Dr. X.F. Steven Zheng received PhD degree from Harvard University (with Joan Ruderman) in 1993 and postdoctoral training at Harvard (with Stuart Schreiber). He became a faculty member at Washington University before moving to Rutgers. His longstanding passion is to understand biochemical mechanisms of nutrient signaling in cancer and metabolic diseases, and to develop new therapies.
Dr. Zheng has made fundamental contributions to understanding mTOR pathway. Working with Dr. Schreiber, he played a major role in demonstrating mTOR as the direct target of rapamycin and elucidating the mode of rapamycin action. He further showed that rapamycin is only a partial, allosteric mTOR inhibitor, and that the mTOR kinase domain is essential for mTOR overall functions. These findings provided the key rationale for the development of mTOR kinase inhibitors as cancer therapeutics.
Dr. Zheng discovered that mTOR can act as a transcription factor, and elaborated the mechanisms underpinning nuclear mTOR signaling in controlling transcription, chromatin dynamics and genomic stability. His laboratory has also shed light on the therapeutic response and resistance to rapamycin and mTOR kinase inhibitors in colorectal and liver cancers. Dr. Zheng has been continuously supported by NIH/NCI R01 grants for the past 18 years. He has served on numerous NIH, and other national and international review panels.