Pi-Wan Cheng

Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Pi-Wan ChengPhone: 402-559-5776 (Office)
    Location: DRC1 7042
402-559-7718 (Lab)
    Location: DRC1 7034
Fax: 402-559-6650

PhD, Case Western Reserve University, 1975


Student research opportunities in my lab:
Graduate students
Medical students
Undergraduate students
High school students

Primary Research/Clinical Interests/Expertise:

Glycobiology: Study of the mechanism of altered glycosylation in cancer progression and mucus-related diseases

The research focus of our laboratory is to elucidate the fundamental mechanism of glycosylation to help understand how glycosylation is altered in various diseases, including cancer progression. Recently, we have identified the Golgi targeting sites of glycosyltransferases, the Golgi retention proteins for some of them, and the roles of non-muscle myosin IIA in recycling of glycosyltransferases and Golgi fragmentation.  We have found that giantin is the primary targeting site for all glycosyltransferases and mannosidases except core 1 synthase and core 2 enzymes only use this site for Golgi targeting. Core 1 synthase uses GM130-GRASAP65 as the primary targeting site and GM130-giantin as the targeting site when GRASP65 is not available. When giantin is defective as is seen in aggressive cancer cells and cells under stress, core 2 enzymes cannot get to the Golgi and are degraded, and all other glycosyltransferases and mannosidases still can reach the Golgi using GM130-GRASP65. The dysregulated glycosylation environment at the GM130-GRASP65 site results in altered glycosylation, such as formation of high mannose N-glycans and tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens of mucin O-glycans (Figure 1). These altered glycans are being developed as biomarkers and therapeutic targets of aggressive cancers.



Research Projects:

  1. Study of the mechanism of altered glycosylation in aggressive cancers
  2. Development of an assay based on altered glycans on prostate-specific antigen for identification of aggressive prostate cancer
  3. Study of the alcohol effects on mucus defense
My Publications


Current Grants and Contracts: 

Altered O-glycans on Prostate-specific antigen in advanced prostate cancer