Yi-Qiang (Eric) Cheng
Yi-Qiang (Eric) Cheng
Associate Professor
Microbiology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Bio-/Chem-informatics, Drug Discovery and Development, Synthetic Biology

Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1999

Postdoctoral Research
University of California - Davis, 1999-2001
University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2001-2003

Office: Lapham 131C
Phone: 414-229-4739
FAX: 414-229-3926
Email: ycheng@uwm.edu

Research Interests
News about our research: UWM Homepage, UWM Report, UWM Catalyst

My lab research areas encompass drug discovery and development based on microbial natural products. We apply the principles and methods of microbiology, molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, synthetic biology, chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences to discover bioactive natural products from rare microbial species, to decipher the mechanisms by which interested bioactive natural products are biosynthesized by microorganisms, and to explore natural product biosynthetic pathways to produce more desirable compounds as drugs or drug leads. One focus of my research is on discovery and development of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors as anticancer agent. Currently my lab has two new anticancer compounds in late stages of preclinical evaluation. Another focus of my research is on engineering of anti-tumor bio-agent; recently we have succeeded in engineering such a novel anti-tumor bio-agent to be tested in animal models. I hope to expand my research in the near future through collaboration into several areas of drug discovery and development, including exploration of new microbial species from the tropical and subtropical environments, chemical modification of existing compounds, chemical synthesis of designer compounds, engineering of drug-antibody conjugate, drug-biomimetic material conjugate and drug-nanoparticle conjugate. I am also interested in several basic science areas including the evolution of natural product biosynthetic genes and gene clusters, epigenetics, mechanism of antibiotic resistance, chemical signaling and chemical biology.

My laboratory research has been supported by grants from NIH (R03 and R01) and a prestigious Idea Award from the US Department of Defense (DoD) Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP), supplemented with various institutional supports.


Learning and Research Opportunities

Students with an interest in microbiology, biochemistry, genetic engineering, or drug discovery and development are welcome to apply to our graduate programs. Please visit the Graduate School website (http:www.graduateschool.uwm.edu/) and the Department of Biological Sciences website (http:www.biology.uwm.edu) for admission requirements.

Undergraduate trainee opportunities are preferably given to junior students with a major in microbiology or biochemistry.

Visiting scholars with fellowships can be accommodated at anytime.

Postdoctoral research associate positions may be available depending on research funding.

All applicants should send a cover letter and curriculum vitae (by e-mail to: ycheng@uwm.edu) for initial evaluation.

Selected Publications

A complete list of Dr. Cheng’s publication is listed here.

  1. Wang, C., L.M. Henkes, L.B. Doughty, M. He, D. Wang, F.-J. Meyer-Almes and Y.-Q. Cheng* (2011) Thailandepsins: bacterial products with potent histone deacetylase inhibition activities and broad-spectrum antiproliferative activities. Journal of Natural Products (Epub ahead of print on 07/27/2011). [pdf]
  2. Potharla, V.Y., S. Wesener and Y.-Q. Cheng* (2011) New Insights into the Genetic Organization of FK228 Biosynthetic Gene Cluster in Chromobacterium violaceum No. 968. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 77:1508-1511. [pdf]
  3. Wesener, S., V.Y. Potharla and Y.-Q. Cheng* (2011) Reconstitution of FK228 biosynthetic pathway revealing cross-talk between modular polyketide synthases and fatty acid synthase. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 77:1501-1507. [pdf]
  4. Li, D., Y.S. Chung, M. Gloyd, E. Joseph, R. Ghirlando, G.D. Wright, Y.-Q. Cheng, M.R. Maurizi, A. Guarne and J. Ortega* (2010) Acyldepsipeptide antibiotics induce the formation of a structured axial channel in ClpP: a model for the ClpX/ClpA bound state of ClpP. Chemistry & Biology 17:959-969. [pdf]
  5. Matter, A.M., S.B. Hoot, P.D. Anderson, S.S. Neves and Y.-Q. Cheng* (2009) Valinomycin biosynthetic gene cluster in Streptomyces: conservation, ecology and evolution. PLoS ONE 4(9):e7194. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007194. [pdf]
  6. Guzei*, I.A., C. Wang, Y. Zhan, O.V. Dolomanov and Y.-Q. Cheng* (2009) Pseudomerohedrally twinned monoclinic structure of unfolded ‘free’ nonactin: comparative analysis of its large conformational change upon encapsulation of alkali metal ions. Acta Crystallographica C65:o521-o524 (Featured on cover page). [pdf]
  7. Wang, C., S. Wesener, H, Zhang and Y.-Q. Cheng (2009) An FAD-dependent pyridine nucleotide-disulfide oxidoreductase is specifically involved in disulfide bond formation in FK228 anticancer depsipeptide. Chemistry & Biology 16:585-593. [pdf] Supplemental Data [pdf]
  8. Cheng*, Y.-Q., J.M. Coughlin, S.-K. Lim, and B. Shen*. (2009) Type I polyketide synthases that require discrete acyltransferases. Methods in Enzymology 459:165-186. [pdf]
  9. Cheng, Y.-Q., Yang, M. and Matter, A.M. (2007) Characterization of a gene cluster responsible for the biosynthesis of anticancer agent FK228 in Chromobacterium violaceum no. 968. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 73:3460-3469. [pdf]
  10. Tang, G.-L.; Cheng, Y.-Q. and Shen, B. (2007) Chain initiation in the leinamycin-producing hybrid non-ribosomal peptide/ polyketide synthetase from Streptomyces atroolivaceus S-140: discrete, monofunctional adenylation enzyme and peptidyl carrier protein that directly load (D)-alanine. Journal of Biological Chemistry 282:20273-20282. [pdf]
  11. Tang, G.-L., Cheng, Y.Q. and Shen, B. (2006) Polyketide chain skipping mechanism in the biosynthesis of the hybrid nonribosomal peptide-polyketide antitumor antibiotic leinamycin in Streptomyces atroolivaceus S-140. Journal of Natural Products. 69:387-393. [pdf]
  12. Cheng, Y.-Q. (2006) Deciphering the Biosynthetic Codes for the Potent Anti-SARS-CoV Cyclodepsipeptide Valinomycin in Streptomyces tsusimaensis ATCC 15141. ChemBioChem 7:471-477. [pdf]
  13. Tang, G.-L*., Cheng, Y.-Q*. and B. Shen. (2004) The biosynthetic gene cluster of the antitumor antibiotic leinamycin from Streptomyces atroolivaceus S-140 revealing unprecedented architectural complexity for a hybrid polyketide synthase and nonribosomal peptide synthetase. Chemistry & Biololgy 11:33-45. [pdf]
  14. Cheng, Y.-Q*. Tang, G.-L* and B. Shen. (2003) Type I polyketide synthase requiring a discrete acyltransferase for polyketide biosynthesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 100:3149-3154. [pdf]
  15. Cheng, Y.-Q. Tang, G.-L. and B. Shen. (2002) Identification and localization of the antitumor macrolactam leinamycin biosynthesis gene cluster from Streptomyces atroolivaceous S-140. Journal of Bacteriology. 184:7013-7024. [pdf]
  16. Cheng, Y.-Q. and J.D. Walton* (2000) A eukaryotic alanine racemase gene involved in cyclic peptide biosynthesis. Journal of Biological Chemistry 275:4906-4911. [pdf]
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