Dr. Xiaolin Cheng brings computational modeling background to college

10/30/2017

Xiaolin Cheng, PhD, joined the College of Pharmacy Division of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy in August as an associate professor with tenure. Dr. Cheng brings a background in computational modeling and simulation to understand molecular basis of drug action and to rationally design new therapeutic molecules.

In addition to his position in the college, Dr. Cheng is also part of The Ohio State University Discovery Themes, a university-wide initiative to bring top research scientists to campus to focus on critical societal needs and promote and enhance broad university collaboration.
“I am very excited to be at Ohio State and to be part of the university’s Discovery Themes,” Dr. Cheng said. “It is incredibly collaborative and I enjoy being able to participate in the mini-workshops. Although I’ve only been at the university for a few months, I have already established several collaborations across campus.”

Dr. Cheng received his PhD in computational chemistry from the Stony Brook University in 2004. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the University of California, San Diego in 2008. Prior to joining Ohio State, Dr. Cheng was a senior research and development staff member at the Center for Molecular Biophysics of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and adjunct associate professor at the University of Tennessee.

“I was able to lay the needed foundation with my previous work. Here (at Ohio State), I can apply what my lab has developed to real drug design,” Dr. Cheng explained.

Dr. Cheng’s lab aims to develop an interdisciplinary research program centered on computer-aided drug design and discovery. Closely collaborating with experimental chemists and biologists, his group utilizes a myriad of computational modeling and simulation, as well as data analytics techniques to understand the molecular basis of drug action and rationally design new drug molecules.

Dr. Cheng’s group also works on developing and applying multiscale computational techniques to investigate the structure, dynamics and function of complex biomolecular (and cellular) systems; and bridging large-scale molecular simulation with systems biology towards a new drug discovery paradigm.

In a recent publication, Dr. Cheng was part of a team of research scientists who first confirmed the existence of the long hypothesized lipid rafts in living cells. Per an article by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, “These tightly packed free-floating membrane lipids and proteins are thought to be vital to cell signaling. The rafts are also thought to facilitate the movement of essential biomolecules in and out of the cell, along with other functions. The methods developed may prove valuable in biomass feedstock and biofuel production, where bacteria have an important role.”

”Dr. Cheng fills a critical research area”, said Karl Werbovetz, PhD, professor and division chair.  “Our faculty are excited to have such an accomplished scientist to spearhead the computer-aided drug discovery and design efforts in our division.”
“Having others value the work I’ve done is an honor and I am proud to be at Ohio State. I want to push the boundaries of molecular simulation, scale our codes for supercomputers and ultimately accelerate the process for drug design.” Dr. Cheng said.