• Biography
  • Research
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Associate Professor, Teaching and Research Division

Expert in Phytochemistry and Drug Discovery from Natural Resources


Dr. Zhang graduated from Yunnan University with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry in 1985. He obtained his Master’s (1988) and Ph.D. (1994) degrees in Phytochemistry at Kunming Institute of Botany (KIB), the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He was a faculty member (Assistant/Associate/Full Professor) at KIB during 1991 to 2002, and a research faculty member (Research Assistant/Associate Professor) in the College of Pharmacy, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) during 2003-2011. As PI or Co-I, Dr. Zhang has been involved in a number of diverse research programs, including drug discovery of natural products, development of alternative medicines, organic synthesis and biosynthesis of natural products, both at KIB and UIC.

Dr. Zhang has more than 25 years of research experience in the isolation, identification, structure elucidation, analysis, synthesis and biological evaluation of natural products and other small molecules, leading to the isolation of more than 200 new molecules and publication of more than 110 peer reviewed papers and several patents. Many of these compounds showed biological activities against cancer, tuberculosis, malaria and viruses, and some of them have been evaluated in in vivo studies. His current research interest is focused on natural products drug discovery from natural resources, as well as the development of botanical dietary supplements from herbal medicines. Specifically, Dr. Zhang is interested in finding natural lead compounds from plant and microbial organisms; and in developing dietary supplements from traditional herbal medicines against different disease targets such as cancer, HIV, HCV, bird flu, Ebola/Marburg, TB, dental bacteria, and cancer chemoprevention.

Funded Projects

Project 1

Title: Discovery of Aryl Naphthalide Lignans as Potential Anti-HIV Inhibitors from the 

Medicinal Plant Justicia gendarussa

Principal Investigator: Dr. ZHANG HONGJIE

Funding Body: RGC-GRF 

Project ID: No.262912 

Exercise Year: 2013/2015 

Approved Project Duration: 24 months 

Project Fund: HK$1,268,250 

Coordinator: -

Project 2

Title: Biological and Mechanism Action Studies of the Antitumor Natural Products Miliusanes 

Principal Investigator: Dr. ZHANG HONGJIE

Funding Body: HKBU Faculty Research Grant (FRG)

Project ID: FRG1/13-14/029 

Exercise Year: 2014/2015 

Approved Project Duration:12 months 

Project Fund: HK$50,000 

Coordinator: -

Project 3

Title: In Vivo Evaluation of Antitumor Efficacy of Plant-derived Novel Natural Products Miliusanes 

Principal Investigator: Dr. ZHANG HONGJIE 

Funding Body: Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF)

Project ID: ITS/131/12 

Exercise Year: 2013/2014 

Approved Project Duration: 18 months 

Project Fund: HK$1,284,701

Coordinator: -

Project 4

Title: Establishment of Plant Sample Library and Anticancer Drug Discovery

Principal Investigator: Dr. ZHANG HONGJIE

Funding Body: HKBU Interdisciplinary Research Matching Scheme (IRMS)   2012/13

Project ID: RC-IRMS/12/13-03

Exercise Year: 2013/2015 

Approved Project Duration: 24 months 

Project Fund: HK$2,967,680 

Coordinator: -

Project 5

Title: Structural Modification and Bioactivity Evaluation of the Antitumor Natural Products Miliusanes

Principal Investigator: Dr. ZHANG HONGJIE 

Funding Body: HKBU Faculty Research Grant (FRG)

Project ID: FRG2/12-13/046

Exercise Year: 2013/2014 

Approved Project Duration: 12 months 

Project Fund: HK$135,000

Coordinator: -

Project 6

Title: Discovery of Anti-HIV Inhibitors from the Medicinal Plant Justicia gendarussa.

Principal Investigator: Dr. ZHANG HONGJIE 

Funding Body: HKBU Faculty Research Grant (FRG) 

Project ID: FRG2/11-12/134

Exercise Year: 2012/2013 

Approved Project Duration: 12 months

Project Fund: HK$120,000

Coordinator: -



  Dr. Yifu Guan (Ph.D.)

  Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

  Drug Discovery

  Email: guanyifu@hkbu.edu.hk


  Dr. Kanglun Liu (Ph.D.)

  Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

  Natural Product Chemistry

  Email: liukanglun@hkbu.edu.hk


  Dr. Mingzhong Wang (Ph.D.)

  Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

  Natural Product Chemistry

  Email: mzwang@hkbu.edu.hk

 Juan Wang.jpg

  Dr. Juan Wang (Ph.D.)

  Post-Doctoral Research Fellow


  Email: juan_wang@hkbu.edu.hk

Chuenfai Ku 古全輝.jpg

  Mr. Chuenfai Ku

  Research Assistant

  Phytochemistry & Plant Resources

  Email: faiku2010@hkbu.edu.hk

Wenjian Xie 謝文劍.jpg

  Mr. Wenjian Xie (M.S.)

  Research Assistant


  Email: xiewenjian@hkbu.edu.hk

Dongying Wang 王東營.jpg


  Mr. Dongying Wang

  Ph.D. Student


  Email: 12467251@life.hkbu.edu.hk



  Ms. Wenhui Pan

  Ph.D. Student

  Drug Discovery

  Email: 13480448@life.hkbu.edu.hk



  Mr. Xun Song


  Ph.D. Student

  Infectious Diseases Pharmacology

  Email: 13480243@life.hkbu.edu.hk


Lihan Zhao 趙黎菡.jpg

  Ms. Lihan Zhao

  Ph.D. Student

  Natural Product Chemistry

  Email: 14485540@life.hkbu.edu.hk






Pan  WH, Liu KL, Guan YF, Tan GT, Hung NV, Cuong NM, Doejarto DD, Pezzuto JM, Fong HHS,  Zhang HJ.* Bioactive compounds from Vitex leptobotrys. Journal of Natural Products 2014, 77: 663-667.


Tsang SW, Zhang HJ,  Lin CY, Xiao HT, Wong M, Shang HC, Yang ZJ, Lu AP, Yung KKL, Bian ZX.  Rhein, a natural anthraquinone derivative, attenuates the activation of pancreatic stellate cells and ameliorates pancreatic fibrosis in mice with experimental chronic pancreatitis. Plos One 2013, 8: e82201: 1-15.


Li SH, Qiu SX, Yao P, Sun HD, Fong HHS, Zhang HJ.* Compounds from the Fruits of the Popular   European Medicinal Plant Vitex agnus-castus in Chemoprevention via NADP(H) : Quinone Oxidoreductase Type 1 Induction. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 2013: Article ID 432829, 7pages.


Zou J,   Pan LT*, Li QJ, Pu JX,   Yao P, Zhu   M,   Banas JA, Zhang HJ*,   Sun HD. Rubesanolides C-E: The abietane diterpenoids isolated from Isodon rubescens and evaluation of their anti-biofilm activity.   Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry 2012, 10:   4989-5152.


Soejarto DD*, Gyllenhaal C, Kadushin MR, Southavong B, Sydara   K, Bouamanivong S, Xaiveu M, Zhang HJ,  Franzblau SG, Tan GT,Pezzuto JM, Riley MC,Elkington BGT, Waller DP. An  ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants of Laos toward the discovery  of   bioactive compounds as potential candidates for pharmaceutical  development. Pharmaceutical   Biology 2012, 50: 42-60.


Gyllenhaal C, Kadushin MR, Southavong B, Sydara K, Bouamanivong S, Xaiveu M, Xuan LT, Hiep NT, Hung NV, Loc PK, Dac LX, Bich TQ, Cuong NM, Ly HM, Zhang HJ, Franzblau SG, Xie H, Riley MC,   Elkington BG, Nguyen HT, Waller DP, Ma CY, Tamez P, Tan GT, Pezzuto JM, Soejarto DD.*  Ethnobotanical approach versus random approach in the search for new bioactive compounds: Support of a hypothesis. Pharmaceutical Biology 2012,   50: 30-41.


