone, M. C., Rathmell, W. K., Wan, Y. Regulation of KLF4 turnover reveals an unexpected tissue-specific role of pVHL in tumorigenesis. Molecular Cell. 2012; 45(2): 233-243.
Zhang, L., Fujita, T., Wu, G., Xiao, X., Wan, Y. Phosphorylation of the anaphase-promoting complex/Cdc27 is involved in TGF-beta signaling. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2011; 286(12): 10041-10050.
Zhang, L., Park, C. H., Wu, J., Kim, H., Liu, W., Fujita, T., Balasubramani, M., Schreiber, E. M., Wang, X. F., Wan, Y. Proteolysis of Rad17 by Cdh1/APC regulates checkpoint termination and recovery from genotoxic stress. The EMBO Journal. 2010; 29(10): 1726-1737.
Zhang, L., Ding, F., Cao, W., Liu, Z., Liu, W., Yu, Z., Wu, Y., Li, W,, Li, Y., Liu, Z. Stomatin-like protein 2 is overexpressed in cancer and involved in regulating cell growth and cell adhesion in human esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Clinical Cancer Research. 2006; 12(5): 1639-1646.
Notable Achievements
American Association for Cancer Research, 2008
Sigma Xi, the Scientific Society, 2010