Institute for Applied Cancer Science
Ming-Kuei Jang, Ph.D. - Associate Director, Neurobiology
Ming-Kuei Jang, Ph.D., joined MD Anderson in April 2012 bringing with him significant knowledge of neurobiology from his academic training, as well as experience in drug discovery and development from his time in industry. He has managed target validation, lead identification, and optimization programs in drug development, and has also managed externalization and collaboration with academic institutes, biotechnology companies and contract organizations – experience he will apply here at IACS to rapidly develop novel therapeutics against targets for neurodegenerative diseases.
At GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Shanghai, Dr. Jang was an associate director in GSK’s Neurodegeneration Discovery Performance Unit where he was responsible for formulating and executing therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer’s disease. At GSK, Dr. Jang managed internal and external drug discovery programs, as well as evaluation of external business alliance opportunities for Alzheimer’s disease. Prior to GSK, Dr. Jang worked for Merck & CO in Boston, MA and West Point, PA, as a senior research biologist for Merck’s neuroscience drug discovery laboratories. Dr. Jang’s extensive experience in electrophysiology, neurobiology, and biomarker development was most notable by his achievement in the discovery of novel magnetic resonance biomarkers for tracking disease progression in animal models for Alzheimer’s disease and in developing electrophysiological assays for pre-clinical candidate assessments and capabilities for in-vivo validation of novel targets.
Dr. Jang’s scientific interests and academic training are in synaptic communications between neurons. His doctoral work in the Department of Pharmacology at Boston University focused on investigating molecular interactions between neurosteroids and NMDA receptors, which are critical for controlling synaptic plasticity and memory in the brain. Dr. Jang completed two postdoctoral fellowships, the first in the Department of Physiology, Northwestern University where he used advanced electrophysiological and imaging techniques to elucidate mechanisms for unconventional dendritic dopamine release in substantia nigra, the vulnerable region that degenerates in patients with Parkinson’s disease. During the second, in Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University, he focused on trafficking and dendritic targeting of HCN1 channels, which are important for regulating memory formation in the hippocampus, our memory center.