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Featured Researchers

Professor Hongjie Zhang

Director and Professor, Teaching and Research Division

Professor Hongjie Zhang



Discovery and Development of Small Molecule Natural Products as New Chemical Entity Drugs Based on the Medicinal Plants in Lingnan Region of China


It is our goal to develop new chemical entity (NCE) drugs and herbal medicines from natural resources, especially the plants in Lingnan region of Southern China:


  • To identify active compounds from plants
  • To carry out total synthesis and structural modification
  • To establish a sample library of extracts and compounds
  • To establish bioactivity evaluation systems
  • To investigate in vitro and in vivo bioactivities and mechanism of action of lead compounds


Our current disease targets include:


  • Viruses (Bird Flu, HIV, SARS, HBV, HCV, Ebola/Marburg)
  • Cancer and cancer chemoprevention
  • Bacteria (dental bacterial and TB) and biofilm
  • Fungi (athlete’s foot and banana Panama disease)
  • Parasite (malarial)
  • Autoimmune diseases




Patents (26 applications with 20 of them being granted in the US, European and China): 


  • Hongjie Zhang. Anti-cancer agents synthesized based on the miliusane natural products. US Patent, US9,211,333B2, granted on December 15, 2015. 
  • Hongjie Zhang, Yifu Guan. Anticancer miliusane derivatives. US Patent, US9,695,141B2, granted on July 4, 2017. 
  • Hongjie Zhang. Anticancer miliusane lactams. PCT/CN2017/104966. Granted in the US on November 21, 2017 (granted patent No.: US9,822,071B2). 
  • Hongjie Zhang, M.S. Ricky Wong, Lei Guo, Siu Wai Tsang, Kanglun Liu, Tongxin Zhang. Method of use of diterpenoid derivatives as anticancer agents. PCT/CN2017/103320. Granted in the US on October 24, 2017 (granted patent No.: US9,795,589B2). 
  • Hongjie Zhang, D. Doel Soejarto, Harry H.S. Fong. Anticancer maytansinoids with two fused macrocyclic rings. PCT/CN2014/092834. Granted in the US on February 7, 2017 (granted patent No.: US9,562,059B2), in the European on September 19, 2018 (granted patent No.: EP3077402B1), and in China on March 15, 2019  (granted patent No.: ZL201480065649.X).
  • Hongjie Zhang, Siu Wai Tsang. Method of using dihydro-resveratrol or its stilbenoid derivatives and/or chemical variants in treatments of tumorous pathologies. US Patent, US15/849,650, filed on December 20, 2017 (granted patent No.: US9,877,931B2). 
  • Hongjie Zhang. Anticancer and anti-obesity cyclic peptide agents. PCT/CN2013/085301. Granted in the US on November 22, 2016 (granted patent No.: US9,499,586B2), in the European on December 12, 2018 (granted patent No.: EP2909227B1), and in China on April 27, 2018  (granted patent No.: ZL201380048848.5). 
  • Hongjie Zhang. Miliusanes as antiviral agents. Patent filing in the US and China: granted in the US on June 18, 2019 (granted patent No.: US910,323,012B2); China patent: CN2018113063204, filed on November 5, 2018.
  • Hongjie Zhang, Siu Wai Tsang, Zhu Yu. Skin-protection composition containing Dendrobium-based ingredients. PCT/CN2017/107798. Granted in the US on May 1, 2018 (granted patent No.: US9,956,152B2).


Research Outputs

Ten Most Representative Publications

  • Zhao L, Yang W, Huang F, Lu L, Lin C, Huang T, Ning Z, Zhai L, Zhong LLD, Lam W, Yang Z, Zhang X, Cheng C, Han L, Qiu Q, Shang X, Huang R, Xiao H, Ren Z, Chen D, Sun S, El-Nezami H, Lu A, Fang X*, Jia W*, Bian Z*. A Clostridia-rich microbiota enhances bile acid excretion in diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome. J Clin Invest. 2020 Jan 2;130(1):438-450. doi: 10.1172/JCI130976
  • Wong HLX, Qin H, Tsang SW, Zuo X, Che S, Chow CFW, Li X. Xiao HT, Zhao L, Huang T, Lin CY, Kwan HY, Yang T, Longo FM, Lyu A, Bian Z (2019) Early life stress disrupts intestinal homeostasis via NGF-TrkA signaling. Nature Communications 10(1):1745. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09744-3.
  • Chow CFW, Che S, Qin HY, Kwan HY, Bian ZX*, Wong HLX*. From psychology to physicality: How nerve growth factor transduces early life stress into gastrointestinal motility disorders later in life. Cell Cycle. 2019 Aug;18(16):1824-1829. doi: 10.1080/15384101.2019.1637203.
  • Qin HY, Zang KH, Zuo X, Wu XA, Bian ZX. (2019) Quercetin Attenuates Visceral Hypersensitivity and 5-Hydroxytryptamine Availability in Postinflammatory Irritable Bowel Syndrome Rats: Role of Enterochromaffin Cells in the Colon. J Med Food. 2019 Mar 28.
    doi: 10.1089/jmf.2018.4264.
  • Zhao L, Huang Y, Lu L, Yang W, Huang T, Lin Z, Lin CY, Kwan HY, Wong HLX, Chen Y, Sun S, Xie X, Fang X, Yang H, Wang J, Zhu L, Bian Z (2018) Saturated long-chain fatty acid-producing bacteria contributes to enhanced colonic motility in rats. Microbiome 2018;6(1):107.
  • Chen GQ, Gong RH, Yang DJ, Zhang G, Lu AP, Yan SC, Lin SH*, Bian ZX*. Halofuginone dually regulates autophagic flux through nutrient-sensing pathways in colorectal cancer. Cell Death Dis. 2017 May 11;8(5):e2789.doi: 10.1038/cddis.2017.203.
  • Chung EK, Zhang XJ, Li Z, Zhang HQ, Xu HX, Bian ZX. Neonatal maternal separation enhances central sensitivity to noxious colorectal distention in rat. Brain Res., 2007, 1153: 68-77. 2. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2007.03.047
  • Bian ZX, WU TX, Liu L, Miao JX, Wong HF, Song L, Sung JJY. Effectiveness of the Chinese herbal formula TongXieYaoFang for irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review. J Altern Complement Med., 2006, 12, 401- 407. 3.
  • Tian XY, Bian ZX, Hu XG, Zhang XJ, Liu L, Zhang HQ. Electro-acupuncture attenuates stress-induced defecation in rats with chronic visceral hypersensitivity via serotonergic pathway. Brain Res, 2006, 1088:101-8. 4. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2006.03.014
  • Bian ZX. Stratification by sex and subgroup is necessary for RCT on IBS. Gut, 2006, 55: 743-4. 5.