Headshot of Ping Zhuang

Zhengping Zhuang, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Center for Cancer Research
  • National Cancer Institute
Neuro-Oncology Branch


Dr. Zhuang is a research scientist who leads the Cancer Stem Cell Biology Research Program in the Neuro-Oncology Branch (NOB). His program uses critical patient observations to drive bench research, which is then translated for clinical use. He has investigated the role of hypoxia signaling in tumor pathophysiology throughout his career, which led him to discover a unique neuroendocrine tumor syndrome caused by a somatic gain-of-function mutation in the genes encoding hypoxia-inducible factor 2α (HIF2α), causing Pacak-Zhuang syndrome. 

This model has helped him explore the role of hypoxia signaling in tumor pathophysiology, including brain tumors. His lab is currently investigating hypoxia signaling, IDH mutations, and p53 mutations in brain tumor development and progression—using patient-derived stem cell and neuroprogenitor cell in vitro and in vivo models. His lab is also applying these findings to the development of novel therapeutic agents, including immunomodulating agents and CAR-T cell therapies for brain tumors. Some of these agents have already entered clinical trials at the NOB.

Explore the NOB's Research Programs >

Areas of Expertise

Cancer Genetics
Translational Research

Information for Patients

Learn about our multidisciplinary approach to patient care, our clinical trials and the highly specialized care teams who lead them.


Selected Key Publications

Transgenic Mouse Model of Polycythemia, Paraganglioma, and Somatostatinoma with Epas1 Gain-of-function Mutation.

Wang H., Cui J., Yang C., Rosenblum J., Zhang Q., Song Q., Pang Y., Fang F., Sun M., Dmitriev P., Gilbert M.R., Eisenhofer G., Pacak K., Zhuang Z
Cancers. 11(5): 667, 2019. [ Journal Article ]

Targeting Hypoxia Downstream Signaling Protein, CAIX, for CAR-T Cell Therapy against Glioblastoma.

Cui J., Zhang Q., Song Q., Wang H., Dmitriev P., Sun M., Indig I., Rosenblum J., Yang K., Yao Y., Gilbert M.R., Zhuang Z.
Neuro-Oncology. 21(11): 1436-46, 2019. [ Journal Article ]

Pharmacologic inhibition of protein photastase-2A, with novel inhibitor LB-100, achieves durable immune-mediated antitumor activity when combined with PD-1 blockade.

Ho W.S., Wang H., Maggio D., Kovach J.S., Zhang Q., Song Q., Marincola F.M., Heiss J.D., Gilbert M.R., Lu R., Zhuang Z.
Nature Communications. 9(1): 2126, 2018. [ Journal Article ]

β-catenin signaling initiates the activation of astrocytes and its dysregulation contributes to the pathogenesis of astrocytomas

Yang C, Iyer RR, Yu AC, Yong RL, Park DM, Weil RJ, Ikejiri B, Brady RO, Lonser RR, and Zhuang Z.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 109(18): 6963-8, 2012. [ Journal Article ]

Somatic HIF2A gain-of-function mutations in paraganglioma with polycythemia

Zhuang Z, Yang C, Lorenzo F, Merino M, Fojo T, Kebebew E, Popovic V, Stratakis CA, Prchal JT, and Pacak K.
New Engl J Med. 367(10): 922-30, 2012. [ Journal Article ]

Job Vacancies

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Staff Scientist
Herui Wang, Ph.D.
Research Fellow
Tara Doucet-O’Hare, Ph.D.
Visiting Fellow
Juan Ye, Ph.D.
Visiting Fellow
Xueyu Sang, Ph.D.
Visiting Fellow
Yaping Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.
Visiting Fellow
Qingfeng Xue, M.D.
OxCam Fellow
Yasemin Cole
OxCam Fellow
Mitchell Sun


CD8 staining of mouse brain tumor tissue confirming that immune cells called CD8+ T cells are increased in the vaccine group.

A New Vaccine to Target Treatment-Resistant Glioblastoma

March 8, 2024

The rWTC-MBTA vaccine extended survival and prevented tumor recurrence in preclinical brain tumor models. Read more >

Microscopy image of glioblastoma cells

August 4, 2022

Summer interns investigated methods to improve immunotherapy, tailor survivorship programs, and target cancer cells using antibiotics. Read more >

Scientist in lab working at computer

Neuro-Oncology Branch 2020 Year in Review

January 22, 2021

Together, our clinical team, research laboratories, and staff have made meaningful advancements to improve outcomes for patients and their families impacted by brain and spine tumors. Read more >