Ji Zhang

Ji Zhang, PhD

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics


Dr. Zhang's laboratory uses biochemical, cellular and molecular biology and mouse genetic approaches to understand the fundamental mechanisms that underlie tumor cells' response to various metabolic stresses.

Dr. Zhang received his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, where he conducted his graduate thesis on the role of mitochondrial quality control machinery during red blood cell maturation. Dr. Zhang pursued his post-doctoral training with Dr. Craig Thompson, a world-renowned investigator in the field of cancer metabolism, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, to expand his research repertoire on nonessential amino acid metabolism in cancer. Dr. Zhang became an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2017.

Dr. Zhang has received several nationwide career development awards, including the Emerging Scientist Award from Children's Cancer Research Fund, Scholar Award from St. Baldrick’s Foundation and Scholar Award for Junior Faculty from American Society of Hematology. 

Key Publications

Jiang J, Srivastava S, Seim G, Pavlova NN, King B, Zou L, Zhang C, Zhong M, Feng H, Kapur R, Wek RC, Fan J, Zhang J. Promoter demethylation of the asparagine synthetase gene is required for an ATF4-dependent adaptation to asparagine depletion. (Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2019, In Press)

Jiang J, Srivastava S, Zhang J. (Review) Starve Cancer Cells of Glutamine: Break the Spell or Make a Hungry Monster? Cancers. 2019 Jun 11;11(6). pii: E804. doi: 10.3390/cancers11060804

As extracellular glutamine levels decline, asparagine becomes an essential amino acid. Hui S, Ghergurovich JM, Fan J, Intlekofer AI, White RM, Rabinowitz JD, Thompson CB§ , Zhang J§ (§ co-corresponding author). Cell Metabolism. 2018; 27 (2): 428-438. PMCID: PMC5803449

Cancer cell metabolism: the essential role of the nonessential amino acid, glutamine. Zhang J, Pavlova NN, Thompson CB. The EMBO journal. 2017; 36(10):1302-1315. PMID: 28420743

Repression by RB1 characterizes genes involved in the penultimate stage of erythroid development. Zhang J, Loyd MR, Randall MS, Morris JJ, Shah JG, Ney PA. Cell Cycle. 2015;14(21):3441-53.

Serine catabolism regulates mitochondrial redox control during hypoxia. Ye J, Fan J, Venneti S, Wan YW, Pawel B, Zhang J, Finley LWS, Lu C, Lindsten T, Cross JR, Qing G, Liu Z, Simon MC, Rabinowitz JD, Thompson CB. Cancer Discovery. 2014; 4(12):1406-1417.

Asparagine plays a critical role in regulating cellular adaptation to glutamine depletion. Zhang J, Fan J, Venneti S, Cross JR, Takagi T, Bhinder B, Djaballah H, Kanai M, Cheng EH, Judkins AR, Pawel B, Baggs J, Cherry S, Rabinowitz JD, Thompson CB. Molecular cell. 2014; 56(2):205-18. PMID: 25242145




Ped-Neonatal Basic Research
1044 W Walnut Street, R4-170 Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research
Indianapolis, IN 46202