Dr. Zhiqiang An, Ph.D.
Professor, Texas Therapeutics Institute
Email Address: Zhiqiang.An@uth.tmc.edu
Phone Number: 713-500-3011
Room Number: 532
Dr. Zhiqiang An joined the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in 2009 after more than 15 years in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. He is appointed Professor of Molecular Medicine, the Robert A. Welch Distinguished University Chair in Chemistry, and Director of the Texas Therapeutics Institute (TTI) at the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine. TTI was established in 2010 with funding from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, The University of Texas System, and The UT Health Science Center at Houston for the discovery and development of therapeutic agents and diagnostic tools. TTI research is funded by competitive grants from federal and state agencies and private foundations such as NIH, CPRIT, ETF, UT System Star awards, and the Welch Foundation. More importantly, TTI has established major collaborations with industry partners on a variety of drug discovery projects. Previously, he served as Chief Scientific Officer at Epitomics, Inc. and was Director of the Biologics Research at Merck Research Laboratories. He started his biotech/pharmaceutical career at Millennium Pharmaceuticals where he worked in the field of biocombinatorial natural products drug discovery using microbial molecular genetics and engineering approaches. Dr. An received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and his postdoctoral training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dr. An’s group focuses on the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies and antibiotics against human diseases including cancer and infectious diseases. Currently, we have five major research areas. 1) cancer drug resistance mechanisms in the human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER/ErbB) signaling pathways using monoclonal antibodies as platform technology; 2) the interactions between proteases and anti-tumor antibodies in the tumor microenvironment to delineate the roles of proteases play in tumor resistance to antibody immune therapies; 3) biomarkers for therapeutic monoclonal antibodies targeting the HER/ErbB signaling pathways; 4) high throughput technologies for cloning and characterization of antibodies from animals and humans in response to experimental vaccines, and 5) Pnemocandin biosynthesis and biocombinatorial chemistry approach for natural products drug discovery.
In addition to the research projects, Dr. An’s team has established a comprehensive antibody drug discovery platform with a focus on antibody lead optimization technologies such as antibody phage display, deep sequencing of antibody encoding genes from individual antibody expressing B cells, affinity maturation and humanization. Through the CPRIT Therapeutic Antibody Core, the team offers Texas-wide access to specialized technical expertise, instrumentation, and automation to advance lead antibodies with “drug like” properties from academic laboratories to the stage of preclinical development.