Dr. Ningyan Zhang, Ph.D.

Dr. Ningyan Zhang, Ph.D.

Professor and Co-Director, Texas Therapeutics Institute at the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine

Email Address: Ningyan.Zhang@uth.tmc.edu
Phone Number: 713-500-3332
Room Number: SRB 537D


Dr. Zhang joins the Texas Therapeutic Institute and The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) at UTHealth from Merck Research Laboratory where she was a research fellow.

Dr. Zhang received her Ph.D. in plant biochemistry/molecular biology from the University of Kentucky, Lexington. She conducted her postdoctoral training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Dr. Berne Jones laboratory studying the expression and characterization of proteinases during the brewing process. Following her postdoctoral training, Dr. Zhang pursued a career in the pharmaceutical industry with a focus on protein engineering and therapeutic antibody drug discovery research.

Research Interests 

The proteolytic process mediated by proteinases including matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the tumor microenvironment plays a critical role in tumor growth, invasion, metastasis, and cancer drug resistance. The molecular mechanisms underlining the complex roles of proteinases in cancer biology are currently poorly understood. Recent studies suggest that proteinases in tumor microenvironment may invade host immunosurveillance by cleavage of antibodies or shedding cell surface receptors to allow cancer cells to escape immune response. Dr. Zhang will study the interactions between proteinases and anti-tumor antibodies in the tumor microenvironment to delineate the roles of proteinses play in tumor resistance to antibody immune therapies.

In addition to the research projects, Dr. Zhang is Co-Director of the CPRIT Therapeutic Antibody Core. The Core 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.