Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

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Leng Chee Chang, Ph.D.
Leng Chee Chang

Associate Professor

The research interests of Dr. Chang include the isolation, identification, and biological evaluation of compounds from higher plant and microbial origin, particular compounds useful as chemotherapeutic agents, as well as Raf Kinase inhibitors from Streptomyces species and endophytic fungi. Raf kinases are proto-oncogenes that act as the entry point of the MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase/ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase) pathway. The well-studied role of MAPK/ERK signaling in tumorigenesis and metastasis has been validated as chemotherapeutic target. Chang’s lab is also studying other possible drugs, cancer chemopreventive agents from higher plants with ethnopharmacological and traditional medicine uses. Currently, her lab is studying Moringa oleifera (marung-gay) and Morinda citrifolia (Noni). Marung-gay is extensively eaten by the local Filipino population in Hawaii and has shown significant inhibition of nitric oxide production in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced RAW 264.7 mouse macrophage cells. The identification of bioactive lead compounds for standardized dietary and nutritional development of MO is underway.


  • M.S., Natural Products Chemistry, University of Malaysia, Sabah, Malaysia
  • Ph.D., Pharmacognosy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Intramural Research Training Fellow with Carole A. Bewley, Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry, NIDDK, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

Classes and Courses

  • PHPS 501 Biochemistry I
  • PHPS 504 Immunology
  • PHPS 554 Herbal Medicines
  • PHPP 523 Wellness, Prevention and Disease Management
  • PHPS 599v Directed Studies

Selected Presentations and/or Publications

  • Bioorganic Medicinal Chemistry, 2010, 17:6598-6602
  • Journal of Natural Product, 2010, 73:880-884
  • Marine Drugs, 2010, 8:429-437
  • Planta Medica, 2008, 74:555-559
  • Organic Letters, 2007, 9:3037-3040

Active Grants

  • IDeA Networks for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), NIH
  • Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF)
  • Cancer Research Center of Hawaii (CRCH)

Awards and Honors

  • Van Doren Scholar Award, 1997
  • Cottrell College Science Award, 2005
  • D. John Faulkner Travel Award, 2006