Laiqun Zhang, PhD

Assistant Research Scientist

Department of Pathology
1157 Med Lab
500 Newton Road
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242-1109

Lab: 319-335-8168


Ph.D. China Agriculture University, Beijing, CHINA 2000
M.S. Beijing Normal University, Beijing, CHINA 1990
B.S.,Zhongshan University, Guangzhou, CHINA 1983&

Post-doc Training

Dept. of Pathology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA 2006-2012
Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel 2002-2006
Beijing Normal University, Beijing, CHINA 2000-2002


My interest of study is to understand how TRAF2 phosphorylation regulates the activation of the signaling pathway downstream of the TNFR superfamily members, especially focusing on the TNF-TNFR1 and RANKL-RANK systems. TNFα is a key modulator of inflammatory responses and is targeted in therapeutic strategies for a range of diseases involving chronic inflammation. RANKL plays a critical role in bone remodeling and metastasis of breast and prostate cancers to bone. Our recent studies revealed that TRAF2 phosphorylation determines the fate of TNFR1 and RANK signaling by controlling the translocation of the signaling complex to various subcellular compartments. Currently, mu focus of study is to delineate the mechanisms whereby TRAF2 phosphorylation regulates RANKL-induced activation of the pro-proliferative and anti-apoptotic pathways in mammary epithelial cells, and to determine the pathological role of TRAF2 phosphorylation to the progression of mammary tumors. 


  1. Blackwell K, Zhang L), Workman LM, Ting AT, Iwai K, Habelhah H. Two coordinated mechanisms underlie tumor necrosis factor alpha-induced immediate and delayed IκB kinase activation. Mol Cell Biol. 2013 May. 33(10) 1901-15
  2. Laiqun Zhang, Ken Blackwel1, Aliya Altaeva, Zhaohui Shi, and Hasem Habelhah. TRAF2 phosphorylation promotes NF-κB-dependent gene expression and inhibits oxidative stress-induced cell death. Mol Biol Cell (2011) Jan 1;22(1):128-40.
  3. Laiqun Zhang, Ken Blackwel1, Zhaohui Shi, and Hasem Habelhah. The RING domain of TRAF2 plays an essential role in the inhibition of TNFalpha-induced cell death but not in the activation of NF-kappa B. J Mol Biol (2010) Feb 26;396(3):528-39.
  4. Gregory S. Thomas, Laiqun Zhang, Ken Blackwell, Shujie Sun and Hasem Habelhah. PKC-mediated TRAF2 phosphorylation at Serine-55 is essential for TNFα-induced secondary IKK activation and the expression of some NF-κB target genes. Cancer Research (2009) Apr 15;69(8):3665-72.
  5. Laiqun Zhang, Ken Blackwell, Gregory S. Thomas, Shujie Sun, Wen-Chen Yeh, Hiroyasu Nakano and Hasem Habelhah. TRAF2 suppresses basal IKK activity and inhibits TNFα-induced cell death independent of NF-κB activation. J Mol Biol (2009), Jun. 12; 389(3):495-510p.303-314
  6. Ken Blackwell, Laiqun Zhang, Gregory S. Thomas, Shujie Sun, Hiroyasu Nakano and Hasem Habelhah. TRAF2 phosphorylation modulates tumor necrosis factor alpha-induced gene expression and cell resistance to apoptosis. Mol Cell Biol. (2009), Jan. 2009,Vol 29,No.2 p.303-314 
  7. Y Krelin, L Zhang, T-B Kang, E Appel, A Kovalenko and D Wallach*. Caspase-8 deficiency facilitates cellular transformation in vitro. Cell Death and Differentiation (2008), Sep 15(9):1350-1355 
  8. Da-Yu Yu, Li Tong, Gao-Jie Song, Wei-Lin Lin, Lai-Qun Zhang, Wei Bai, He Gong, Yan-Xia Yin, Qun Wei. Tau binds both subunits of calcineurin, and binding is impaired by calmodulin. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Dec, 1783(12):2255-61 
  9. Da-Yu Yu, Jing Luo, Fan Bu, Gao-Jie Song, Lai-Qun Zhang, Qun Wei. Inhibition of calcineurin by infusion of CsA causes hyperphosphorylation of tau and is accompanied by abnormal behavior in mice. Biol Chem. 2006 Jul ;387 (7):977-983 
  10. Zhang Laiqun, Li Fang, Sun Daye. The Effects of Extracellular Calmodulin on Protein Phosphorylation in Cytoplasmic Fraction from Suspension-Cultured Tobacco (Nicotiana Tobacum L.) Cells. Acta Phytophysiologica Sinica 2001, 27(3): 201-206(in Chinese)
  11. Sun Xinli; Zhang Laiqun etc . Probe for Acid Electrophoresis Conditions of Wheat Gliadin. Acta Agronomica sinica 1999, 25(1):126-129(in Chinese)
  12. Zhang Laiqun, Wang xinjiang, etc. Studies on the antiviral effect of Felian and its mechanism. Chinese J Exp Clin Virol 1996, 10(1)70-73(in Chinese)
  13. Zhang Laiqun, Wang xinjiang, etc. Research on Mouse S180 Transplanted Tumor Inhibition by Felian. Zhejiang Cancer Journal 1995, 1(4)219-221(in Chinese)
  14. Zhang Laiqun, Wang Youai, Gao xiurui. Purification of Cu-Zn Superoxide Dismutase. Journal of Heibei Normal University (natural science) 1994,(4)74-78(in Chinese)
  15. Zhang Laiqun, Gao Tianhui. Preparation and Properties of Pectinase Immobilized on Nylon Net Chinese Biochemical Journal 1992, 8(4)462-467(in Chinese) 


  1. Zhang Laiqun; Xie Litao; etc.The exercise collection on Biochemistry. Science Press (in Chinese) 1998
  2. One of the authors, Guide for modern plant physiology experiments. Science Press (in Chinese). Edited by Plant Physiology Association of Shanghai 1999
  3. Edited by Sun Daye; etc. One of the authors. Cell Signal Transduction. Third edition Science Press (in Chinese) 2001
  4. Edited by Wei Qun; etc. One of the authors. Experimental Guide for Biotechnology. Higher Education Press (in Chinese) 2002
  5. Zhang Laiqun; Xie Litao; Li Hong; etc. The exercise collection on Biochemistry. Second edition Science Press (in Chinese) 2002
  6. Zhang Laiqun; Li Hong; Xie Litao; etc. The exercise collection on Biochemistry. Revised Second edition Science Press (in Chinese) 2006