About Xu Dong Zhang
Professor Xu Dong Zhang’s research career began with a PhD in medicine from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, after he practiced as a surgical oncologist in China for 10 years. Following a hospital scientist and, later, a senior hospital scientist position at the Oncology and Immunology Unit of Newcastle Calvary Mater Hospital, he was recruited to the University of Newcastle as a professor leading the Cancer Cell Biology (Melanoma) laboratory. He is the Co-Director of the Priority Research Centre for Cancer Research, Innovation and Translation of the University of Newcastle and the Deputy Director of the Cancer Research Program of Hunter Medical Research Institute.
Xu Dong Zhang has focused on translational cancer research with an overall aim to improve the outcome of cancer patients. His early research on overcoming resistance of cancer cells to programmed cell death was primarily conducted in the context of melanoma. He was among the first to dissect the apoptotic pathways induced by TNF-related apoptosis ligand (TRAIL) and a number of therapeutic drugs in melanoma cells. He was also among the first to demonstrate the importance of the mitogen activated protein kinase pathway in protection of melanoma cells from programmed cell death. His research has laid the basis for our current understanding of the adaptation to endoplasmic stress in melanoma development, progression, and treatment response.
Xu Dong Zhang has expanded his research interest to understanding the role of nonprotein-coding RNAs in cancer cell biology, in particular, the role of long nonprotein-coding RNAs in regulating cancer cell responses to cellular stress, such as genotoxic stress and metabolic stress. Here he conducted his research mostly in the context of colorectal and lung cancer. His research has significantly broadened the scope of the field of ncRNAs in resistance of cancer cells to treatment. His group has pioneered our understanding of ncRNA mechanisms in protecting cancer cells from genotoxic stress, metabolic stress and endoplasmic reticulum stress. The research by his group has also resulted in the identification of the oncogenic roles of a number of long nonprotein-coding coding RNAs, pointing to the potential of long nonprotein-coding RNAs as biomarkers for early diagnosis and patient prognosis as well as molecular targets for cancer treatment.