Qiang Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.

Research Investigator and Director, Center for Dose Response Modeling



M.D., Harbin Medical University, People's Republic of China, 1995.

Ph.D., physiology and neurobiology, University of Connecticut, 2003.

Postdoctoral training, Division of Computational Biology, CIIT Centers for Health Research, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, 2003-2006.


My research interest is focused on understanding how molecular circuits operating in cells mediate cellular responses to external perturbations, such as by environmental chemical toxicants, and how the altered dynamics of these circuits underlie various nonlinear dose response behaviors for multiple biological and toxicological endpoints. In close collaboration with experimental biologists, I use mathematical modeling approaches to study several cellular response pathways. One is the adaptive response pathways handling cellular stress and maintaining homeostasis. Time series and steady-state responses are investigated both computationally and experimentally with focuses on the antioxidant response and p53 DNA damage response pathways. The role of negative feedback circuitry in these pathways is extensively studies for the origin of nonlinear response.  Another research area I am interested in is to understand the molecular circuitry underlying all-or-none type of cellular responses, as occurring during cell differentiation, cell proliferation and apoptosis. Research in this area has focused on the terminal differentiation of B cells in response to antigens and how the environmental pollutant dioxin interferes with this process. Recently efforts have also been devoted to modeling the mammalian cell cycle and understanding the effect of chemicals on proliferation rate.


The emerging field of computational systems biology – a novel discipline to study cells from a dynamical system perspective – has brought new challenges to biologists and toxicologists who traditionally study biological systems in a descriptive rather than quantitative way. To accelerate the transformation of toxicological science, disseminating the new tools of dose response modeling and quantitative risk assessment is essential. With colleagues at the Hamner Institutes, I have organized several training workshops and short courses to practicing toxicologists, risk assessment professionals, and graduate students. With extensive hands-on computer exercises, these trainings teach essential concepts and principles in quantitative cell biology and the network motif mechanisms for nonlinear dose responses.  Some of the Dose Response Modeling workshops we offered can be found on the website under Education and Training

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