Donna D Zhang, PhD

Cancer Prevention and Control Program

Biography

Donna D. Zhang received her Ph.D. from New York University in 1997. After a brief postdoctoral fellowship at the DuPont-Haskell Laboratory, she joined the University of Arizona as an Assistant Professor in 2005 where she is currently a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmacy. 

Dr. Zhang’s research program focuses on investigating the key physiological and pathological roles of the Nrf2-Keap1-ARE signaling pathway in mediating disease. She has published over 130 well-received papers as evidenced by her total citations (20597) and h-index (57). Dr. Zhang has made seminal contributions to both the mechanistic understanding of Nrf2 regulation and the role of Nrf2 in human diseases. 

Cancer Focus

Projects with cancer focus includes Nrf2 regulation and the role of NRF2 in cancer (lung, colon, liver and skin), utilizing many gene-specific knockout mice or transgenic mice/cell lines. One exciting area of research is screening/developing drugs that target Nrf2 for cancer prevention/intervention. The Zhang team has discovered many small-molecules that activate Nrf2 and are effective for chemoprevention. On the other hand, the lab is investigating the “darkside” of Nrf2 in cancer. Her group demonstrated that hyperactivation of Nrf2 also contributes to chemoresistance, cancer progression and metastasis. Therefore, the team is currently developing Nrf2 inhibitors with the hope that someday these compounds will be used therapeutically to improve cancer treatment.