MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Zhiqiang An

Dr. Zhiqiang  An

Regular Member


The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Institute of Molecular Medicine

We are studying the cancer drug resistance mechanisms in the human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER/ErbB) signaling pathways using monoclonal antibodies as platform technology. Drug resistance is often a limiting factor for clinical efficacy of existing cancer therapies. Growing evidence indicates that HER3/ErbB3 plays an important role in the overall HER signaling pathway and in drug resistance. Currently, there are no HER3-targeting therapies and clinical development of HER3 therapeutics is limited. By employing in vitro, in vivo, and clinical approaches, we are studying the molecular basis of physiological and pathophysiological states of the HER3 mediated signaling cascade. The proteolytic process mediated by proteases including matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the tumor microenvironment plays a critical role in tumor growth, invasion, metastasis, and cancer drug resistance. The molecular mechanisms underlining the complex roles of proteases in cancer biology are currently poorly understood. Recent studies suggest that proteases in tumor microenvironment may invade host immunosurveillance by cleavage of antibodies or shedding cell surface receptors to allow cancer cells to escape immune response. We are studying the interactions between proteases and anti-tumor antibodies in the tumor microenvironment to delineate the roles of proteases play in tumor resistance to antibody immune therapies.


  • Detection of phosphorylation states of signaling molecules in the HER/ErbB pathway in cancer cell lines, xenograft tissues, and in breast cancer clinical samples by Nanopro and Western blotting
  • Visualization of protein-protein interactions on cell surface using Proximity Ligation Assay
  • Testing therapeutic antibody drug efficacy in cancer xenograft models
  • Generation of antibodies against cancer target via immunization and hybridoma methods
  • Cloning of antibody encoding gene from antibody producing B cells and hybridoma cells
  • Affinity maturation of antibody via phage display
  • Humanization of antibodies for drug development
  • Protein and antibody purification
  • Development of stable cell line expressing cancer targets


IMM Faculty

Contact Information

Phone: 713.500.3011


Office: IMM SRB 532


Ph.D. - University of Kentucky - 1991


Faculty is Currently: