Dr. Zhiqiang An
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Institute of Molecular Medicine
Dr. Zhiqiang An is Professor of Molecular Medicine, the Robert A. Welch Distinguished University Chair in Chemistry, and Director of the Texas Therapeutics Institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. His laboratory focuses on cancer antibody drug resistance mechanisms, biomarkers for cancer therapeutic antibodies, and antibody drug discovery targeting cancer and infectious diseases. Dr. An also directs the Therapeutic Monoclonal Antibody Lead Optimization and Development Core Facility funded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). Previously, he served as Chief Scientific Officer at Epitomics, Inc. and was Director of Biologics Research at Merck Research Laboratories. He started his biotech career at Millennium Pharmaceuticals. Dr. An received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Kentucky and his postdoctoral training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is an elected fellow of Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. He is also an elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.
- Cancer therapeutic monoclonal antibody drug discovery. our group has built a comprehensive antibody drug discovery platform with a focus on antibody lead optimization technologies such as antibody phage display, deep sequencing of antibody encoding genes from individual antibody expressing B cells, affinity maturation and humanization. Currently, we have multiple collaborative antibody drug discovery projects targeting various cancer types.
- Cancer antibody drug resistance mechanisms. Immune suppression is recognized as a hallmark of cancer and this notion is largely based on studies on cellular immunity. Our recent studies have demonstrated a new mechanism of cancer suppression of immunity by impairment of antibody effector function mediated by proteolytic enzymes in the tumor microenvironment.
- Determining signaling of cancer development biology as a foundation for cancer therapy. Our group is working on generation of HER3 targeting antibodies and characterizing their modes of action. Further, the group is working on filling knowledge gaps with regards to signaling and regulation of EGFL6, a regulator of angiogenesis, drug resistance, and cancer stem-cell maintenance.
- Antibodies response to viral infections and vaccination. Design of highly immunogenic vaccines that induce neutralizing antibodies against a broad range of clinical isolates is one of the approaches in developing effective viral vaccine. We have an on-going project to aid the design of HCMV and dengue vaccines by profiling antibody response to the experimental vaccines in rhesus and humans.