Heyang Zhang




Laboratory for General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy
Ghent University
Ottergemsesteenweg 460
9000 Gent
Tel: 0032 9 264 80 47 (secretary)
Tel: 0032 9 264 83 65 (direct)
Fax: 0032 9 2648189
E-mail: Heyang.Zhang@UGent.be



Doctoral Training in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science, Ghent University
Master in the Department of Pharmaceutics, China Pharmaceutical University


2012.9-2015.6   Full Scholarship of China Pharmaceutical University
2015.9-2019.9   State Scholarship Fund organized by China Scholarship Council

Research interests:

mRNA, Nanoparticles, Intraperitoneal gene delivery

Summary of Research Project(s)

The research of Heyang focus on the mRNA nanoparticles delivery targeted to the tumors sites to prevent the formation and growth of metastasis. Unlike pDNA, mRNA activity does not depend on nuclear envelope breakdown, so it is an ideal candidate for protein expression in non-dividing cells and can also avoid potential insertional mutagenesis. Recent advance in the field of modification on mRNA has revolutionized mRNA as a therapeutic in a variety of medical indications, ranging from hereditary  or acquired metabolic diseases to regenerative medicine.
As to the nanoparticles targeted to tumor, the raised interstitial fluid pressure (IFP) may still prove detrimental to the flow of nanoparticles into sites of interest and prevent extravasation of macromolecules and nanoparticles to distal region in the tumor, resulting in suboptimal delivery of chemotherapeutics. One strategy to overcome the raised IFP is normalization of tumor vasculature with some antiangiogenic agents, targeted against vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Co-delivery of anticancer drugs and mRNA encoding for the expression of VEGF antibodies will be explored to enhance tumor penetration of these anticancer drugs, which may show more effective therapy of cancers (as shown in the following picture).

Schema Heyang