Zhi Sheng

Zhi Sheng, PhD

Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine

Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

Research Program Summary

Glioblastoma, a lethal and incurable brain cancer, often recurs after conventional therapies such as resection, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, possibly because cancer stem cells in glioblastoma (termed as glioma stem cells) are spared by these treatments. Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is characterized by a fusion tyrosine kinase BCR-ABL sufficient and necessary for malignant transformation in CML. Imatinib (Gleevec or STI571) that inhibits BCR-ABL kinase activity is currently the first-line therapy in CML. Nevertheless, many patients relapse after a period of treatment, possibly because of the drug resistance exhibited by leukemic stem cells. Therefore, new therapies should specifically aim at eradicating cancer stem cells. Autophagy, apoptosis, necrosis, mitotic catastrophe, and senescence are forms of cell death critical for homeostasis in normal tissues. They are often misregulated in cancer stem cells and contribute to therapeutic resistance, however. The research in my laboratory aims to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which cell death is misregulated in cancer stem cells of glioblastoma or CML. Genome-wide RNA interference screen is a novel functional high-throughput screening approach widely used in studying cancer genetics. Many new oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes have been identified using such a screen. My laboratory will use this approach to address several critical questions in cancer research: (1) autophagy regulation in glioblastoma or CML; (2) regulation of mitotic catastrophe in glioblastoma; (3) therapeutic resistance in glioblastoma and CML; and (4) development of novel therapeutics to eradicate cancer stem cells.

For a full listing of Dr. Sheng's publications, visit PubMed.

Education and Training

  • State University of New York Downstate Medical Center: Ph.D., Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University: M.S., Biochemistry
  • Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University: B.S., Forensic Science

Previous Positions

  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
    Postdoctoral Associate

Selected Publications

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