Zhihong Wang PhD

Zhihong Wang

Zhihong Wang PhD

Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry


BS, Chemistry, Yantai University

MS, Chemistry, Xiamen University

PhD, Chemistry, University of Utah

Postdoctoral Training, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Research Interests

  • Illuminating the molecular mechanisms of aberrant activation of oncogenic kinases
  • Dissecting the affected signaling pathways where oncogenic kinases lie in
  • Examining the effects of posttranslational modification on enzyme activity and its physiological role


Protein phosphorylation, catalyzed by kinases, is the most universal mechanism of regulating protein function and transmitting signals throughout the cell. Aberrant activation of kinases causes dysfunction of cell signaling and regulatory pathways, resulting in numerous human diseases including cancer. Our laboratory is interested in the molecular logic of kinase function under normal and pathological conditions. By integrating techniques from biochemistry, proteomics, molecular biology, and cell biology, we currently study the molecular mechanism of BRAF activation, regulation, and oncogenesis. The long-term goal of our research is to enhance our biochemical understanding of the origin of cancer and to provide a better molecular basis for drug development.

Lab Website: https://sites.google.com/usciences.edu/zhihong-wang/home

Selected Scholarly Activity

Publications: (* denotes corresponding author; undergraduate co-authors are underlined)

Publications as an independent investigator:

Nicolas Cope, Borna Novak, Christine Candelora, Kenneth Wong, Maria Cavallo, Amber Gunderwala, Zhiwei Liu, Yana Li, and Zhihong Wang*. Biochemical Characterization of Full-Length Oncogenic BRAFV600E Together with Molecular Dynamics Simulations Provide Insight into the Activation and Inhibition Mechanisms of RAF Kinases. Accepted by ChemBioChem (DOI: 10.1002/cbic.20190266) (2019)

Amber Gunderwala, Anushri Nimbvikar, Nicholas Cope, Zhijun Li, and Zhihong Wang*. Development of Allosteric BRAF Peptide Inhibitors Targeting the Dimer Interface of BRAF. Accepted by ACS Chem.Bio. (DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.9b00191) (2019)

Nicolas Cope, Christine Candelora, Kenneth Wong, Sujeet Kumar, Haihan Nan, Michael Grasso, Borna Novak, Yana Li, Ronen Marmorstein, and Zhihong Wang*. Mechanism of BRAF Activation Through Biochemical Characterization of the Recombinant Full-Length Protein. ChemBioChem 19(18), 1988-1997 (2018) This article is collected under ChemBioTalent Issue featuring young researchers in the field of chemical biology.

Zhihong Wang*, Min-Sik Kim, Isabel Martinez Ferrando, Anthony Koleske, Akhilesh Pandey, and Philip A. Cole*. Analysis of Cellular Tyrosine Phosphorylation via Chemical Rescue of Conditionally Active Abl Kinase. Biochemistry 57(8), 1390-1398 (2018)

Yang W. Zhang, Zhihong Wang, Wenbing Xie, Yi Cai, Limin Xia, Hariharan Easwaran, Ray-Whay Chiu Yen, and Stephen B. Baylin. Acetylation Enhances TET2 Function in Protecting Against Abnormal DNA Methylation During Oxidative Stress. Molecular Cell 65(2), 323-335 (2017). (PMCID: PMC5260804)

Zhihong Wang* and Christian Candelora. In Vitro Enzyme Kinetics Analysis of Full-Length EGFR Purified from HEK293 Cells. Methods in Molecular Biology. 1487, 23-33. (2016) (Invited chapter)

Publications as a post-doctoral fellow:

Jennifer M. Kavran, Jacqueline M. McCabe, Patrick O. Byrne, Mary Katherine Tarrant, Zhihong Wang, Alexander Ramek, Sarvenaz Sarabipour, Yibing Shan, David E. Shaw, Kalina Hristova, Philip A. Cole, and Daniel J. Leahy. How IGF-1 Activates Its Receptor. eLife 2014; 3:e03772 (2014). The results were highlighted by eLife 2014, 3: e04909 (2014).

Zhihong Wang and Philip A. Cole. Catalytic Mechanisms and Regulation of Protein Kinases. Methods in Enzymology. 548, 1-21. (2014).

Zhihong Wang, Lily Raines, Richard M. Hooy, Heather Roberson, Daniel J. Leahy, and Philip A. Cole. Tyrosine Phosphorylation of Mig6 Reduces Its Inhibition of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor. ACS Chem. Biol. 203, 2372-2376 (2013). The results were featured in the Faculty 1000 Cell Biology.

Zhihong Wang, Patti A. Longo, Mary Katherine Tarrant, Kwangsoo Kim, Sarah Head, Daniel J. Leahy, and Philip A. Cole. Mechanistic Insights into the Activation of Oncogenic Forms of EGF Receptor. Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol.18, 1388-1393 (2011). The results were highlighted by Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. News and Views 19, 1-3 (2012).

Kathryn E. Muratore, Markus A. Seeliger, Zhihong Wang, Dina Fomina, Johnathan Neiswinger, James J. Havranek, David Baker, John Kuriyan, and Philip A. Cole. Comparative Analysis of Mutant Tyrosine Kinase Chemical Rescue. Biochemistry 48, 3378-3386 (2009).

Contact Information

Office location: Griffith Hall, Room 340
Mailing address: Box # 48
University of Sciences
600 South 43rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495
Office Phone: 215-596-7082

z [dot] wang [at] usciences [dot] edu