Department Web-Page

Dr. Qing - Xiang Amy Sang

Dr. Qing - Xiang Amy Sang

Endowed Professorship in Cancer Research

Ph.D. (1990) Georgetown University Medical Center

Contact Information
3007 CSL 850.644.8683
3501 CSL 850.644.4113
Programs of Research
Research Website
Research Specialities
Bioanalytical, Cellular Biochemistry and Drug Discover, Chemical Biology, Chemistry of Materials, Structural Biology
4 Visiting

Research Interest

Google Scholar Citation Indices: Citations, 7601; h-index, 44, i10-index, 89.

Sang Lab Major Research Interests

Biochemical, Molecular, and Pathological Mechanisms of Cancer, Stroke, Obesity, and Stem Cell Differentiation, and Cancer Biomarker and Drug Discovery

Professor Sang and her students, postdoctoral fellows, and collaborators have discovered and characterized a novel matrix metalloproteinase (endometase/matrilysin-2/MMP-26) in human cancers of endometrium, breast, and prostate. This protein is a putative cancer biomarker for human prostate, breast, and other types of carcinomas. The Sang lab is also investigating other new cancer biomarkers including phosphoproteins and glycoproteins. Furthermore, Dr. Sang lab has cloned human disintegrin and metalloproteinase 19 (adamalysin 19 or ADAM 19) gene and characterized its protein. Sang lab uncovered that matrilysin and gelatinase B have plasminogen-angiostatin converting enzyme activities. This type of biochemical research may contribute to an understanding of fundamental proteinase biochemistry and cell biology. The new knowledge may have potential applications to help patients with cancer, stroke, arthritis, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases.

Dr. Sang's laboratory is interested in protein chemistry and enzymology of metalloproteinases and their natural and synthetic inhibitors. The biological and pathological roles of these enzymes and inhibitors are investigated in the regulation of adult mesenchymal stem cell differentiation and fate. The classical biochemistry is combined with molecular biology, cell biology, material science, medicinal chemistry, and biomedical sciences. New metalloproteinases such as human tumor-derived endometase/matrilysin-2 (matrix metalloproteinase�26) and protease inhibitors such as tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-4 are under investigation, including cDNA cloning, protein expression, isolation, purification, characterization, sequencing, and chemical modifications. The research team is focusing on the studies of the biochemical mechanisms of zymogen activation, substrate specificities, the inhibition kinetics, and the structure-function relationships of the proteinases and their inhibitors. These synthetic small molecular enzyme inhibitors may be further developed to become potential candidates for therapeutics for treating cancer invasion, metastasis, stroke, and obesity.

Sang research team is exploring the biochemical basis and molecular mechanisms of human cancer cell progression, invasion, and metastasis. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs or matrixins) are a family of endopeptidases that require zinc for catalysis and calcium for protein folding. Because of their abilities to dissolve connective tissue barrier proteins such as collagens, fibronectin, and laminins, matrixins are one of the most important classes of molecules used by invading cells to facilitate invasive growth and spread. Angiogenesis, the process of new blood vessel formation, is essential for providing oxygen and nutrients for tumor growth and for generating a gateway for cancer cell metastasis. Inhibition of angiogenesis will starve tumors, induce cancer regression, and prevent the spread of cancer cells. Dr. Sang and her associates and collaborators are performing experiments to gain an understanding of the biochemical steps involved in metastasis and to develop new strategies to prevent tumor growth and to inhibit cancer angiogenesis and metastasis. Inhibition of angiogenesis may also starve fat cells and restrict fat tissue growth, thus, preventing and reducing obesity.

