Weizhou Zhang, MS, PhD

Associate Professor of Pathology
Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology

Contact Information

Primary Office
4202 Medical Education Research Facility
Iowa City, IA 52242


BS, Microbiology, Nankai University, Tianjin, China
MS, Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
PhD, Microbiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York University, NY
Postdoctoral Fellow, Fellow, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York School of Medicine
Postdoctoral Fellow, Fellow, Pharmacology, University of California, San Diego

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Molecular Medicine

Research Summary

Role of inflammation in breast cancer initiation, progression and metastasis.


Borcherding, N., Kolb, R., Gullicksrud, J., Vikas, P., Zhu, Y. & Zhang, W. (2018). Keeping Tumors in Check: A Mechanistic Review of Clinical Response and Resistance to Immune Checkpoint Blockade in Cancer. Journal of molecular biology, 430(14), 2014-2029. PMID: 29800567.

Borcherding, N., Cole, K., Kluz, P., Jorgensen, M., Kolb, R., Bellizzi, A. & Zhang, W. (2018). Reevaluating E-Cadherin and ß-Catenin: A Pan-Cancer Proteomic Approach with an Emphasis on Breast Cancer. The American journal of pathology. PMID: 29879416.

Yang, J., Li, J., Suzuki, K., Liu, X., Wu, J., Zhang, W., Ren, R., Zhang, W., Chan, P., Izpisua Belmonte, J. C., Qu, J., Tang, F. & Liu, G. H. (2017). Genetic enhancement in cultured human adult stem cells conferred by a single nucleotide recoding. Cell research, 27(9), 1178-1181. PMID: 28685772.

Ren, R., Deng, L., Xue, Y., Suzuki, K., Zhang, W., Yu, Y., Wu, J., Sun, L., Gong, X., Luan, H., Yang, F., Ju, Z., Ren, X., Wang, S., Tang, H., Geng, L., Zhang, W., Li, J., Qiao, J., Xu, T., Qu, J. & Liu, G. H. (2017). Visualization of aging-associated chromatin alterations with an engineered TALE system. Cell research, 27(4), 483-504. PMID: 28139645.

Shao, P., Liu, Q., Maina, P. K., Cui, J., Bair, T. B., Li, T., Umesalma, S., Zhang, W. & Qi, H. H. (2017). Histone demethylase PHF8 promotes epithelial to mesenchymal transition and breast tumorigenesis. Nucleic acids research, 45(4), 1687-1702. PMID: 27899639.

Kolb, R., Phan, L., Borcherding, N., Liu, Y., Yuan, F., Janowski, A. M., Xie, Q., Markan, K. R., Li, W., Potthoff, M. J., Fuentes-Mattei, E., Ellies, L. G., Knudson, C. M., Lee, M. H., Yeung, S. J., Cassel, S. L., Sutterwala, F. S. & Zhang, W. (2016). Obesity-associated NLRC4 inflammasome activation drives breast cancer progression. Nature communications, 7, 13007. PMID: 27708283.

Yuan, F., Kolb, R., Pandey, G., Li, W., Sun, L., Liu, F., Sutterwala, F. S., Liu, Y. & Zhang, W. (2016). Involvement of the NLRC4-Inflammasome in Diabetic Nephropathy. PloS one, 11(10), e0164135. PMID: 27706238.

Janowski, A. M., Colegio, O. R., Hornick, E. E., McNiff, J. M., Martin, M. D., Badovinac, V. P., Norian, L. A., Zhang, W., Cassel, S. L. & Sutterwala, F. S. (2016). NLRC4 suppresses melanoma tumor progression independently of inflammasome activation. Journal of clinical investigation, 126(10), 3917-3928. PMID: 27617861.

Kolb, R., Sutterwala, F. S. & Zhang, W. (2016). Obesity and cancer: inflammation bridges the two. Current opinion in pharmacology, 29, 77-89. PMID: 27429211.

Li, Y., Zhang, W., Chang, L., Han, Y., Sun, L., Gong, X., Tang, H., Liu, Z., Deng, H., Ye, Y., Wang, Y., Li, J., Qiao, J., Qu, J., Zhang, W. & Liu, G. H. (2016). Vitamin C alleviates aging defects in a stem cell model for Werner syndrome. Protein & cell, 7(7), 478-488. PMID: 27271327.

Pan, H., Guan, D., Liu, X., Li, J., Wang, L., Wu, J., Zhou, J., Zhang, W., Ren, R., Zhang, W., Li, Y., Yang, J., Hao, Y., Yuan, T., Yuan, G., Wang, H., Ju, Z., Mao, Z., Li, J., Qu, J., Tang, F. & Liu, G. H. (2016). SIRT6 safeguards human mesenchymal stem cells from oxidative stress by coactivating NRF2. Cell research, 26(2), 190-205. PMID: 26768768.

