Dr Xu Dong Zhang
(PhD, Professor, NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, Director Immunology / Oncology Unit (Melanoma Research Laboratory) )

Research AreasDiagnostics / Screening, Cell Death, Cancer Prevention
Research TopicsMelanoma / Skin Cancer
Research TypesLaboratory Research

Dr Xu Dong Zhang has focused on translational melanoma research for more than 15 years. He is currently a Professor heading the Immunology/ Oncology Department (Melanoma Research Laboratory). The overall aim of Dr Zhang's research has been to understand resistance mechanisms of melanoma cells to cell death that is induced by therapeutic agents. 

Most recently, Dr Zhang has initiated a number of research projects to address a number of unmet queistions.  These include "what regulates sensitivity of melanoma cells to programmed cell death induced by inhibition of intracellular pro-survival signalling pathways?", "how do a group of proteins called polyphosphate phosphatases affect melanoma cell survival?", "why does the tumour suppressor, p53, not function to suppress melanoma?", and "does obesity affect sensitivity of melanoma cells to cell death induced by therapeutic drugs?".

More information about Dr Zhang's academic achievements can be found here:


Getting to know you

When did you start doing research?

I started my research career in 1995 when I worked as a visiting academic in the Royal Adelaide Hospital. 

What is your most significant contribution to research?

I pioneered two areas of the melanoma research field, overcoming resistance of melanoma cells to apoptosis induced by TRAIL (a soluble factor that can be produced by immune cells and selectively kill cancer cells without affecting normal tissues) and examining the response of melanoma cells to a cellular stress condition termed ER stress.

What research achievement are you most proud of?

Some of my research findings have contributed significantly to identification of new therapeutic approaches in the treatment of melanoma.

What inspires you?

Clinical needs for fighting against cancer.

What did you do before you became a researcher?

I had been working as a surgical oncologist in China for 10 years before I started my research career.

What is the craziest thing you have ever had to do "in the name of research"?

Write grant applications (!).

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