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  • Dr. Zhenyu Cheng, PhD


Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology


Dalhousie University

Research Interests:

Proteome homeostasis, proteasome, protein translation, lung cancer, bacterial infection, host immunity, inflammation

Linking protein homeostasis to cancer treatment

Receptor for activated C kinase 1 (RACK1), a scaffold protein and core component of the protein translation apparatus, has emerged as a novel molecular link that connects cell death signaling and protein homeostasis. My lab observed that reducing RACK1 expression promoted stress granules assembly and inhibited global protein synthesis in reponse to several types of stresses. In addition, we discovered that RACK1 regulated protein degradation machineary, proteasome. The role of RACK1 during stress response may correlate with its regulatory effect on the protein synthesis/degradation and stress-related cancer cell death. We are exploring the use of protein homeostasis control of RACK1 during stresses in the treatment of cancer.

What brought you to your current institution?

I finished my undergraduate study in 2002 at Wuhan University in China. I then went to University of Waterloo in Ontario to pursue my graduate studies, under the supervision of Drs. Bernard Glick and Brendan McConkey. After obtaining my PhD degree in 2010, I joined Dr. Frederick Ausubel’s lab in Boston for my postdoctoral position that is jointly appointed in the Department of Molecular Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. I started my independent research lab at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia since 2016.  

Hometown: Wuhan, China

Learn more about my research:  

Involvement with BHCRI to date:

I am an Associate Member of BHCRI. Supervisor of CRTP trainee: Yunnuo Shi. I’ve also served on BHCRI Scientific Review Panels.


(902) 494-7829



Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building, Dalhousie University, 5850 College Street, P.O. Box 15000, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4R2


Cheng Z.*, Li J.-F.*, Niu Y., Zhang X.-C., Woody O.Z., Xiong Y., Djonovic S., Millet Y., Bush J., McConkey B.J., Sheen J., and Ausubel F.M. *contributed equally. (2015) Pathogen-secreted proteases activate a novel plant immune pathway. Nature 521:213-216 

Zhang X.-C., Millet Y., Cheng Z., Bush J., and Ausubel F.M. (2015) SGT1b/HSP70/HSP90 chaperone complexes play an essential role in jasmonate signaling in Arabidopsis. Nature Plants 1(5):Article number 15049 

Cheng Z., Woody O.Z., Song J., Glick B.R., and McConkey B.J. (2009) Proteome reference map for the plant growth-promoting bacterium Pseudomonas putida UW4. Proteomics 9: 4271-4274 

Cheng Z., Wei Y.C., Sung W.W.L., Glick B.R., and McConkey B.J. (2009) Proteomic analysis of the response of the plant growth-promoting bacterium Pseudomonas putida UW4 to nickel stress. Proteome Science 7:18 

Cheng Z., Duan J., Hao Y., McConkey B.J., and Glick B.R. (2009) Identification of bacterial proteins mediating the interactions between Pseudomonas putida UW4 and Brassica napus (canola). Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 22:686-694

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