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Weiping Tang, PhD

Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor, Janis Apinis Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Director of Medicinal Chemistry Center

Drug Discovery:

a) We are developing small molecules that can selectively remove disease-causing proteins in cells and animal models.  These small molecules can be used as probes to knock out proteins and therapeutics to treat human diseases. b) We are also developing small molecule ligands for carbohydrate binding proteins that are secreted from the cells or on the outer membrane. These proteins are essential for cell-cell communications and many diseases, such as cancers and vascular diseases. c) We develop various cell-based and biochemical assays to evaluate the pharmacological properties of the above small molecules such as potency, selectivity, and stability. We  also design assays to study the detailed cellular mechanisms of these novel small molecules such as how they induce the ubiquitination, degradation and other cellular changes.

Organic Synthesis:

We are interesting in advancing glycoscience by streamlining the synthesis of carbohydrates through the development of novel technologies (e.g. site-selective functionalization, de novo synthesis of bacterial sugars, automated synthesis, electrochemical synthesis, etc.). We are also interested in developing novel reactions for the synthesis of carbo- and heterocycles that are present in diverse bioactive polycyclic natural products and pharmaceutical agents. These reactions can be used for the optimization of pharmacological properties of small molecules such as potency, selectivity, stability, and solubility for treating various human diseases. 

Chemical Biology:

We are interested in dissecting the complex biological pathways by novel small molecule probes. We are currently developing small molecules that can selectively modulate protein stability and epigenetic markers.

Background: Dr. Weiping Tang joined the faculty of UW-Madison in 2007. His lab focuses on various aspects of drug discovery including synthetic organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, chemical biology, assay development, and mechanism of action studies for bioactive compounds. Please visit his lab website (link on the left) for updated information.


  • BS 1997 Chemistry - Peking University
  • MS 1999 Chemistry - New York University
  • PhD 2005 Organic Chemistry - Stanford University
  • Postdoc 2007 Medicinal Chemistry, Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery - Harvard University

Awards and Honors:

  • Boehringer Ingelheim Predoctoral Fellowship (2002)
  • Amgen Predoctoral Fellowship (2003)
  • HHMI Postdoctoral Fellowship (2005-2007)
  • Thieme Synlett/Synthesis Journal Award (2010)
  • ACS Young Academic Investigator Symposium (2011)
  • Amgen Young Investigator Award (2011)
  • UW-Madison Vilas Mid-Career Award (2018)
  • Janis Apinis Professor (2019)
  • Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor (2022)

Medicinal Chemistry II (PharmSci 532)

Natural Product Synthesis, Biosynthesis and Drug Discovery (PharmSci 786)

Highlighted Publications:
  • “A Cell-based Target Engagement Assay for the Identification of Cereblon E3 Ubiquitin Ligase Ligands and Their Application in HDAC6 Degraders” Yang, K.;  Zhao, Y.; Nie, X.; Wu, H.; Wang, B.; Almodovar-Rivera, C. M.; Xie, H.;* Tang, W.* Cell Chem. Biol. 2020, 27, 866-876.
  • “Two-stage Strategy for Development of Proteolysis Targeting Chimeras and its Application for Estrogen Receptor Degraders” Roberts, B. L.; Ma, Z.-X.; Gao, A.; Leisten, E. D.; Yin, D.; Xu, W.; and Tang, W.* ACS Chem. Biol. 202015, 1487–1496.
  • “Chemical Synthesis and Biological Application of Modified Oligonucleotides” Glazier, D. A.; Liao, J.; Roberts, B. L.; Li, X.; Yang, K.; Stevens, C. M.; and Tang, W.* Bioconjugate Chem. 2020, 31, 1213-1233.
  • “Development of Selective Histone Deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) Degraders Recruiting Von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) E3 Ubiquitin Ligase” Yang, K.; Wu, H.; Zhang, Z.; Leisten, E. G.; Nie, X.; Liu, B.; Wen, Z.; Zhang, J.; Cunningham, M. D. and Tang, W.* ACS Med. Chem. Lett. 2020, 11, 575-581.
  • "Site- and Stereoselective O-Alkylation of Glycosides by Rh(II)-Catalyzed Carbenoid Insertion" Wu, J.; Li, X.; Qi, X.; Duan, X.; Cracraft, W. L.; Guizei, I. A.; Liu, P.;* and Tang, W.* J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 19902-19910.
  • "A general strategy for diversifying complex natural products to polycyclic scaffolds with medium-sized rings" Zhao, C.; Ye, Z.; Ma, Z.-X.; Wildman, S. A.; Blaszczyk, S. A.; Hu, L.; Guizei, I. A.; Tang, W.* Nat. Commun. 2019, 10, 4015.
  • "Development of Multi-Functional Histone Deacetylase 6 Degraders with Potent Anti-Myeloma Activity" Wu, H.; Yang, K.; Zhang, Z.; Leisten, E. D.; Li, Z.; Xie, H.; Liu, J.; Smith, K. A.; Novakova, Z.; Barinka, C.; and Tang, W.* J. Med. Chem. 2019, 62, 7042-7057.
  • "Development of selective small molecule MDM2 degraders based on nutlin" Wang, B.; Wu, S.; Liu, J.; Yang, K.; Xie, H.; and Tang, W.* Eur. J. Med. Chem. 2019, 176, 476-491.
  • "S-Adamantyl Group Directed Site-Selective Acylation and Its Applications in the Streamlined Assembly of Oligosaccharides" Blaszczyk. S. A.;  Xiao, G.; Wen, P.; Hao, H.; Wu, J.; Wang, B.; Carattino, F.; Li, Z.; Glazier, D. A.; McCarty, B. J.; Liu, P.* and Tang, W.* Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 9542-9546.
  • "Intermolecular Regio- and Stereoselective Hetero-[5+2] Cycloaddition of Oxidopyrylium Ylides and Cyclic Imines" Zhao, C.; Glazier, D. A.; Yang, D.; Yin, D.; Guzei, I. A.; Aristov, M. M.; Liu, P.* and Tang, W.* Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.  2019, 58, 887-891.