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Anthony K. L. Leung, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

Departmental Affiliations

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room E8632
Baltimore, Maryland 21205

+1 (410) 955 2926

SciVal Research Profile

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PhD, University of Dundee, 2003
MBioch, University of Oxford, 1999


Research in the Leung lab focuses on understanding the relationship between gene regulation and stress in cancers and infectious diseases, using biochemical, cellular imaging, genomics and proteomics approaches. We discovered that microRNA activity and the structural integrity of non-membranous RNA granules are regulated by poly(ADP-ribose), a poorly understood macromolecule and post-translational modification that is essential in multicellular organisms. Dysregulation in synthesis of poly(ADP-ribose) results in human diseases including cancers, neurological and inflammatory disorders. My research program is to characterize how this highly negatively-charged macromolecule affects gene regulation at the RNA level. To address the role of poly(ADP-ribose), my lab develops proteomics and informatics tools to dissect the roles of this post-translational modification. We developed multiple non-biased approaches to identify endogenous ADP-ribosylation sites, overcoming a long-standing challenge in the field. We developed the first publicly available database of ADP-ribosylated proteins for researchers inside and outside the field to appreciate the complexity and breadth of this protein modification. Recently, we are using these novel tools to understand the biology of ADP-ribosylation in regulating microRNA activity in cancers and alphavirus infection.

Honors and Awards

2016 Top 10 Finalist, American Society of Cell Biology–Gibco Emerging Leader Prize

2015 Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award

2013 Faculty Innovation Award, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

2013 Top 5 Finalist, Agilent Early Career Professor

2011-2013 Idea Award, Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program

2007-2010 Special Fellowship, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

2004-2007 Long-term Fellowship, Human Frontier Science Program

Jul-Aug 2003 Travelling Fellowship, Journal of Cell Science, Company of Biologist Limited

Jun-Jul 2002 European Advanced Light Microscopy Facility Fellowship, EMBL Heidelberg, Germany

1999-2002 Scholarship, Croucher Foundation, Hong Kong

1999-2002 Overseas Research Scheme Award, UK

1995-1999 Waugh Scholarship, University of Oxford, UK

1995-1999 Fitzgerald Prize, University of Oxford, UK

  • Poly(ADP-ribose)
  • microRNAs
  • Cancers
  • RNA regulation
  • RNA granules
  • stress responses
  • therapeutic siRNAs
  • host-pathogen interactions
  • high-resolution imaging
  • quantitative proteomics
  • bioinformatics

Selected publications (5 out of 35)

  • Vivelo CA, Wat R, Agrawal C, Tee HY, Leung AK. ADPriboDB: The database of ADP-ribosylated proteins. Nucleic acids research. 2016 PMID: 27507885 http:/
  • Daniels CM, Ong SE, Leung AK.  The Promise of Proteomics for the Study of ADP-ribosylation. Molecular Cell 2015 PMID: 26091340
  • Daniels CM, Ong SE, Leung AK. Phosphoproteomic Approach to Characterize Protein Mono- and Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation Sites from Cells. Journal of Proteome Research 2014 PMID: 24920161
  • Leung AK. Poly(ADP-ribose): An organizer of cellular architecture. Journal of Cell Biology 2014 PMID: 24914234
  • Leung AK, Vyas S, Rood JE, Bhutkar A, Sharp PA, Chang P. Poly(ADP-ribose) regulates stress responses and microRNA activity in the cytoplasm. Molecular Cell 2011  PMID: 21596313