Dr. Sang is elected to the rank of Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science

FSU researchers identify ways breast cancer avoids immune system detection

Researchers Use Math to Develop Personalized Chemo Treatments

FSU News: Researchers work to decipher genetic data in hunt for new prostate cancer treatments

ScienceDaily Research News: An earlier start on diagnosing breast, prostate cancers

Sang Lab Facebook web link

Dr. Sang Putative Cancer Biomarker Presentation for Dr. and Sir. Harry Kroto
Global Educational Outreach for Science, Engineering and Technology (GEOSET) at Florida State University

Research Website
Faculty Profile

Faculty Interview

Inventions and Patents:

Q.-X. Sang and Z.J. Sahab. Separation of albumin from protein samples. U.S. Patent No.: US 7,459,542 B2; issued on Dec. 2, 2008.

Q.-X. Sang and Z.J. Sahab. Protein separation from a protein mixture. U.S. Patent No. 7585955; issued on September 8, 2009.

M.A. Schwartz, Y. Jin, and Q.-X. Sang (2013) "Substituted Heterocyclic Mercaptosulfonamide Metalloprotease Inhibitors". United States Patent no. 8,404,866, issued on March 26, 2013.

I.V. Alabugin, W.-Y. Yang, S. Roy, K. Kaya, and Q.-X. Sang (2015) Dipeptide acetylene conjugates and a method for photocleavage of double strand DNA by dipeptide acetylene conjugates. United States patent number 8927728, issued on January 6, 2016.


