Tianshun Zhang, PhD

Tianshun Zhang, PhD

Assistant Professor
Molecular Biology of Chronic Disease
Telephone Number

Dr. Tianshun Zhang is an Assistant Professor and section leader of Molecular Biology of Chronic Disease at The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota. Dr. Zhang received his PhD from Kobe University in Japan. He completed his post-doc and researcher work in The Hormel Institute. 

Dr. Zhang’s research focuses on fundamental mechanistic discoveries to prevent or treat chronic diseases. His lab’s interests are in the molecular and cellular aspects of chronic disease research, particularly in cancer signaling pathways and crosstalk between tumor and tumor microenvironment in cancer progression, metastasis, and resistance to various therapies.


  • Post-doctoral research: Research Associate and Senior Scientist, The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota
  • PhD: Applied Chemistry in Bioscience, Kobe University, Japan

Professional Memberships

  • 2020–present: Member, European Cancer Prevention
  • 2017–present: Member, American Association for Cancer Reaserch 
  • 2011-2015: Member, Japanese Society for Food Factors
  • 2012-2014: Member, Japanese Association of Oxidative Stress
  • 2011-2014: Member, Japan Society for Bioscience Biotechnology and Agrochemistry
  • 2010-2014: Member, Japan Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 


Guest Editor

  • Cancer, “Recent Advances in Carcinogenesis Transcription Factors: Biomarkers and Targeted Therapies”
  • JoVE, “Current Animal Models in Cancer Research”

Primary Research Areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Prevention and therapy
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • Nutrition and Chronic Disease