Zhang HJ*,  Qiu MH,  Chen YG, Chen JX, Sun Y, Wang CF, Fong HHS. Plant Terpenes, in Natural    Products, edited by Pezzuto, John and Kato, Massuo Jorge, in  Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), Developed under the  Auspices of the UNESCO, Eolss Publishers, Oxford, UK,  [http://www.eolss.net], 2011.


Soejarto DD*, Gyllenhaal C, Riley MC, Zhang HJ.  Ethnobotany of Natural Products, in Natural   Products, edited by  Pezzuto, John and Kato, Massuo Jorge, in Encyclopedia of Life Support  Systems (EOLSS), Developed under the Auspices of the UNESCO, Eolss  Publishers, Oxford, UK, [http://www.eolss.net], 2011.


Rumschlag-Booms E, Zhang HJ, Soejarto DD, Fong HHS, Rong LJ. Development of an antiviral screening protocol: One-Stone-Two-Birds. Journal of Antivirals &   Antiretrovirals 2011; 3: 8-10.


Zou J, Pan LT*, Li QJ, Zhao JH, Pu JX, Yao P, Gong   NB, Lu Y, Kondratyuk TP, Pezzuto JM, Fong HHS, Zhang HJ*,   Sun HD. Rubesanolides A and B: diterpenoids from Isodon rubescens. Organic   Letters 2011; 13: 1406-1409.


Yang  JH, Kondratyuk TP, Jermihov K, Marler LE, Qiu  X, Choi YS, Cao HM, Yu  R, Pegan S, Hung R, Liu Y, Wang LQ, Mesecar AD, van Breemen RB, Pezzuto  JM, Fong HHS, Chen YG*, Zhang HJ*. Bioactive compounds from the Fern Lepisorus contortus. Journal of Natural Products 2011; 74: 129-36.


Truong NB, Pham CV,   Mai HDT, Hung NV, Cuong NM, Nguyen HT, Zhang HJ, Fong HHS, Franzblau SG,   Soejarto DD, Chau MV. Chemical constituents   from Xylosma longifolia and their   anti-tubercular activity. Phytochemistry Letters 2011; 4: 250-253.


Truong BN, Pham VC, Mai HDT, Hung NV, Cuong NM, Nguyen TH, Zhang HJ, Fong HHS, Franzblau SG, Soejarto DD, Chau VM.* Antituberculosis cycloartane triterpenoids from Radermachera   boniana. Journal of Natural Products 2011, 74: 1318-1322.


Yang  JH,Kondratyuk TP, Marler LE, Qiu X, Choi YS, Cao HM, Sturdy M, Pegan S,  Liu Y, Wang LQ, Mesecar AD, van Breemen RB, Pezzuto JM, Fong HHS, Chen  YG*, Zhang HJ.* Isolation and evaluation of kaempferol glycosides from Neocheiropteris   palmatopedata. Phytochemistry 2010, 71: 641-647.


Cao HM, Yu R, Choi YS, Ma ZZ, Zhang HJ,  Xiang W, Lee DYW, Berman BM, Moudgil KD, Fong   HHS, van Breemen RB.  Discovery of cyclooxygenase inhibitors from medicinal plants used to  treat inflammation. Pharmacological Research 2010; 61: 519-524.


Michel JL, Chen YG, Zhang HJ,  Huang Y, Krunic A, Orjala J, Veliz M, Soni KK, Soejart DD, Caceres A,  Perez A, Mahady GB.   Estrogenic and serotonergic butenolides from the  leaves of Piper hispidum Swingle (Piperaceae). Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2010; 129: 220-226. (supported by: US NIH R21-AT02381)


Zhang HJ*, Rothwangl K, Mesecar AD, Sabahi A; Rong LJ*, Fong HHS. Lamiridosins, hepatitis C virus   entry inhibitors from Lamium album.   Journal of Natural Products 2009; 72: 2158-62.