Selected from over 115 publications:
Bou-Dargham MJ, Liu Y, Sang QA, Zhang J (2018) Subgrouping breast cancer patients based on immune evasion mechanisms unravels a high involvement of transforming growth factor-beta and decoy receptor 3. PLoS One. 2018 Dec 4;13(12):e0207799. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207799. eCollection 2018.
Robbins CJ, Bou-Dargham MJ, Sanchez K, Rosen MC, Sang QXA (2018) Decoding Somatic Driver Gene Mutations and Affected Signaling Pathways in Human Medulloblastoma Subgroups. J Cancer 2018; 9(24):4596-4610. doi:10.7150/jca.27993.
Bejoy, J, Zhe Wang, Z, Bijonowski, B, Yang, M, Teng Ma, T, Sang Q.-X., Li, Y. (2018) Differential Effects of Heparin and Hyaluronic Acid on Neural Patterning of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering 4 (12), 4354-4366. DOI: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.8b01142.
Bejoy, J, Song, L, Wang, Z, Sang, Q.-X, Zhou, Y, and Li, Y (2018) Neuroprotective Activities of Heparin, Heparinase III, and Hyaluronic Acid on the Aβ42-Treated Forebrain Spheroids Derived from Human Stem Cells. ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering 4 (8), 2922-2933. DOI: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.8b00021.
Myers JS, Vallega KA, White J, Yu K, Yates CC, Sang QA. Proteomic characterization of paired non-malignant and malignant African-American prostate epithelial cell lines distinguishes them by structural proteins. BMC Cancer. 2017 Jul 11;17(1):480. doi: 10.1186/s12885-017-3462-7. PMID: 28697756.
Stewart PA, Khamis ZI, Zhau HE, Duan P, Li Q, Chung LWK, Sang QA. Upregulation of minichromosome maintenance complex component 3 during epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in human prostate cancer. Oncotarget. 2017 Jun 13;8(24):39209-39217. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.16835. PMID: 28424404.
Goncearenco A, Rager SL, Li M, Sang QX, Rogozin IB, Panchenko AR. Exploring background mutational processes to decipher cancer genetic heterogeneity. Nucleic Acids Res. 2017 May 4. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkx367. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 28472504.
Yu K, Sang QA, Lung PY, Tan W, Lively T, Sheffield C, Bou-Dargham MJ, Liu JS, Zhang J. Personalized chemotherapy selection for breast cancer using gene expression profiles. Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 3;7:43294. doi: 10.1038/srep43294. PMID: 28256629.
Weerasekera L, Rudnicka C, Sang QX, Curran JE, Johnson MP, Moses EK, G=F6ring HH, Blangero J, Hricova J, Schlaich M, Matthews VB. ADAM19: A Novel Target for Metabolic Syndrome in Humans and Mice. Mediators Inflamm. 2017;2017:7281986. doi: 10.1155/2017/7281986. Epub 2017 Feb 7. PMID: 28265178.
Myers JS, Hare J, Sang QA. A Simple Adaptable Blood-Brain Barrier Cell Model for Screening Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitor Functionality. Methods Mol Biol. 2017;1579:287-296. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-6863-3_16. PMID: 28299744.
Bosco DB, Roycik MD, Jin Y, Schwartz MA, Lively TJ, Zorio DA, Sang QA. A new synthetic matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor reduces human mesenchymal stem cell adipogenesis. PLoS One. 2017 Feb 24;12(2):e0172925. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0172925. eCollection 2017. PMID: 28234995.
Myers JS, von Lersner AK, Sang QX. Proteomic Upregulation of Fatty Acid Synthase and Fatty Acid Binding Protein 5 and Identification of Cancer- and Race-Specific Pathway Associations in Human Prostate Cancer Tissues. J Cancer. 2016 Jul 5;7(11):1452-64. doi: 10.7150/jca.15860. eCollection 2016. PMID: 27471561.
Vallega KA, Liu N, Myers JS, Yu K, Sang QX. Elevated Resistin Gene Expression in African American Estrogen and Progesterone Receptor Negative Breast Cancer. PLoS One. 2016 Jun 17;11(6):e0157741. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157741. eCollection 2016. PMID: 27314854.
Evidence for a Proapoptotic Role of Matrix Metalloproteinase-26 in Human Prostate Cancer Cells and Tissues. Khamis ZI, Iczkowski KA, Man YG, Bou-Dargham MJ, Sang QX. Journal of Cancer. 2016; 7(1):80-7. PubMed [journal] PMID: 26722363 PMCID: PMC4679384
J.S. Myers, A.K. von Lersner, C.J. Robbins, and Q.-X. Sang (2015) Differentially Expressed Genes and Signature Pathways of Human Prostate Cancer. PLoS One. 2015 Dec 18;10(12):e0145322. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145322.
D.B. Bosco, R. Kenworthy, D.A. Zorio, and Q.-X. Sang (2015) Human mesenchymal stem cells are resistant to Paclitaxel by adopting a non-proliferative fibroblastic state. PLoS One. 2015 Jun 1;10(6):e0128511. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128511. eCollection 2015.
