Alan Cheng, Ph. D.

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics

A picture of Alan Cheng, Ph.D.Contact Information:
Phone Number: (502) 852-3572 (Office)
Fax Number: (502) 852-6222

HSC Bldg–A Room 715
319 Abraham Flexner Way
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40202



Ph. D. (Biochemistry)             2003                McGill University, Canada

Laboratory Team Members:

Yuanqi Zhu, Ph.D.                Postdoctoral Research Fellow                       2012-present
Kaitlyn Shields,                    Graduate student, Ph.D candidate                 2016-present
Past (last 3 years)
Aaron denDekker, Ph.D         Postdoctoral Research Fellow                        2013 (temp)
Rongqiang Yang, Ph.D          Postdoctoral Research Fellow                       2013-2014
Michael P. Eisenhut              Graduate rotation student                               2015
Cody Sheffield                      Graduate rotation student                               2015
Lindsey Reynolds                  Graduate rotation student                               2015
Joshua A. Scearce                Medical student (SRSP)                                 2013
Sara A. Sadeghi                   Medical student (SRSP)                                 2014
Adam J. Miller                      Medical student (SRSP)                                 2015
Ajay Patel                            Undergraduate (SROP)                                  2016


Research Focus:

The main goal of my research group is to understand how perturbations in metabolic pathways underlie diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cancer. Since 1999, I have utilized mouse models and cell biology techniques to publish 30 papers in metabolic diseases and signal transduction pathways 

Selected Publications:

  1. Cheng A, Gufstafson AR, Schaner Tooley CE and Zhang M. BMP-9 dependent pathways required for the chondrogenic differentiation of pluripotent stem cells. Differentiation, in press [co-corresponding author]
  2. Yang R, Zhang M, Gustafson AR, Wang E, Cole MP, Schaner Tooley CE, and Cheng A. (2015) Loss of Protein Targeting to Glycogen sensitizes human hepatocellular carcinoma cells towards glucose deprivation mediated oxidative stress and cell death. Bioscience Reports, 35(3). pii: e00207; PMID: 26182369  PMCID: PMC4613675 
  3. Bonsignore, L.A., Tooley, J.G., Van Hoose, P.M., Wang, E., Cheng, A., Cole, M.P., and Schaner Tooley, C.E. (2015) NRMT1 knockout mice exhibit phenotypes associated with impaired DNA repair and premature aging Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 146-148:42-52; PMID: 25843235  PMCID: PMC4457563 
  4. Zhu Y, Zhang M, Kelly AR, and Cheng A. (2014) The carbohydrate-binding domain of overexpressed STBD1 is important for its stability and protein-protein interactions. Bioscience Reports, 34(4):pii :e00117; PMID: 24837458  PMCID: PMC4076837 
  5. Lu B, Bridges D, Yang Y, Fisher K, Cheng A, Chang L, Meng Z, Lin J, Downes M, Yu R, Liddle C, Evans R and Saltiel AR (2014) Metabolic Crosstalk: molecular links between glycogen and lipid metabolism in obesity Diabetes, 63(9):2935-48; PMID: 24722244 PMCID: PMC4141363 
  6. Al-Rayyan N, Litchfield LM, Ivanova MM, Radde BN, Cheng A, Elbedewy A and Klinge CM (2014) 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine and Trichostatin A increase COUP-TFII expression in anti-estrogen-resistant breast cancer cell lines, Cancer Letters, 347(1): 139-150; PMID: 24513177  PMCID: PMC4021391 
  7. Andres SA, Wittliff JL and Cheng A. (2013) Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase 4A2 Expression Predicts Overall and Disease-Free Survival of Human Breast Cancer and Is Associated with Estrogen and Progestin Receptor Status, Hormones and Cancer, 4(4):208-21. doi: 10.1007/s12672-013-0141-2.
  8. Chen XW, Leto D, Xiong T, Yu G, Cheng A, Decker S, and Saltiel AR. (2011) A Ral GAP Complex Links PI 3-Kinase/Akt Signaling to RalA Activation in Insulin Action. Mol Biol Cell, 22(1):141-52
  9. Cheng A and Saltiel AR. (2009) Von Gierke’s disease adopts an orphan (and its partner). Science Signaling, 2(58): pe8. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.258pe8 
  10. Cheng A, Zhang M, Okubo M, Omichi K and Saltiel AR. (2009) Distinct mutations in the glycogen debranching enzyme found in Glycogen Storage Disease Type III lead to impairment in diverse cellular functions. Human Molecular Genetics, 18(11):2045-52 
  11. Lodhi IJ, Bridges D, Chiang SH, Zhang Y, Cheng A, Geletka LM, Weisman LS and Saltiel AR. (2008) Insulin stimulates Phosphatidylinositol 3-Phosphate production via the activation of Rab5. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 19(7):2718-28. 
  12. Cheng A, Zhang M, Gentry MS, Worby CA, Dixon, JE and Saltiel AR. (2007) A role for AGL ubiquitination in the glycogen storage disorders of Lafora and Cori’s disease. Genes and Development, 21(19):2399-409