Park, J. M., Wu, T., Cyr, A. R., Woodfield, G. W., De Andrade, J. P., Spanheimer, P. M., Li, T., Sugg, S. L., Lal, G., Domann, F. E., Zhang, W. & Weigel, R. J. (2015). The role of Tcfap2c in tumorigenesis and cancer growth in an activated Neu model of mammary carcinogenesis. Oncogene, 34(50), 6105-14. PMID: 25772240.

Duan, S., Yuan, G., Liu, X., Ren, R., Li, J., Zhang, W., Wu, J., Xu, X., Fu, L., Li, Y., Yang, J., Zhang, W., Bai, R., Yi, F., Suzuki, K., Gao, H., Esteban, C. R., Zhang, C., Izpisua Belmonte, J. C., Chen, Z., Wang, X., Jiang, T., Qu, J., Tang, F. & Liu, G. H. (2015). PTEN deficiency reprogrammes human neural stem cells towards a glioblastoma stem cell-like phenotype. Nature communications, 6, 10068. PMID: 26632666.

Kusner, D., Borcherding, N. & Zhang, W. (2015). Paracrine WNT5A signaling in healthy and neoplastic mammary tissue. Molecular & cellular oncology, 3(1), e1040145. PMID: 27308558.

Borcherding, N., Bormann, N., Kusner, D., Kolb, R. & Zhang, W. (2015). Transcriptome analysis of basal and luminal tumor-initiating cells in ErbB2-driven breast cancer. Genomics data, 4, 119-122. PMID: 26167451.

Borcherding, N., Kusner, D., Kolb, R., Xie, Q., Li, W., Yuan, F., Velez, G., Askeland, R., Weigel, R. J. & Zhang, W. (2015). Paracrine WNT5A signaling inhibits expansion of tumor-initiating cells. Cancer research, 75(10), 1972-82. PMID: 25769722.

Xie, Q., Klesney-Tait, J., Keck, K., Parlet, C., Borcherding, N., Kolb, R., Li, W., Tygrett, L., Waldschmidt, T., Olivier, A., Chen, S., Liu, G. H., Li, X. & Zhang, W. (2015). Characterization of a novel mouse model with genetic deletion of CD177. Protein & cell, 6(2), 117-26. PMID: 25359465.

Cyr, A. R., Kulak, M. V., Park, J. M., Bogachek, M. V., Spanheimer, P. M., Woodfield, G. W., White-Baer, L. S., O-Malley, Y. Q., Sugg, S. L., Olivier, A. K., Zhang, W., Domann, F. E. & Weigel, R. J. (2015). TFAP2C governs the luminal epithelial phenotype in mammary development and carcinogenesis. Oncogene [epub ahead of print], 34(4), 436-44. PMID: 24469049.

Mahauad-Fernandez, W. D., Borcherding, N. C., Zhang, W. & Okeoma, C. M. (2015). Bone marrow stromal antigen 2 (BST-2) DNA is demethylated in breast tumors and breast cancer cells. PloS one, 10(4), e0123931. PMID: 25860442.

Reed, S. M., Hagen, J., Muniz, V. P., Rosean, T. R., Borcherding, N., Sciegienka, S., Goeken, J. A., Naumann, P. W., Zhang, W., Tompkins, V. S., Janz, S., Meyerholz, D. K. & Quelle, D. E. (2014). NIAM-deficient mice are predisposed to the development of proliferative lesions including B-cell lymphomas. PLoS One, 9(11), e112126. PMID: 25393878.

Wu, X., Zhang, W., Font-Burgada, J., Palmer, T., Hamil, A. S., Biswas, S. K., Poidinger, M., Borcherding, N., Xie, Q., Ellies, L. G., Lytle, N. K., Wu, L. W., Fox, R. G., Yang, J., Dowdy, S. F., Reya, T. & Karin, M. (2014). Ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme Ubc13 controls breast cancer metastasis through a TAK1-p38 MAP kinase cascade. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 111(38), 13870-5. PMID: 25189770.

Borcherding, N., Kusner, D., Liu, G. H. & Zhang, W. (2014). ROR1, an embryonic protein with an emerging role in cancer biology [ePub ahead of print]. Protein Cell, 5(7), 496-502. PMID: 24752542.

Kolb, R., Liu, G. H., Janowski, A. M., Sutterwala, F. S. & Zhang, W. (2014). Inflammasomes in cancer: a double-edged sword. Protein and cell, 5(1), 12-20. PMID: 24474192.

Janowski, A. M., Kolb, R., Zhang, W. & Sutterwala, F. S. (2013). Beneficial and Detrimental Roles of NLRs in Carcinogenesis. Frontiers in immunology, 4, 370. PMID: 24273542.

