Dianzheng Zhang, PhD | Department of Bio-Medical Sciences
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Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Dr. Zhang’s general interest is the nutrient control of gene expression in health and disease. Particularly, he is interested in the regulation of gene expression by micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, as well as phytochemicals.

As living organisms, we continuously exchange chemical components with the environment; the exchange nutrients are implicated in the regulation of gene expression and cell fates, which ultimately confer life or death. With increasing knowledge of the importance of nutrition in our aging population, medicine is shifting its focus from treatment of acute diseases, to the prevention of cancer and chronic diseases. It has been estimated that thirty to fifty percent of all chronic diseases are preventable by attention to dietary factors.

Present research projects in his laboratory are focused on, but not limited to, the (1) molecular mechanisms of chemo-preventive effects of different phytochemicals, especially resveratrol, in prostate cancer development, (2) mechanisms of resveratrol effects on tensin expression and prostate cancer, and (3) the underlying molecular mechanisms of TMPRSS fusion with ETS transcriptional factors (ERG in particular) in cancer prevention and gene therapy.


PhD, Nutritional Science, The University of Arizona, Tucson, 2001
MS, Biochemistry, Hunan Medical University, Changsha, P. R. China, 1987
BS, Chemistry, Qufu Teaching University Qufu, Shandong, P. R. China


Dr. Zhang teaches the following courses: Introduction to Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Cellular and Molecular Basis of Medicine (CMBM). Dr. Zhang’s courses cover the following content areas: hormonal regulation of metabolisms, ATP and energy generation, dietary carbohydrate metabolism, dietary proteins, fatty acid synthesis, and lipoproteins.


Research Keywords

Prostate cancer
Androgen receptor


2008 Visiting Professor: Changsha Medical College, Hunan Province, PRC

2007 Visiting Professor: Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine, Central South University, Hunan Province, PRC

2006 Young Researcher Scholarship for AICR/WCRF International Research Conference on Food, Nutrition and Cancer (2006, Washington, D.C.) American Institute of Cancer Research and World cancer Research Fund International

2005 Outstanding Performance and Excellence in Scientific Presentation The 2005 Texas Chapter Annual Symposium

2003 Award for Excellent Presentation of Research Society of Chinese Biochemists in America, Texas Chapter

1990 Advanced Research Award Hunan province, P. R. China

1989 Excellent Teaching Award Hunan Medical University, P. R. China


Resveratrol, Aging and Prostate Cancer. $5000 (2006); The Center for Chronic Disorders of Aging (CCDA), Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Effects of Resveratrol in Aging and Prostate Cancer, $15,859; 01/01/2007-21/31/2010, 2006 Formula Grant, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Health Statistics and Research

Chromosomal Translocation-Induced Overexpression of ERG and Prostate Tumorigenesis, $15,000; 07/2008-06/2010, Christian R. Mary F. Lindback Foundation

Modification of Resveratrol and Identification of More Potent Prostate Cancer Prevention Reagents: $300,000; 6/1/2010-5/31/2013 SynStar Inc.