Structural biology, pharmacology and signaling of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and drug development

My group studies structure, pharmacology and signaling of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) as important cell membrane-embedded receptors. GPCR family has over 700 members. They transduce signals from extracellular signaling molecules to intracellular effectors through conformational changes within the receptors to mediate and regulate a broad spectrum of physiological and pathological processes. GPCRs have been heavily investigated in the pharmaceutical industry, and they constitute 30-40% of current drug targets. My lab utilizes structural biology approaches including X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and functional studies including ligand-binding assays and cellular signaling assays to explore the molecular mechanisms underlying the signal transduction of GPCRs. Currently, we focus on two groups of GPCRs, the chemotactic GPCRs involved in inflammatory diseases and the neurotransmitter GPCRs involved in neurological and psychiatric disorders. In addition, we also develop new GPCR antibodies as novel therapeutic candidates through combinatorial biology approaches such as yeast display.








BS       2003, University of Science and Technology of China

PhD    2008, University of Science and Technology of China


Postdoctoral Training

2008-2014, Dr. Brian Kobilka's group, School of Medicine, Stanford University


Cheng Zhang
Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology
School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
W1311 BST
203 Lothrop St
Pittsburgh, PA15261


Phone: 412-383-8044