Danzhou Yang

Research Interests

Danzhou Yang, PhD, is a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the College of Pharmacy Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, a Professor of Chemistry, a Comprehensive member of the Arizona Cancer Center, a Faculty Member of BIO5 Institute, and the Director of the College of Pharmacy NMR facility, at the University of Arizona. Most of the front line anticancer agents are known to interact with DNA or DNA interacting proteins in order to exert their anticancer effects; cancer-specific molecular targets have become a frontier of new anticancer drug development. Dr. Yang’s research is focused on structural and mechanistic studies of DNA-related cancer-specific molecular targets, and structure-based rational drug design of cancer therapeutic intervention. Her laboratory is working on a number of molecular targets for cancer therapeutics, including DNA G-quadruplexes and their drug interactions, DNA bis-intercalating compounds that inhibit transcription factors, and DNA topoisomerase I as an anticancer drug target. Specifically, DNA G-quadruplexes, novel DNA secondary structures formed in regions of biological significance including human telomeres and oncogene promoters, are emerging as a new class of promising cancer-specific molecular targets for small molecule drugs. Her research program involves the implementation of a variety of biophysical and biochemical methods, particularly high-field NMR spectroscopy. NMR represents a major method for structural study of biologically relevant DNA secondary structures.

Dr. Yang has been invited to many national and international meetings, including chairing the session “Chemistry in Support of Cancer Drug Discovery” in Chemistry in Cancer Research/AACR-American Chemical Society joint conference in 2009, chairing the Symposium for “G-Quadruplexes as Targets for Drug Discovery and Development” in ACS National meeting in 2010, co-organizing and chairing the 2012 National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium. She is the Co-Chair of the Young Chemist Committee in CICR (Chemistry in Cancer Research) of AACR (American Association for Cancer Research). Dr. Yang’s research has been actively supported by NIH (National Institute of Health), and she is serving on the NIH study sections.