Li, M., Liu, W., Yuan, T., Bai, R., Liu, G. H., Zhang, W. & Qu, J. (2013). DNA methylome: Unveiling your biological age. Protein & cell, 4(10), 723-5. PMID: 24104390.

Wang, P., Qu, J., Wu, M. Z., Zhang, W., Liu, G. H. & Izpisua Belmonte, J. C. (2013). "TET-on" pluripotency. Cell research, 23(7), 863-5. PMID: 23732523.

Ammirante, M., Kuraishy, A. I., Shalapour, S., Strasner, A., Ramirez-Sanchez, C., Zhang, W., Shabaik, A. & Karin, M. (2013). An IKKa-E2F1-BMI1 cascade activated by infiltrating B cells controls prostate regeneration and tumor recurrence. Genes & development, 27(13), 1435-40. PMID: 23796898.

Zhang, W., Tan, W., Wu, X., Poustovoitov, M., Strasner, A., Li, W., Borcherding, N., Ghassemian, M. & Karin, M. (2013). A NIK-IKKa module promotes ErbB2-induced mammary tumorigenesis and tumor initiating cell expansion by stimulating nuclear export of tumor suppressor p27/Kip1. Cancer Cell, 23(5), 647-59. PMID: 23602409.

Guan, D., Zhang, W., Zhang, W., Liu, G. H. & Izpisua Belmonte, J. C. (2013). Switching cell fate, ncRNAs coming to play. Cell Death and Disease, 4(1), e464. PMID: 23328671.

Zhang, W., Grivennikov, S. I. (2013). Top Notch cancer stem cells by paracrine NF-?B signaling in breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research, 15(5), 316. PMID: 24172068.

Xu, X., Qu, J., Suzuki, K., Li, M., Zhang, W., Liu, G. H. & Izpisua Belmonte, J. C. (2012). Reprogramming based gene therapy for inherited red blood cell disorders. Cell research, 22(6), 941-4. PMID: 22473006.

Zhang, W., Guan, D., Qu, J., Zhang, W. & Liu, G. H. (2012). Non-viral iPSCs: a safe way for therapy?. Protein & cell, 3(4), 241-5. PMID: 22528750.

Kong, S. D., Sartor, M., Hu, C. M., Zhang, W., Zhang, L. & Jin, S. (2012). Magnetic field activated lipid-polymer hybrid nanoparticles for stimuli-responsive drug release. Acta Biomateriala, 9(3), 5447-52. PMID: 23149252.

Zhang, W., Duan, S., Li, Y., Xu, X., Qu, J., Zhang, W. & Liu, G. H. (2012). Converted neural cells: induced to a cure?. Protein & cell, 3(2), 91-7. PMID: 22410787.

Pan, H., Zhang, W., Zhang, W. & Liu, G. H. (2011). Find and replace: editing human genome in pluripotent stem cells. Protein & cell, 2(12), 950-6. PMID: 22173708.

Tan, W., Zhang, W., Strasner, A., Grivennikov, S., Cheng, J. Q., Hoffman, R. M. & Karin, M. (2011). Tumour-infiltrating regulatory T cells stimulate mammary cancer metastasis through RANKL-RANK signalling. Nature, 470(7335), 548-53. PMID: 21326202.

Kong, S. D., Zhang, W., Lee, J. H., Brammer, K., Lal, R., Karin, M. & Jin, S. (2010). Magnetically Vectored Nanocapsules for Tumor Penetration and Remotely Switchable On-Demand Drug Release. Nano letters, 10(12), 5088-92. PMID: 21038917.

Zhang, W., Kater, A. P., Widhopf, G. F., Chuang, H. Y., Enzler, T., James, D. F., Poustovoitov, M., Tseng, P. H., Janz, S., Hoh, C., Herschman, H., Karin, M. & Kipps, T. J. (2010). B-cell activating factor and v-Myc myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog (c-Myc) influence progression of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(44), 18956-60. PMID: 20956327.

Tseng, P. H., Matsuzawa, A., Zhang, W., Mino, T., Vignali, D. A. & Karin, M. (2010). Different modes of ubiquitination of the adaptor TRAF3 selectively activate the expression of type I interferons and proinflammatory cytokines. Nature immunology, 11(1), 70-5. PMID: 19898473.

Enzler, T., Kater, A. P., Zhang, W., Widhopf, G. F., Chuang, H. Y., Lee, J., Avery, E., Croce, C. M., Karin, M. & Kipps, T. J. (2009). Chronic lymphocytic leukemia of Emu-TCL1 transgenic mice undergoes rapid cell turnover that can be offset by extrinsic CD257 to accelerate disease progression. Blood, 114(20), 4469-76. PMID: 19755673.

