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Chunzhang Cao, PhD

Academic Title:

Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:




Phone (Primary):


Education and Training

I obtained my PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Jilin University, China. I was trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the American Red Cross Holland Laboratory at Rockville, Maryland. I joined the faculty of the University of Maryland, School of Medicine in 2007 as a Research Associate. In 2010, I was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology. My research is supported by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Maryland Stem Cell Research Found (MSCRF).

Highlighted Publications

Yakovlev S; Mikhailenko I; Cao C; Zhang L; Strickland D; Medved L. Identification of VLDLR as a novel endothelial cell receptor for fibrin that modulates fibrin-dependent transendothelial migration of leukocytesBlood 2012;119(2):637-44. PMCID: PMC3257021 

Ranganathan S; Cao C; Catania J; Migliorini M; Zhang L; Strickland D. Molecular basis for the interaction of low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1) with integrin alphaMbeta2: identification of binding sites within alphaMbeta2 for LRP1. The Journal of biological chemistry 2011;286(35):30535-41. PMCID: PMC3162413 

Cao C; Gao Y; Li Y; Antalis T; Castellino F; Zhang L. The efficacy of activated protein C in murine endotoxemia is dependent on integrin CD11bThe Journal of clinical investigation 2010;120(6):1971-80. PMCID: PMC2877939 

Li Y, Cao C, Jia W, Yu L, Mo M, Wang Q, Huang Y, Lim JM, Ishihara M, Wells L, Azadi P, Robinson H, He YW, Zhang L, Mariuzza RA. Structure of the F-spondin domain of mindin, an integrin ligand and pattern recognition moleculeEMBO J 2009;28(3):286-97. PMCID: PMC2637340 

Tang P, Cao C, Xu M, Zhang L. Cytoskeletal protein radixin activates integrin alpha(M)beta(2) by binding to its cytoplasmic tailFEBS Lett 2007;20;581(6):1103-8. 

Cao C; Lawrence DA; Li Y; Von Arnim CA; Herz J; Hyman BT; Strickland D; and Zhang L. Fibrinolytic inhibitor PAI-1 and endocytic receptor LRP coordinate Mac-1-dependent macrophage migration into the lymphatic system. EMBO J 2006; 25:1860–1870. 

Cao C; Lawrence DA; Strickland D; and Zhang, L. A specific role of integrin mac-1 in accelerated macrophage efflux to the lymphaticsBlood 2005; 106:3234-3241.  PMCID: PMC1895336

Research Interests

My research focuses on macrophage integrin CD11b/CD18 and its roles in both physiological and pathological processes. In particular, my studies focus on the molecular mechanisms that allow macrophages to migrate within inflammatory process and identify the signaling pathways via integrin CD11b/CD18. The information generated from these studies will assist us in the design of therapeutic reagents to treat inflammation related diseases, such as atherosclerosis, cancer, arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases.