Tongli Zhang

Tongli Zhang , PhD

Associate Professor

Medical Sciences Building


COM PSP Zhang Lab - 0576

Professional Summary

Cell Biologist, construct mechanistic models to connect cellular behaviors and molecular control mechanisms.


Doctoral Degree: Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University Blacksburg, VA, 2008 (Genetics)

Postdoctoral Research Associate: University of Oxford Oxford, England, 2015

Research and Practice Interests

Cells, working machines in our body, respond to environmental signals (e.g. food, hormone, and infection, etc.) and make critical decisions such as proliferation, differentiation, defense, or even death. 

The decision makings of cells are carried out by their molecular control networks. Although no single molecule is directing the cellular behaviors by itself, the dynamical properties emerging from the interaction between the control molecules serve as clear commands to the cells. 

As we know more about the molecular control networks, they are getting more complex. These networks often include feedbacks, crosstalk, context-dependent changes, and time-dependent changes. Mathematical modeling is a powerful tool to handle such complexities. 

In my research, I combine biological intuition with mathematical modeling to make clear the seemingly confusing networks. My biological intuition is on cell cycle, apoptosis, p53 pathway and NF-κB pathway. My modeling expertise is on positive feedbacks, negative feedbacks, switches, and oscillations. 

Interested students are encouraged to send me CVs and discuss opportunities in my group.

Research Support

Grant: #1R21CA227379 Investigators:Hong, Christian; Zhang, Tongli 07-01-2018 -06-30-2020 National Cancer Institute (PQ6) Roles of circadian rhythms in tumor development Role:Collaborator $208,800.00 Awarded Level:Federal

Grant: #W911NF-20-1-0192 Investigators:Zhang, Tongli 06-04-2020 -06-03-2023 Department of the Army Testing a “shot gun” approach to develop genome level predictive models Role:PI $22,413.25 Awarded Level:Federal

Grant: #FA9550-20-1-0117 Investigators:Heikenfeld, Jason; Zhang, Tongli 08-15-2020 -08-14-2023 Air Force Office of Scientific Research In-Vivo Validation of Analyte Partitioning Mechanisms for Peripheral Biochemical Monitoring Role:Collaborator $289,771.00 Awarded Level:Federal


Peer Reviewed Publications

Zhang T, Kalantzaki M, Kitamura E, Novak B, Tanaka T An improved dynamical model of chromosome bi-orientation.

Barr A, Zhang T, Novak B, Bakal C Systemic characterization of G1/S transition.

Zhang T, Novak B, Tyson JJ Integrative analysis of cell cycle control in mammalian cells.

Lossaint G, Bacevic K, Zhang T, Fraillery D, Charrier-Savournin F, Piette J, Fisher D, Dulic V. Output of a reciprocally regulated Chk1-p21 network controls cell fate after DNA damage-induced G2 arrest.

Sero J, Sailem H, Ardy R, Almuttaqi H, Zhang T, Bakal C (2015. ) Cell shape and the microenvironment regulate nuclear translocation of NF-kB in breast epithelial and tumor cells. Mol Syst Biol, , (online ) ,

Kalantzaki M, Kitamura E, Zhang T, Mino A, Novak B, Tanaka T (2015. ) Kinetochore microtubule error correction is driven by differentially regulated interaction modes .Nat Cell Biol, , (online ) ,

Zhang T, TYson JJ, Novak B (2013. ) Role for regulated phosphatase activity in generating mitotic oscillations in Xenopus cell-free extracts .Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, , 110 ,20539-44

Cundell MJ, Bastos RN, Zhang T, Holder J, Gruneberg U, Novak B, Barr FA (2013. ) The BEG (PP2A-B55/ENSA/Greatwall) pathway ensures cytokinesis follows chromosome separation. Mol Cell, , 52 ,393-405

Zhang T, Oliveira RA, Schmierer B, Novak B (2013. ) Dynamical scenarios for chromosome bi-orientation. Biophys J, , 104 ,2595-606

Tuck C, Zhang T, Potapova T, Malumbres M, Novak B (2013. ) Robust mitotic entry is ensured by a latching switch. Biol Open, , 2 ,924-31

Contact Information

University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
231 Albert Sabin Way
Cincinnati  Ohio, 45267-0576
Phone: 513-558-6156
Fax: 513-558-5738