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Zhang, Tao, PhD

Zhang, Tao, PhD

Zhang, Tao, PhD

Assistant Professor, Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences School of Pharmacy

Contact Information:

Husson University
314B Peabody Hall
1 College Circle
Bangor, Maine 04401
Phone: 207.404.5607 Phone: Fax: Email: Department Email:


Dr. Tao Zhang joined Husson School of Pharmacy as an Assistant Professor of Pharmacokinetics in the spring of 2014. He earned a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from College of Pharmacy at University of Michigan in 2010. He then worked in Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics (DMPK) group at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation in New Jersey for more than 3 years before joining Husson.

Dr. Zhang’s current research interests focus on two areas: (1) Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) modeling and physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling to support dose selection and assess drug-drug interaction (DDI) potential; (2) Identification and molecular mechanism study of compounds for cancer prevention and therapeutics. Dr. Zhang has authored over 30 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals including Drug Metabolism and Disposition, Molecular Pharmaceutics, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, and The Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Outside of work, Dr. Zhang enjoys spending time with his family. He also likes to take time out for sports and gardening.



Dr. Zhang’ s research interests are in the area of utilizing pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) modeling, and physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling and simulation tools (Phoenix WinNonlin, Simcyp, Gastroplus, etc) to analyze analysis of preclinical and clinical PK/PD data, predict PK profile and exposure, and explore drug-drug interaction potential. One ongoing project is pharmacokinetic modeling and dose optimization of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in adult and pediatric patient population. The model will enhance our understanding of the absorption and disposition of various formulations of Divalproex sodium (DVP), especially the extended-release formulations. It will be valuable to design individualized DVP and other AED dosing regimens.

Another research area actively pursued is to identify compounds that inhibit proliferation and self-renewal of cancer stem cells (CSCs). It has been suggested that many types of cancer are initiated from and maintained by a small population of cancer stem cells (CSCs). The CSC population produces the tumor bulk through continuous self-renewal and differentiation. The current research is to explore the molecular mechanism of anti-CSC compounds (e.g., sulforaphane) and enhance the delivery and potency of those compounds against CSCs.

Awards and Honors

2016 The Women's Philanthropy Council/Husson University Faculty Excellence Award

2015 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) New Investigator Award (NIA)

Peer Reviewed Publications (Selected)

1. Todd M. Conner, Vahagn C. Nikolian, Patrick E. Georgoff, Manjunath P. Pai, Hasan B Alam, Duxin Sun, Ronald C. Reed, Tao Zhang*. Physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling of disposition and drug-drug interactions for valproic acid and divalproex. Eur J Pharm Sci. 2017 Oct 10. pii: S0928-0987(17)30553- 5. doi: 10.1016/j.ejps.2017.10.009. *Corresponding author.

2. Joseph P. Burnett, Gi Lim, Yanyan Li, Ronak B. Shah, Rebekah Lim, Hayley J. Paholak, Sean P. McDermott, Lichao Sun, Yasuhiro Tsume, Shuhua Bai, Max S. Wicha, Duxin Sun, Tao Zhang*. Sulforaphane Enhances the Anticancer Activity of Taxanes against Triple Negative Breast Cancer by Killing Cancer Stem Cells. Cancer Letters. 2017 Feb 27. *Corresponding author.

3. Yanyan Li, Katharine Atkinson, Tao Zhang. Combination of chemotherapy and cancer stem cell targeting agents: Preclinical and clinical studies. Cancer Letters. 2017 Mar 12;396:103-109. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2017.03.008.

4. Wenpeng Zhang, Yanyan Li, Peng Zou, Man Wu, Zhenqing Zhang, Tao Zhang*. The Effects of Pharmaceutical Excipients on Gastrointestinal Tract Metabolic Enzymes and Transporters – an Update. The AAPS Journal. 2016 May 16. DOI: 10.1208/s12248-016-9928-8. *Corresponding author. 

5. Tao Zhang. Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetic Modeling of Disposition and Drug-Drug Interactions for Atorvastatin and its Metabolites. Eur J Pharm Sci. 2015 Jun 24; 77:216-229. doi: 10.1016/j.ejps.2015.06.019. [Epub ahead of print]

6. Tao Zhang, Tycho Heimbach, Wen Lin, Jin Zhang, Handan He. Prospective Predictions of Human Pharmacokinetics for Eighteen Compounds. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2015 Sep;104(9):2795-806. doi: 10.1002/jps.24373. Epub 2015 Feb 17.Selected for inclusion in the Gordon L. Amidon Dedicated Issue.

