Dr. Xiaodong Cheng
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology
Our laboratory studies intracellular signaling associated with second messenger cAMP. We apply multidisciplinary approaches, coupling biochemistry, biophysics and cell biology with pharmacology and chemical biology, to understand the structure and function of exchange proteins directly activated by cAMP (EPAC). Our goals are to unravel the signaling intricacies of EPAC proteins and to design pathway specific probes for these important signaling molecules so that their functions can be pharmaceutically exploited and modulated for the treatment of human diseases.
Our laboratory has developed first-in-class EPAC selective inhibitors and EPAC knockout mouse models to study the physiological functions and diseases relevance of this family of important signaling molecules. Recently, we have demonstrated that EPAC inhibition is effective in the prevention and treatment of fatal rickettsioses. Currently, we are actively engaged in developing second generation isoform specific EPAC inhibitors and agonists and in exploring their potential uses in various human diseases including cancer, diabetes, chronic pain and infections.