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Chao Zhang

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

B.S., 1998, Peking University
Ph.D. 2004, Princeton University
Office: LJS 369
Phone: (213) 740-7040
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Research Focus


Research in the Zhang lab centers on the development and application of chemical modulators of signaling proteins, in particular those involved in cancer and autoimmunity. The goal is to achieve a better understanding of normal and aberrant signaling and accelerate the development of novel therapeutics for these human diseases. A combination of structural bioinformatics, molecular design and protein engineering will be employed in our study.

Postdoctoral Position opening: we are seeking self-motivated individuals with PhD in Chemistry, Biochemistry or Cell Biology to join the lab.

Selected publications


Chen, Y. C., Backus, K. M., Merkulova, M., Yang, C., Brown, D., Cravatt, B. F. & Zhang, C., Covalent Modulators of the Vacuolar ATPase. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2017. 139(2):639-42, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b12511

Zhao, J., Zheng, Y., Xu, S., Chen, J., Shen, G., Yu, C., Knipe, D., Yuan, W., Peng, J., Xu, W., Zhang, C., Xia, Z. & Feng, P., A Viral Deamidase Targets the Helicase Domain of RIG-I to Block RNA-Induced Activation. Cell Host Microbe. 2016, pii: S1931-3128(16)30437-1, DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2016.10.011

Kung, A., Chen, Y. C., Schimpl, M., Ni, F., Zhu, J., Turner, M., Molina, H., Overman, R. & Zhang, C., Development of Specific, Irreversible Inhibitors for a Receptor Tyrosine Kinase EphB3. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2016138(33):10554-60, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b05483

Chen, Y. C. and Zhang, C., A method for pulling down and identifying cellular targets of covalent kinase inhibitors. Genes & Cancer. 2016, DOI: 10.18632/genesandcancer.106

Liu, X., Kung, A., Malinoski, B., Prakash, G.K.S. & Zhang, C., "Development of Alkyne-Containing Pyrazolopyrimidines to Overcome Drug Resistance of Bcr-Abl Kinase"  Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 2015, 58, (23), 9228-37.

Hwang, C., Kung, A., Kashemirov, B., Zhang, C. & McKenna, C., "5’-β,γ-CHF-ATP Diastereomers: Synthesis and Fluorine-Mediated Selective Binding by c-Src Protein Kinase"  Organic Letters  201517, (7), 1624-7.

Xu, L., Chen, Y.C., Chong, J., Fin, A., McCoy, L.S., Xu, J., Zhang, C., and Wang, D., Pyrene-Based Quantitative Detection of the 5-Formylcytosine Loci Symmetry in the CpG Duplex Content during TET-Dependent Demethylation. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 2014, 53, (42), 11223-7.

Xu, L., Chen, Y. C., Nakajima, S., Chong, J., Wang, L., Lan, L., Zhang, C., and Wang, D., A chemical probe targets DNA 5-formylcytosine sites and inhibits TDG excision, polymerases bypass, and gene expression. Chemical Science  2014, 5, (2), 567-74.

Zhang, C., Lopez, M. S., Dar, A. C., Ladow, E., Finkbeiner, S., Yun, C. H., Eck, M. J., and Shokat, K. M., Structure-Guided Inhibitor Design Expands the Scope of Analog-Sensitive Kinase Technology. ACS Chem. Biol.  2013, 8, (9), 1931-8. 


Selected Previous Publications:

Poulikakos, P.I.; Zhang, C.; Bollag, G.; Shokat, K.M. & Rosen, N.  RAF inhibitors transactivate RAF dimers and ERK signalling in cells with wild-type BRAF. Nature 2010, 464(7287), 427-30.

Lourido, S., Shuman, J., Zhang, C., Shokat, K.M., Hui, R. & Sibley, L.D.  Calcium-dependent protein kinase 1 is an essential regulator of exocytosis in Toxoplasma. Nature 2010, 465(7296), 359-62.

Korennykh, A.V., Egea, P.F., Korostelev, A.A., Finer-Moore, J., Zhang, C., Shokat, K.M., Stroud, R.M. & Walter, P.  The unfolded protein response signals through high-order assembly of Ire1. Nature 2009, 457(7230), 687-93.

Zhang, C. & Shokat, K.M.  Enhanced selectivity for inhibition of analog-sensitive protein kinases through scaffold optimization. Tetrahedron 2007, 63(26), 5832-5838.

Zhang, C., Kenski, D.M., Paulson, J.L., Bonshtien, A., Sessa, G., Cross, J.V., Templeton, D.J. & Shokat, K.M.  A second-site suppressor strategy for chemical genetic analysis of diverse protein kinases. Nature Methods 2005, 2(6), 435-41.

Cohen, M. S.; Zhang, C.; Shokat, K. M.; Taunton, J. Structural bioinformatics-based design of selective, irreversible kinase inhibitors. Science 2005, 308(5726), 1318-21.

Papa, F.R., Zhang, C., Shokat, K. & Walter, P.  Bypassing a kinase activity with an ATP-competitive drug. Science 2003, 302(5650), 1533-7. 

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