Qisheng Zhang, PhD

Associate Professor

The Zhang lab studies lipid signaling pathways that are involved in development and diseases by developing novel chemical probes and technologies. As key components of cellular membranes, lipids also serve as signaling molecules and modify functions of proteins through either covalent or non-covalent interactions. Dys-regulation of lipid signaling has been correlated with various diseases including cancer, diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases. Consequently, many lipid-related proteins or processes have been used as therapeutic targets. However, lipids are dynamically metabolized and transported, making it difficult to illustrate the roles of lipids in development and diseases with limited availability of probes and technologies for lipid studies.

The active projects in the lab include

  1. developing novel technologies to synthesize complex lipids, particularly phosphatidylinositides, and to identify their interacting proteins in live cells;
  2. developing new small-molecule sensors and inhibitors for lipid metabolic enzymes such as PI3K and PLC; and
  3. investigating cellular functions of lipids on different processes, particularly those regulated by small GTPases.


Developing novel chemical probes and technologies to study lipid signaling pathways that are involved in development and diseases.

Education, Certification and Licensure

2003 – 2006 Postdoctoral associate in the area of chemical biology
Adviser: Professor Peter G. Schultz
The Scripps Research Institute
La Jolla, California
1998 – 2003 PhD in organic chemistry
Adviser: Professor Dennis P. Curran
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA
1995 – 1998 MS in organic chemistry
Adviser: Professor Long Lu
Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry
Shanghai, China
1990 – 1995 BE in chemical engineering
Adviser: Professor Jian Chen
Tsinghua University
Beijing, China



  • Huang, W.; Proctor, A.; Sims, C. E.; Allbritton, N. L.; Zhang, Q. Fluorous Enzymatic Synthesis of Phosphatidylinositides. Chem. Commun. 2014, 50, 2928-2931.
  • Huang, W.; Barrett, M.; Hajicek, N.; Hicks, S.; Harden, T. K.; Sondek, J.; Zhang, Q. Small Molecule Inhibitors of Phospholipase C from a Novel High-throughput Screen. J. Biol. Chem. 2013, 288, 5840-5848.
  • Wang, X.; Barrett, M.; Sondek, J.; Harden, T. K.; Zhang, Q. Fluorescent Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-Bisphosphate Derivatives with Modified 6-Hydroxy Group as Novel Substrates for Phospholipase C. Biochemistry 2012, 51, 5300-5306. [PMC journal- in process].
  • Huang, W.; Sun, W.; Song, Z.; Yu, Y.; Chen, X.; Zhang, Q. Incorporation of a Fluorous Diazirine Group into Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-Bisphosphate to Illustrate its Interaction with ADP-ribosylation Factor 1. Org. Biomol. Chem.2012, 10, 5197-5201. [PMC journal- in process].
  • Song, Z.; Huang, W.; Zhang, Q. Isotope-coded, Fluorous Photoaffinity Labeling Reagents. Chem. Commun. 2012, 48, 3339-3341. [PMC journal- in process].
  • Song, Z.; Zhang, Q. Design, Synthesis, and Incorporation of Fluorous 5-Methylcytosines into Oligonucleotides. J. Org. Chem. 2011, 76, 10263-10268. [PMC journal- in process].
  • Huang, W.; Jiang, D.; Wang, X.; Sims, C. E.; Allbritton, N. L.; Zhang, Q. Kinetic Analysis of PI3K Reactions with Fluorescent PIP2 Derivatives. Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 2011, 401, 1881-1888. [PMC journal- in process].
  • Sun, W.; Vanhooke, J.; Sondek, J.; Zhang, Q. High Throughput Fluorescence Polarization Assay for the Enzymatic Activity of GTPase-activating Protein of ADP-ribosylation Factor (ARFGAP). J. Biomol. Screen. 2011, 16, 717-723. [PMC journal- in process].
  • Huang, W.; Hicks, S. N.; Sondek, J.; Zhang, Q. A Fluorogenic, Small Molecule Reporter for Mammalian Phospholipase C Isozymes. ACS Chem. Biol. 2011, 6, 223-228. PMCID: PMC3312000.
  • Liu, R.; Xu, R.; Chen, M.; Weiwer, M.; Zhou, X.; Bridges, A. S.; DeAngelis, P. L.; Zhang, Q.; Linhardt, R. J.; Liu, J. Chemoenzymatic Design of Heparan Sulfate Oligosaccharides. J. Biol. Chem. 2010, 285, 34240-34249. PMCID: PMC2962522.