Yi Qiang “Eric” Cheng, PhD

Yi Qiang “Eric” Cheng, PhD

Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences


Education & Experience:

I received BS and MS from institutions in China, and PhD from Michigan State University, all in the fields of microbiology, biochemistry and natural product chemistry. I completed my postdoctoral training first in the Department of Chemistry at the University of California–Davis, then in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Prior to joining the UNT Health Science Center in May 2013, I was a faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UWM, 2003 to 2013).

Teaching Areas & Interests:

As a faculty member at UWM for 10 years, I taught courses in microbiology and biotechnology at both undergraduate and graduate levels. I mentored numerous undergraduate students, MS graduate students, PhD graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in research in microbiology, biochemistry and natural product chemistry. Now at the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC), I teach Biochemistry and Integrated Pharmacotherapy courses to PharmD students, and Drug Discovery & Development to graduate students.

Professional Activities & Awards:

I am a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Chemical Society, and the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. I currently serve on the editorial board of two scientific journals. I have also served as conference session chairs, and as ad-hoc reviewer for many journals and for a few funding agencies. I received a US Department of Defense BCRP Idea Award (2008) and Arthur E. Schwarting Award for the “Journal of Natural Products,” Best Paper of the Year (2013).

Scholarly Interests:

The overall goal of my research is to discover and develop bioactive natural products from microorganisms as drugs or drug leads for the treatment of cancer, infectious diseases or other human medical conditions. Since graduate school I have been studying the genetics and biochemistry of microbial production of potent antibiotics or anticancer agents. In recent years I redefined my lab research to focus on de novo discovery of natural products from underappreciated microbial sources. To this end, my laboratory discovered several potent histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors and several potent pre-mRNA splicing inhibitors, amongst a few dozens of other natural products. I forged multiple collaborations with external and internal experimental biologists to evaluate selected small molecules at various stages of in vitro and in vivo studies in cell lines and animal models. My research has been supported by NIH grants (R03, R01 and CTSA Pilot Grant), a US Department of Defense BCRP Idea Award and a pilot grant from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, supplemented with institutional funds previously from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UWM) and the UWM Research Foundation, and now from the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC). In addition, I recently initiated a collaborative Oncolytic Virus ImmunoChemoTherapy (OVICT) project. I have coauthored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and several book chapters. I am also an inventor in several issued US and international patents, and pending patents.

Representative Publications:

Wang C, Henkes LM, Doughty LB, He M, Wang D, Meyer-Almes F-J and Cheng Y-Q (2011) Thailandepsins: bacterial products with potent histone deacetylase inhibition activities and broad-spectrum antiproliferative activities. Journal of Natural Products 74:2031-2038. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21793558

Wang C, Flemming CJ, and Cheng Y-Q (2012) Discovery and activity profiling of thailandepsins A through F, potent histone deacetylae inhibitors, from Burkholderia thailandensis E264. MedChemComm 3:976-981 (Natural Products themed issue). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23997923

Liu X, Biswas S, Berg MG, Antapli CM, Xie F, Wang Q, Tang M-C, Tang G-L, Zhang L, Dreyfuss G and Cheng Y-Q (2013) Genomics-guided discovery of thailanstatins A, B, and C as pre-mRNA splicing inhibitors and antiproliferative agents from Burkholderia thailandensis MSMB43. Journal of Natural Products 76:685-693. (Arthur E. Schwarting Award for the Journal of Natural Products Best Paper of the Year) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23517093

Liu X, Zhu H, Biswas S and Cheng Y-Q (2016) Improved production of cytotoxic thailanstatins A and D through metabolic engineering of Burkholderia thailandensis MSMB43 and pilot scale fermentation. Synthetic & Systems Biotechnology 1:34-38. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29062925

Liu X, Xie F, Doughty LB, Wang Q, Zhang L, Liu X and Cheng Y-Q. Genomics-guided discovery of a new and significant better source of anticancer natural drug FK228. Synthetic & Systems Biotechnology (in press).

Link to Dr. Cheng’s University Profile

This page was last modified on October 28, 2018