7. Binfeng Xia, Avantika Barve, Tycho Heimbach, Tao Zhang, Helen Gu, Lai Wang, Heidi Einolf, Natalya Alexander, Imad Hanna, June Ke, James B Mangold, Handan He, Gangadhar Sunkara. Physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling for assessing the clinical drug-drug interaction of alisporivir. Eur J Pharm Sci. 2014 Oct 15;63:103-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ejps.2014.06.021. Epub 2014 Jul 4.

8. Yanyan Li, Tao Zhang. Targeting of cancer stem cells by curcumin and clinical applications. Cancer Letters, 2014 May 1;346(2):197-205. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2014.01.012. Epub 2014 Jan 23.

9. Tao Zhang, Yanyan Li, Peng Zou, Jing-yu Yu, Donna McEachern, Shaomeng Wang, Duxin Sun. Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Modeling of an Antagonist (SM-406/AT-406) of Multiple Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins (IAPs) in a Mouse Xenograft Model of Human Breast Cancer. Biopharm Drug Dispos 2013 Sep; 34(6): 348-59.

10. Yanyan Li, Tao Zhang, Xiaoqin Li, Peng Zou, Steven J. Schwartz, Duxin Sun. Kinetics of Sulforaphane in Mice after Consumption of Sulforaphane-Enriched Broccoli Sprout Preparation. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 2013 Dec; 57(12):2128-36.

11. Yanyan Li, Tao Zhang. Targeting Cancer Stem Cells by Sulforaphane, a Dietary Component from Broccoli and Broccoli Sprouts. Future Oncology 2013 Aug; 9(8):1097-103.

12. Tao Zhang, Yanyan Li, Zhenkun Zhu, Mancang Gu, Bryan Newman, Duxin Sun. MEK inhibition potentiates the activity of Hsp90 inhibitor 17-AAG against pancreatic cancer cells. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 2010; 7(5): 1576–1584.

13. Yanyan Li, Tao Zhang, Hasan Korkaya, Suling Liu, Hsiu-Fang Lee, Bryan Newman, Yanke Yu, Shawn G. Clouthier, Steven J. Schwartz, Max S. Wicha, and Duxin Sun. Sulforaphane, a dietary component of broccoli/broccoli sprouts, inhibits breast cancer stem cells. Clin Cancer Res, 2010; 16(9): 2580-90.

14. Tao Zhang, Yanyan Li, Yanke Yu, Peng Zou, Yiqun Jiang, and Duxin Sun. Characterization of celastrol to inhibit Hsp90 and Cdc37 interaction. J Biol Chem, 2009; 284(51): 35381-9.

15. Yanyan Li*, Tao Zhang*, Yiqun Jiang, Hsiu-Fang Lee, Steven J. Schwartz and Duxin Sun. (-)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate Inhibits Hsp90 Function by Impairing Hsp90 Association with Cochaperones in Pancreatic Cancer Cell Line Mia Paca-2. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 2009 Jul-Aug; 6(4):1152-9. *equal authorship

16. Yanyan Li*, Tao Zhang*, Steven J. Schwartz and Duxin Sun. New developments in Hsp90 inhibitors as anti-cancer therapeutics: Mechanisms, clinical perspective and more potential. Drug Resistance Updates, 2009; 12(1): 17-27. *equal authorship

17. Tao Zhang, Adel Hamza, Xianhua Cao, Bing Wang, Shuwen Yu, Chang-Guo Zhan and Duxin Sun. A novel Hsp90 inhibitor to disrupt Hsp90/Cdc37 complex against pancreatic cancer cells. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 2008 7:162-170

18. Tao Zhang, Cathie D. Xiang, David Gale, Samantha Carreiro, Ellen Y. Wu, and Eric Y. Zhang. Drug Transporter and Cytochrome P450 mRNA Expression in Human Ocular Barriers: Implications for Ocular Drug Disposition. Drug Metab Dispos, 2008; 36(7):1300-7.