Professor Li Zhang completed her PhD at UCLA and postdoctoral studies at the MIT department of Biology. She is the Cecil H. and Ida Green Distinguished Chair in Systems Biology Science at the University of Texas at Dallas. Professor Zhang’s laboratory has studied heme signaling and function for 20+ years and published many original research articles and a book entitled “Heme Biology: The Secret Life of Heme in Regulating Diverse Biological Processes” on this subject. Professor Zhang’s laboratory has also helped unravel the functions of molecular chaperones, oxygen signaling, and the actions of neurotoxicants. Professor Zhang’s recent research interest is to elucidate the metabolic and signaling network coordinating the functions of heme and mitochondria to promote lung tumorigenesis.
Dr. Li Zhang has made major contributions to understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying heme signaling in eukaryotic cells. Heme is central to oxygen sensing and utilization in virtually all living organisms. In mammals, heme is critical for erythroid, hepatic, and neuronal functions. Oxygen sensing is directly related to many fundamental physiological and pathological processes, including angiogenesis, tumor development, and ischemia. Investigating the molecular mechanism of oxygen sensing and heme signaling is the main objective of Dr. Zhang2s lab. Furthermore, Dr. Zhang's lab is interested in investigating the molecular mechanisms by which common neurotoxicants act in neural cells, because studies of neurotoxicants should facilitate the understanding of many neural functions and neurological diseases. Dr. Zhang2s lab combines approaches of molecular and cellular biology with genomics and computational approaches to elucidate the global molecular mechanisms underlying cellular responses to environmental stressors, including hypoxia and environmental toxicants.