Research Team

Morgan Zhang, PhD

Morgan Zhang, PhD
Associate Research Scientist
NYU Cancer Pain Labortory
NYU Oral Cancer Center
NYU College of Dentistry

Dr. Morgan Zhang is an experienced neuroscientist with a 20-year history of research in academia and industry. Dr. Zhang possesses extensive expertise in animal pain behavior and has published his research findings in peer-reviewed journals including Biochemistry, Journal of Neurochemistry, and Molecular Pain. He has filed for patents in the USA and China related to the treatment of neurological diseases. In February 2021 he began work with Dr. Yi Ye and the Oral Cancer Pain Laboratory. He is currently pursuing research on neuropathic pain, especially cancer-induced pain.

Dr. Zhang earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular biology in 2005 at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center /Health Science Center at Houston, Texas. He investigated the structure and function relationship of G protein-coupled receptors important in cardiovascular diseases in his thesis research. While pursuing a Ph.D., he spent a year at Signase Inc. as a scientist, where he joined a team in the development of new inhibitors of Src kinases for colon cancer. He moved to New York in 2006 to complete a year of postdoctoral training at Columbia University; he studied gene regulation in cardiac development and regeneration. In 2007, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Richard LoPachin at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, as a postdoctoral scholar. He studied the neurotoxicity mechanisms of hexacarbon and type-2 alkenes (e.g., acrolein), developed a new form of exogenous antioxidants ( i.e., 1,3-dicarbonyl compounds, scavenging type-2 alkenes), and discovered cytoprotective effects of these molecules in chronic neurodegenerative conditions (e.g., Alzheimer's disease). A key factor in the development of neurodegenerative disorders and many other neurological diseases (e.g., neuropathic pain) is oxidative stress, to which the neuron is especially vulnerable. Many forms of exogenous antioxidants have been developed by scientists to fight against oxidative stress. In 2015, Dr. Zhang pursued research on an alternative antioxidant strategy to boost endogenous antioxidant response. He established Shanghai Elixiria Biotech Co., Ltd. and USA Elixiria biotech Inc. as Chair of the Board and CEO, and developed PPARγ agonists with high blood–brain barrier permeability. In preclinical studies, one promising compound (ELB00824) proved to be non-addictive, non-sedating, and highly efficaeous in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain, trigeminal neuralgia, and diabetic neuropathy. His approach lays the foundation for treatment of a variety of neurological diseases.

Dr. Zhang joined Dr. Yi Ye’s lab in 2021.