Y. Yan, L. Martin, D.B. Bosco, J. Bundy, R.S. Nowakowski, Q.-X. Sang, and Yan Li (2015) Differential effects of acellular embryonic matrices on pluripotent stem cell expansion and neural differentiation, Biomaterials 73:231-42. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2015.09.020.
Y. Jin, M.D. Roycik, D.B. Bosco, Q. Cao, M.H. Constantino, M.A. Schwartz, and Q.-X. Sang (2013) Matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors based on the 3-mercaptopyrrolidine core. J. Med. Chem. 56, 4357-4373.
P.A. Stewart, J. Luks, M.D. Roycik, Q.-X. Sang, and J. Zhang (2013) Differentially Expressed Transcripts and Dysregulated Signaling Pathways and Networks in African American Breast Cancer. PLoS One. 2013 Dec 4;8(12):e82460. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082460.
Z.I. Khamis, K.A. Iczkowski, Q.-X. Sang (2012) Metastasis suppressors in human benign prostate, intraepithelial neoplasia, and invasive cancer: their prospects as therapeutic agents. Med. Res. Rev. 32, 1026-1077. doi: 10.1002/med.20232.
S.M. Semaan, X. Wang, P.A. Stewart, A.G. Marshall, and Q.-X. Sang (2011) Differential Phosphopeptide Expression in a Benign Breast Tissue, and Triple-Negative Primary and Metastatic Breast Cancer Tissues from the Same African-American Women by LC-LTQ/FT-ICR Mass Spectrometry. Biochem. Biophy. Res. Comm. 412, 127-131.
X. Wang, P.A. Stewart, Q. Cao, Q.-X. Sang, L.W.K. Chung, M.R. Emmett, A.G. Marshall (2011) Characterization of the Phosphoproteome in Androgen-Repressed Human Prostate Cancer Cells by Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry. J. Proteome Res. 10, 3920-3928.
W.-Y. Yang, B. Breiner, S.V. Kovalenko, C. Ben, M. Singh, S.N. LeGrand, Q.-X. Sang, G.F. Strouse, J.A. Copland, I.V. Alabugin (2009) C-Lysine Conjugates: pH-Controlled Light-Activated Reagents for Efficient Double Stranded DNA Cleavage with Implications for Cancer Therapy. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131,11458-11470.
J. Hu, P.E. Van den Steen, Q.-X. Sang, and G. Opdenakker (2007) Matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors as therapy for inflammatory and vascular diseases. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. 6, 480-498. Invited review.
S. Lee, H.I. Park, and Q.-X. Sang (2007) Calcium Regulates Tertiary Structure and Enzymatic Activity of Human Endometase/Matrilysin-2 and its Role in Promoting Human Breast Cancer Cell Invasion. Biochem. J. 403, 31-42.
Q.-X. Sang, Y. Jin, R.G. Newcomer, S.C. Monroe, X. Fang, D.R. Hurst, S. Lee, Q. Cao, and M.A. Schwartz (2006) Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors as Prospective Agents for the Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular and Neoplastic Diseases. Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry. 6, 289-316. Invited review.
Y.-G. Man and Q.-X. Sang (2004) The Significance of Focal Myoepithelial Cell Layer Disruptions in Human Breast Tumor Invasion: a Paradigm Shift from the �Protease-centered� Hypothesis. Exp. Cell Res. 301, 103-118.
Y.-G. Zhao, A.-Z. Xiao, H.I. Park, R.G. Newcomer, M. Yan, Y.-G. Man, S.C. Heffelfinger, and Q.-X. Sang (2004) Endometase/matrilysin-2 in human breast ductal carcinoma in situ and its inhibition by tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases-2 and -4: a putative role in the initiation of breast cancer invasion. Cancer Res. 64, 590-598.
Y.-G. Zhao, A. Xiao, R.G. Newcomer, H.I. Park, T. Kang, L.W.K. Chung, M.G. Swanson, H. E. Zhau, J. Kurhanewicz, and Q.-X. Sang (2003) Activation of Pro-Gelatinase B by Endometase/Matrilysin-2 Promotes Invasion of Human Prostate Cancer Cells. J. Biol. Chem. 278, 15056-15064.
H.I. Park, Y. Jin, D.R. Hurst, C.A. Monroe, S. Lee, M.A. Schwartz, and Q.-X. Sang (2003) The intermediate S1' pocket of the endometase/matrilysin-2 active site revealed by enzyme inhibition kinetic studies, protein sequence analyses, and homology modeling. J. Biol. Chem., 278:51646-51653.
H.I. Park, B.E. Turk, F.E. Gerkema, L.C. Cantley, and Q.-X. Sang (2002) Peptide substrate specificities and protein cleavage sites of human endometase/matrilysin-2/matrix metalloproteinase-26. J. Biol. Chem. 277, 35168-35175.
H.I. Park, J. Ni, F.E. Gerkema, L. Ding, V.E. Belozerov, and Q.-X. Sang (2000) Identification and Characterization of Human Endometase (Matrix Metalloproteinase-26) from Endometrial Tumor. J. Biol. Chem. 275, 20540-20544.
Q.X. Sang (1998) Complex role of matrix metalloproteinases in angiogenesis. Minireview. Cell Res. 8, 171-177.
H.E. Zhau, S.-M. Chang, B.-Q. Chen, Y. Wang, H. Zhang, C. Kao, Q.A. Sang, S.J. Pathaks, and L.W.K. Chung (1996) Androgen-repressed phenotype in human prostate cancer, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 93, 15152-15157.
My NCBI Pubmed Bibliography/Peer-reviewed Publication List: