Associate Professor of Medicine

Division of Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care Medicine
1720 2nd Avenue So, THT-422
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL 35294

Contact Information


Campus Address:


 BMR2 410

Academic Office location:


 BMR2 410

Office Phone:


 (205) 975-8919

Office Fax (Academic):


 (205) 975-8565

Email Address:



Brief Bio

Dr. Cheng completed his medical education at Hunan Medical University in 1985. Later, he continued his graduate training at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, and Hunan Medical University where he later joined the faculty.  Dr. Cheng served as vice chairman of the Center for Molecular Biology at Hunan Medical University from 1993 to1996. He completed additional postdoctoral training at the Kimball Research Institute (New York Blood Center) and Emory University School of Medicine. At Emory University, he was promoted to the rank of Instructor and later, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. In 2009, he was recruited to the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham at the rank of Associate Professor of Medicine. Dr. Cheng has spent more than two decades in biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology research and has discovered nine new human genes in the NADPH oxidase and heme-containing peroxidase families. He holds nine patents issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.


Academic & Research Interests

In the past decade, Dr. Cheng has identified and characterized five novel members of NADPH oxidases (Nox enzymes), two regulatory proteins of Nox enzymes, and two members of heme-containing peroxidase family (e.g. Nox3, Nox4, Nox5, NOXO1, NOXA1, VPO1 and VPO2). An example of the molecular structure of VPO1 is shown below, which is very similar to that of myeloperoxidase. Based on the intrinsic association of the two enzyme families (where RH is an organic substrate, while X- is a halide ion or thiocyanate ion) and his previous findings in these fields, Dr. Cheng now focuses on understanding the synergistic functions of these two enzyme families in maintaining the balance of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cells, and in pathology, the outcome of ROS imbalance (i.e. the regulatory mechanism of expression and activation of Nox enzymes and heme-peroxidases) in cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

Accumulating evidence indicates that H2O2 functions as a signaling molecule in eukaryotic cellular systems. Recently, Dr. Cheng's group has identified that vascular peroxidase1 (VPO1) is an endogenous negative regulator of H2O2-mediated cellular signaling. Current working hypothesis is that VPO1 mediates diverse physiological and pathological processes via H2O2 effects on cell proliferation, differentiation, and inflammatory responses.

Heme-containing peroxidases catalyze peroxidase reactions and halide ion oxidation, and may produce toxic oxidants. VPO1 is highly expressed in the cardiovascular system and lung, leading to the hypothesis that VPO1 plays an important role in the genesis and development of atherosclerosis and other inflammatory diseases such as asthma and fibrosis. In addition, VPOs may be also involved in the metabolism of nitric oxide, the formation of di-tyrosine cross-link and the chlorination of proteins.


Key Publications

1. Cheng G, Salerno JC, Cao Z, Pagano PJ, and Lambeth JD.Identification and characterization of VPO1, a new animal heme-containing peroxidase. Free Radical Biology & Medicine. 2008, 45(12):1682-1694.

2. Cheng G, Diebold BA, Hughes Y, and Lambeth, JD. NOX1-dependent reactive oxygen generation if regulation by Rac1. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2006, 281: 17718-17726.

3. Cheng G, Ritsick D, and Lambeth JD. Nox3 regulation by NOXO1, p47phox and p67phox. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2004, 279(33): 34250-34255.

4. Cheng G, Lambeth JD. NOXO1: Regulation of lipid binding, localization and activation of Nox1 by the PX domain. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2004, 279: 4737-4742.

5. Cheng, G. Cao, Z. Xu, X. Meir, EG. Lambeth, JD. Homologs of gp91phox: cloning and tissue expression of Nox3, Nox4, and Nox5. Gene. 2001, 269(1-2): 131-140.

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