  1. Wang Q, Morris RJ, Bode AM, Zhang T (Corresponding author). Prostaglandin Pathways: Opportunities for Cancer Prevention and TherapyProstaglandin Pathways in Cancer. Cancer Research. 2021. Dec 23;canres.2297.2021. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-21-2297.
  2. Aziz F, Chakarobaty A, Liu K, Zhang T, Li X, Du R, Monts J, Xu G, Li Y, Bai R. Gastric tumorigenesis induced by combining Helicobacter pylori infection and chronic alcohol through IL-10 inhibition. Carcinogenesis. 2021. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgab114
  4. Yoshitomi H, Lee KY, Yao K, Shin SH, Zhang T, Wang Q, Paul S, Roh E, Ryu J, Chen H. GSK3β-mediated expression of CUG-translated WT1 is critical for tumor progression. Cancer Research. 2021;81(4):945-55.
  5. Wang Q, Zhang T (Co-first author), Chang X, Wang K, Bai R, Wang T, Ryu J, Chen H, Yao K, Ma W-Y. ARC is a critical protector against inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and IBD-associated colorectal tumorigenesis. Cancer Research. 2020;80(19):4158-71.
  6. Chang X, Zhang T (Co-first author), Wang Q, Rathore MG, Reddy K, Chen H, Shin SH, Ma W-y, Bode AM, Dong Z. HI-511 overcomes melanoma drug resistance via targeting AURKB and BRAF V600E. Theranostics. 2020;10(21):9721.
  7. Wang Q, Zhang T (Co-first author), Chang X, Wang K, Lee M-H, Ma W-Y, Liu K, Dong Z. Targeting Opsin4/Melanopsin with a novel small molecule suppresses PKC/RAF/MEK/ERK signaling and inhibits lung adenocarcinoma progression. Molecular Cancer Research. 2020;18(7):1028-38.
  8. Calderon-Aparicio A, Yamamoto H, De Vitto H, Zhang T, Wang Q, Bode AM, Dong Z. RCC2 promotes esophageal cancer growth by regulating activity and expression of the Sox2 transcription factor. Molecular Cancer Research. 2020;18(11):1660-74.
  9. Ravishankar A, Zhang T, Lindgren BR, Farah RS, Dong Z, Goldfarb NI. The effect of metformin on the risk of recurrent nonmelanoma skin cancers. International journal of dermatology. 2020;59(8):e303-e5.
  10. Chakraborty A, Aziz F, Roh E, Le LTM, Dey R, Zhang T, Rathore MG, Biswas AS, Bode AM, Dong Z. Knock-down of the TIM/TIPIN complex promotes apoptosis in melanoma cells. Oncotarget. 2020;11(20):1846.
  11. Zhang T, Wang Q, Ma W-Y, Wang K, Chang X, Johnson ML, Bai R, Bode AM, Foster NR, Falk GW. Targeting the COX1/2-Driven thromboxane A2 pathway suppresses Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma development. EBioMedicine. 2019;49:145-56.
  12. Zhang T, Bai R, Wang Q, Wang K, Li X, Liu K, Ryu J, Wang T, Chang X, Ma W. Fluvastatin Inhibits HMG-CoA Reductase and Prevents Non–Small Cell Lung Carcinogenesis. Cancer Prevention Research. 2019;12(12):837-48.
  13. Zhang T, Wang Q, Fredimoses M, Gao G, Wang K, Chen H, Wang T, Oi N, Zykova TA, Reddy K. The Ashitaba (Angelica keiskei) Chalcones 4-hydroxyderricin and Xanthoangelol Suppress Melanomagenesis By Targeting BRAF and PI3K. Cancer Prevention Research. 2018;11(10):607-20.
  14. Wang Q, Gao G, Zhang T (Co-first author), Yao K, Chen H, Park MH, Yamamoto H, Wang K, Ma W, Malakhova M. TRAF1 is critical for regulating the BRAF/MEK/ERK pathway in non-small cell lung carcinogenesis. Cancer research. 2018:canres. 0429.2018.
  15. Gao G, Zhang T (Co-first author), Wang Q, Reddy K, Chen H, Yao K, Wang K, Roh E, Zykova T, Ma W. ADA-07 suppresses solar ultraviolet–induced skin carcinogenesis by directly inhibiting TOPK. Molecular cancer therapeutics. 2017;16(9):1843-54.
  16. Yoshioka Y, Li X, Zhang T, Mitani T, Yasuda M, Nanba F, Toda T, Yamashita Y, Ashida H. Black soybean seed coat polyphenols prevent AAPH-induced oxidative DNA-damage in HepG2 cells. Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition. 2017:16-48.
  17. Zhang T, Yamashita Y, Yasuda M, Yamamoto N, Ashida H. Ashitaba (Angelica keiskei) extract prevents adiposity in high-fat diet-fed C57BL/6 mice. Food & function. 2015;6(1):134-44.
  18. Zhang T, Kimura Y, Jiang S, Harada K, Yamashita Y, Ashida H. Luteolin modulates expression of drug-metabolizing enzymes through the AhR and Nrf2 pathways in hepatic cells. Archives of biochemistry and biophysics. 2014;557:36-46.
  19. Zhang T, Yamamoto N, Ashida H. Chalcones suppress fatty acid-induced lipid accumulation through a LKB1/AMPK signaling pathway in HepG2 cells. Food & function. 2014;5(6):1134-41.
  20. Zhang T, Yamamoto N, Yamashita Y, Ashida H. The chalcones cardamonin and flavokawain B inhibit the differentiation of preadipocytes to adipocytes by activating ERK. Archives of biochemistry and biophysics. 2014;554:44-54.
  21. Zhang T, Sawada K, Yamamoto N, Ashida H. 4‐Hydroxyderricin and xanthoangelol from A shitaba (A ngelica keiskei) suppress differentiation of preadiopocytes to adipocytes via AMPK and MAPK pathways. Molecular nutrition & food research. 2013;57(10):1729-40.
  22. Zhang T, Jiang S, He C, Kimura Y, Yamashita Y, Ashida H. Black soybean seed coat polyphenols prevent B (a) P-induced DNA damage through modulating drug-metabolizing enzymes in HepG2 cells and ICR mice. Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis. 2013;752(1-2):34-41.
  23. Zhang T, Kawabata K, Kitano R, Ashida H. Preventive effects of black soybean seed coat polyphenols against DNA damage in Salmonella typhimurium. Food Science and Technology Research. 2013;19(4):685-90.
  24. Sawada K, Yamashita Y, Zhang T, Nakagawa K, Ashida H. Glabridin induces glucose uptake via the AMP-activated protein kinase pathway in muscle cells. Molecular and cellular endocrinology. 2014;393(1-2):99-108.
  25. Yamashita Y, Wang L, Wang L, Tanaka Y, Zhang T, Ashida H. Oolong, black and pu-erh tea suppresses adiposity in mice via activation of AMP-activated protein kinase. Food & function. 2014;5(10):2420-9.
  26. Yamashita Y, Wang L, Zhang T, Nakamura T, Ashida H. Fermented tea improves glucose intolerance in mice by enhancing translocation of glucose transporter 4 in skeletal muscle. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 2012;60(45):11366-71.

Guest Editor:

“Recent Advances in Carcinogenesis Transcription Factors: Biomarkers and Targeted Therapies”

“Current Animal Models in Cancer Research”