Ping Zhang, Ph.D.

Ping Zhang, Ph.D.
NIH Earl Stadtman Investigator

Kinase Fusion proteins, produced by chromosomal rearrangements, represent an important class of oncoproteins that are viable targets for the development of anti-cancer drugs. Our work in this area includes projects such as DNAJB1-PKACA, the driver of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma (FLHCC) and ALK fusion proteins which are present in multiple cancers.  My group uses a combination of biochemical and structural (single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (CryoEM) and X-ray crystallography) approaches to reveal the molecular mechanisms of such multi-component biological complexes and provide new strategies for therapeutic targeting.

We also collaborate with different laboratories on projects that tend to have a translational component, including the study of nucleosome complexes.

Areas of Expertise
1) kinase, 2) cell signaling, 3) cancer biology, 4) structural biology

Contact Info

Ping Zhang, Ph.D.
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Advanced Technology Research Facility (ATRF), Room B2230
Frederick, MD 21701
Ph: 301-228-4092

My laboratory studies the structural and mechanistic basis of kinases that are closely related to human cancers. We apply interdisciplinary approaches spanning many fields such as cryoEM, X-ray crystallography, solution methods, biochemistry, cell signaling and post-translational modification, etc. We aim to combine structural and functional studies to reveal the molecular mechanism of kinase complexes' dysfunction and help develop novel reagents that may eventually lead to a cure for cancer and other diseases.

Scientific Focus Areas:
Biomedical Engineering and Biophysics, Cancer Biology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Structural Biology
  1. Zhang P, Ye F, Bastidas AC, Kornev AP, Wu J, Ginsberg MH, and Taylor SS.
    Structure. 23(9): 1563-72, 2015. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Zhang P, Knape MJ, Ahuja L, Keshwani MM, King CC, Sastri M, Herberg FW, and Taylor, SS.
    PLoS Biol. 13(7): e1002192, 2015. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Taylor SS, Ilouz R, Zhang P, and Kornev, A.
    Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 13(10): 646-58, 2012. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Zhang P, Smith-Nguyen EV, Keshwani MM, Deal MS, Kornev AP, and Taylor SS.
    Science. 335(6069): 712-6, 2012. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Zhang P, Mueller S, Morais MC, Bator C, Bowman VD, Hafenstein S, Wimmer E, and Rossmann MG.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 105(47): 18284-9, 2008. [ Journal Article ]

Dr. Zhang received her Ph.D. training in Dr. Michael Rossmann’s lab at Purdue University in the field of biochemistry and structural virology.  Her Ph.D. project was resolving the structures of poliovirus-receptor complexes using X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM).  She completed her postdoctoral training in Dr. Susan Taylor’s laboratory at UCSD, working on a signal transduction system related to human diseases and learning other techniques in structural biology and cell signaling that are suited for studying dynamic signaling complexes. She joined the Structural Biophysics Laboratory at NCI as a Stadtman Tenure Track Investigator in August 2016.

Name Position
Baohua Cao Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Juliana Andrea Martinez Fiesco Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Sathish Narashimiha Yadav Kadapalakere Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)