Vallabhapurapu, S., Matsuzawa, A., Zhang, W., Tseng, P. H., Keats, J. J., Wang, H., Vignali, D. A., Bergsagel, P. L. & Karin, M. (2008). Nonredundant and complementary functions of TRAF2 and TRAF3 in a ubiquitination cascade that activates NIK-dependent alternative NF-kappaB signaling. Nature immunology, 9(12), 1364-70. PMID: 18997792.

Matsuzawa, A., Tseng, P. H., Vallabhapurapu, S., Luo, J. L., Zhang, W., Wang, H., Vignali, D. A., Gallagher, E. & Karin, M. (2008). Essential cytoplasmic translocation of a cytokine receptor-assembled signaling complex. Science, 321(5889), 663-8. PMID: 18635759.

Zhang, W., Cheng, G. Z., Gong, J., Hermanto, U., Zong, C. S., Chan, J., Cheng, J. Q. & Wang, L. H. (2008). RACK1 and CIS mediate the degradation of BimEL in cancer cells. The Journal of biological chemistry, 283(24), 16416-26. PMID: 18420585.

Cheng, G. Z., Zhang, W., Sun, M., Wang, Q., Coppola, D., Mansour, M., Xu, L. M., Costanzo, C., Cheng, J. Q. & Wang, L. H. (2008). Twist is transcriptionally induced by activation of STAT3 and mediates STAT3 oncogenic function. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 283(21), 14665-73. PMID: 18353781.

Cheng, G. Z., Zhang, W. & Wang, L. H. (2008). Regulation of cancer cell survival, migration, and invasion by Twist: AKT2 comes to interplay. Cancer research, 68(4), 957-60. PMID: 18281467.

Cheng, G. Z., Park, S., Shu, S., He, L., Kong, W., Zhang, W., Yuan, Z., Wang, L. H. & Cheng, J. Q. (2008). Advances of AKT pathway in human oncogenesis and as a target for anti-cancer drug discovery. Current cancer drug targets, 8(1), 2-6. PMID: 18288938.

Masker, K., Golden, A., Gaffney, C. J., Mazack, V., Schwindinger, W. F., Zhang, W., Wang, L. H., Carey, D. J. & Sudol, M. (2007). Transcriptional profile of Rous Sarcoma Virus transformed chicken embryo fibroblasts reveals new signaling targets of viral-src. Virology, 364(1), 10-20. PMID: 17448514.

Cheng, G. Z., Chan, J., Wang, Q., Zhang, W., Sun, C. D. & Wang, L. H. (2007). Twist transcriptionally up-regulates AKT2 in breast cancer cells leading to increased migration, invasion, and resistance to paclitaxel. Cancer research, 67(5), 1979-87. PMID: 17332325.

Zhang, W., Zong, C. S., Hermanto, U., Lopez-Bergami, P., Ronai, Z. & Wang, L. H. (2006). RACK1 recruits STAT3 specifically to insulin and insulin-like growth factor 1 receptors for activation, which is important for regulating anchorage-independent growth. Molecular and cellular biology, 26(2), 413-24. PMID: 16382134.

López-Bergami, P., Habelhah, H., Bhoumik, A., Zhang, W., Wang, L. H. & Ronai, Z. (2005). RACK1 mediates activation of JNK by protein kinase C [corrected]. Molecular cell, 19(3), 309-20. PMID: 16061178.

Zhao, D. P., Zhang, W., Xue, Y. F. & Ma, Y. H. (2004). Amphibacillus haojiensis sp. nov.--a novel alkaliphilic and slight halophilic bacterium from Haoji Soda Lake in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. Wei sheng wu xue bao = Acta microbiologica Sinica, 44(6), 720-3. PMID: 16110946.

Ma, Y., Zhang, W., Xue, Y., Zhou, P., Ventosa, A. & Grant, W. D. (2004). Bacterial diversity of the Inner Mongolian Baer Soda Lake as revealed by 16S rRNA gene sequence analyses. Extremophiles : life under extreme conditions, 8(1), 45-51. PMID: 15064989.

Zhang, W., Xue, Y., Ma, Y., Zhou, P., Ventosa, A. & Grant, W. D. (2002). Salinicoccus alkaliphilus sp. nov., a novel alkaliphile and moderate halophile from Baer Soda Lake in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology, 52(Pt 3), 789-93. PMID: 12054239.

Zhang, W., Xue, Y., Ma, Y., Grant, W. D., Ventosa, A. & Zhou, P. (2002). Marinospirillum alkaliphilum sp. nov., a new alkaliphilic helical bacterium from Haoji soda lake in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China. Extremophiles, 6(1), 33-7. PMID: 11878559.

Zhang, W., Wenyang, M., Xue, Y., Ma, Y. & Zhou, P. (2001). The diversity of alkaliphiles from hailaer soda lake, Inner Mongolia. Biodiversity Science, 9(1), 44-50.