Release date:2016-05-25  Release:


Professor of Natural Products and Pharmacology

School of Traditional Chinese Pharmacy

Phone: 86-25-86185158


Research Summary

Professor Cao’s research primarily focused on the understanding the molecular mechanisms of nervous disorders such as epilepsy, neuropathic pain etc. We are also interested in discovering the novel therapeutic leads targeting on the ion channels, that have been proved to be malfunctional in these disorders, for seizure and neuropathic pain management.


2004       Ph.D., Medicinal Chemistry, Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking UnionMedical College

1999       B.S.,Biochemistry, Nanjing University& China Pharmaceutical University

Academic Experience

2014-      Professor of Pharmacology, China Pharmaceutical Univeristy

2010-2013 Project Scientist, Molecular BioSciences, University of California, Davis

2006-2010 Resident Assistant Professor, Pharmacology, Creighton University

2004-2006 Post-Doctorate, Pharmacology, The University of Georgia

Awards and Honors

2010       Authur E. Schwarting Award, The Society of American Pharmacogonosy


  1. Fang Zhao†, Xichun Li†, Liang Jin, Fan Zhang*, Masayuki Inoue, Boyang Yu, and Zhengyu Cao*. Development of a rapid throughput assay for identification of Nav1.7 antagonist using unique efficacious sodium channel agonist, antillatoxin. Marine Drugs, 2016, 14(2).

  2. Xichun Li, Rui Zhang, Bin Zhao*, Christoph Lossin, and Zhengyu Cao*. Cardiotoxicity screening: a review of rapid throughput in vitro approaches. Archive of Toxicology, 2016, In Press.

  3. Xiaohan Zou†, Yuwei He†, Jinping Qiao, Chunlei Zhang*, Zhengyu Cao*. The natural scorpion peptide, BmK NT1 activates voltage-gated sodium channels and produces neurotoxicity in primary cultured cerebellar granule cells. Toxicon, 2016, 109:33-41.

  4. Chunlei Zhang, Yanfei Liu, Yan Wang, Dong Liang, Zhibo Jiang, Li Li, Zhiyou Hao, Huan Luo, Guoru Shi, Ruoyun Chen, Zhengyu Cao* and De-Quan Yu*, Polycycloiridals A-D, Four Iridal-Type Triterpenoids with an Unprecedented -terpineol moiety from Iris tectorum. Organic Letters,2015, 17(22):5686−5689.

  5. Zhengyu Cao, Xiaohan Zou, Yanjun Cui, Susan Hulsizer, Pamela J. Lein, Heike Wulff, and Isaac N. Pessah*. Rapid Throughput Analysis Demonstrates that Chemicals with Distinct Seizurogenic Mechanisms Differentially Alter Ca2+ Dynamics in Networks Formed by Hippocampal Neurons in Culture. Molecular Pharmacology, 2015, 87(4):595-605.

  6. Zhengyu Cao, Yanjun Cui, Hai M. Nguyen, David Paul Jenkins, Heike Wulff, Isaac N. Pessah*. Nanomolar Bifenthrin Alters Synchronous Ca2+ Oscillations And Cortical Neuron Development Independent of Sodium Channel Activity.Molecular Pharmacology, 2014, 85(4):630-639.

  7. Zhengyu Cao, Yanjun Cui, Eric Busse, Suneet Mehrotra, Jon D. Rainier, and Thomas F. Murray*. Gambierol inhibition of voltage-gated potassium channels augments spontaneous Ca2+ oscillations in cerebrocortical neurons. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 2014, 350(3):615-623

  8. Zhengyu Cao*, Susan Hulsizer, Yanjun Cui, Kyungho Kim, Flora Tassone, Paul J Hagerman,and Issac N Pessah. Enhanced Asynchronous Ca2+ Oscillations Associated with Impaired Glutamate Transport In Cortical Astrocytes Expressing Fmr1 Premutation Expansion. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2013, 288 (19):13831-13841.

  9. Zhengyu Cao, Susan Hulsizer, Flora Tassone, Hiu-tung Tang, Randi J. Hagerman, Michael A. Rogawski, Paul J. Hagerman, and Isaac N. Pessah* Clustered Burst Firing in FMR1 Premutation Hippocampal Neurons: Amelioration with Allopregnanolone. Human Molecular Genetics, 2012, 21(13):2923-2935.

  10. Zhengyu Cao, Bruce D. Hammock, Mark McCoy, Pamela J. Lein, Michael A. Rogawski, and Isaac N. Pessah*. Tetramethylenedisulfotetramine Alters Ca2+ Dynamics in Cultured Hippocampal Neurons: Mitigation by NMDA Receptor Blockade and GABAA Receptor Positive Modulation. Toxicological Sciences, 2012, 130 (2):362-372.

  11. Jing Liu†, Katarzyna Koscielska†, Zhengyu Cao†, Susan Hulsizer, Natalie Grace, Gaela Mitchel, Catherine Nacey, Jeannine McGee, Randi J Hagerman, Jan Nolta, Isaac Pessah, Paul J Hagerman*. Signaling defects in iPSC-derived fragile X premutation neurons. Human Molecular Genetics, 2012, 21(17):3795-3805.

  12. Eitan S. Kaplan†, Zhengyu Cao†, Susan Hulsizer, Robert F. Berman, Paul J. Hagerman, and Isaac N. Pessah*. Early mitochondrial abnormalities in hippocampal neurons cultured from FMR1 premutation mouse model. Journal of Neurochemistry, 2012, 123(4):613-621.

  13. Zhengyu Cao, Timothy J. Shafer, Chris Gennings and Thomas F. Murray*.  Additivity of Pyrethroid Actions on Sodium Influx in Cortical Neurons.Environmental Health Perspective, 2011,119(9):1139-46. (Featured article).

  14. Zhengyu Cao, Timothy J. Shafer and Thomas F. Murray*. Mechanisms of pyrethroid insecticide-induced stimulation of calcium influx into neocortical neurons in vitro. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 2011, 336(1):197-205.

  15. Zhengyu Cao, Keith T. Lepage, Michael O. Frederick, K.C. Nicolaou and Thomas F. Murray*. Involvement of caspase activation in azaspiracid-induce neurotoxicity in neocortical neurons.Toxicological Sciences,2010, 114(2):323-334.