Researcher Profile

Researcher Profile

Junxuan Lu, PhD

Junxuan Lu, PhD

Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Scientific Program:Next-Generation Therapies

Research Interests

Dr. Junxuan "Johnny" Lu's research interests and expertise include angiogenesis, apoptosis, autophagy, cell cycle regulation, senescence, prostate and mammary carcinogenesis models, androgen and estrogen receptor signaling; Proteomics-iTRAQ; transcriptomics; metabolomics; PK/PD; biomarkers; immunity and cancer; and clinical translation research.

The major areas of ongoing studies in the Lu lab include: 

  • Herbal compounds as novel cancer chemopreventive and therapeutic agents. The Lu lab faculty and associates discovered pyranocoumarins from Korean angelica as a novel class of anti-androgens. They are studying Korean angelica extract and compounds for anti-cancer efficacy and mechanisms using xenograft and transgenic models. They are planning clinical trials in prostate cancer patients with oncologists and urologists at Penn State Cancer Institute. 
  • Next-gen selenium compounds for cancer chemoprevention. The Lu lab has used cell culture models (cancer, vascular endothelial cells) to identify the lead Se compounds with cancer chemopreventive potential and their cellular and molecular mechanisms. They assess in vivo efficacy in animal models including xenografts, transgenic and conditional knockout mice models. The Lu lab collaborates with chemist colleagues in the department to study novel selenium hybrid drugs. 
  • Precision therapy of cancer. The Lu lab has contributed to the findings that hexokinase 2 (HK2) plays a crucial role in subsets of aggressive prostate cancer and the proof of principle that co-targeting HK2-mediated Warburg effect with 2-deoxyglucose and its ULK1-mediated anti-apoptotic autophagy with chloroquine remarkably regresses these cancers in mouse models. The lab is collaborating with oncologists to repurpose these drugs to cancer patients.
  • Neoplasms
  • Prostatic Neoplasms
  • Apoptosis
  • Selenium
  • Growth
  • methylselenic acid
  • Prostate
  • Carcinogenesis
  • decursin
  • Androgen Receptors
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Caspases

Recent Publications


Wang, Y, Narayanapillai, SC, Tessier, KM, Strayer, LG, Upadhyaya, P, Hu, Q, Kingston, R, Salloum, RG, Lu, J, Hecht, SS, Hatsukami, DK, Fujioka, N & Xing, C 2020, 'The Impact of One-week Dietary Supplementation with Kava on Biomarkers of Tobacco Use and Nitrosamine-based Carcinogenesis Risk among Active Smokers', Cancer prevention research (Philadelphia, Pa.), vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 483-492.


Kim, S, Zhang, Y, Tang, S, Qin, C, Karelia, D, Sharma, A, Jiang, C & Lu, J 2019, 'Optimizing live-animal bioluminescence imaging prediction of tumor burden in human prostate cancer xenograft models in SCID-NSG mice', Prostate, vol. 79, no. 9, pp. 949-960.


Wu, W, Karelia, D, Pramanik, K, Amin, S, Sharma, A, Jiang, C & Lu, J 2018, 'Phenylbutyl isoselenocyanate induces reactive oxygen species to inhibit androgen receptor and to initiate p53-mediated apoptosis in LNCaP prostate cancer cells', Molecular Carcinogenesis, vol. 57, no. 8, pp. 1055-1066.
Zhang, Y, Dong, Y, Melkus, MW, Yin, S, Tang, SN, Jiang, P, Pramanik, K, Wu, W, Kim, S, Ye, M, Hu, H, Lu, J & Jiang, C 2018, 'Role of p53-senescence induction in suppression of LNCaP prostate cancer growth by cardiotonic compound bufalin', Molecular cancer therapeutics, vol. 17, no. 11, pp. 2341-2352.


Wu, W, Tang, SN, Zhang, Y, Puppala, M, Cooper, TK, Xing, C, Jiang, C & Lü, J 2017, 'Prostate Cancer Xenograft Inhibitory Activity and Pharmacokinetics of Decursinol, a Metabolite of Angelica gigas Pyranocoumarins, in Mouse Models', American Journal of Chinese Medicine, vol. 45, no. 8, pp. 1773-1792.


Lü, J, Zhang, J, Jiang, C, Deng, Y, Özten, N & Bosland, MC 2016, 'Cancer chemoprevention research with selenium in the post-SELECT era: Promises and challenges', Nutrition and cancer, vol. 68, no. 1, pp. 1-17.
Lu, J, Jiang, C & Zhang, J 2016, Cancer prevention with selenium costly lessons and difficult but bright future prospects. in Inflammation, Oxidative Stress, and Cancer: Dietary Approaches for Cancer Prevention. CRC Press, pp. 477-494.
Zhou, B, Jiang, P, Lu, J & Xing, C 2016, 'Characterization of the Fluorescence Properties of 4-Dialkylaminochalcones and Investigation of the Cytotoxic Mechanism of Chalcones', Archiv der Pharmazie, pp. 539-552.
Wang, L, Wang, J, Xiong, H, Wu, F, Lan, T, Zhang, Y, Guo, X, Wang, H, Saleem, M, Jiang, C, Lu, J & Deng, Y 2016, 'Co-targeting hexokinase 2-mediated Warburg effect and ULK1-dependent autophagy suppresses tumor growth of PTEN- and TP53-deficiency-driven castration-resistant prostate cancer', EBioMedicine, vol. 7, pp. 50-61.
Tang, SN, Zhang, J, Jiang, P, Datta, P, Leitzman, P, O'Sullivan, MG, Jiang, C, Xing, C & Lü, J 2016, 'Gene expression signatures associated with suppression of TRAMP prostate carcinogenesis by a kavalactone-rich Kava fraction', Molecular Carcinogenesis, vol. 55, no. 12, pp. 2291-2303.
Wang, L, Guo, X, Wang, J, Jiang, C, Bosland, MC, Lü, J & Deng, Y 2016, 'Methylseleninic acid superactivates p53-senescence cancer progression barrier in prostate lesions of pten-knockout mouse', Cancer Prevention Research, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 35-42.
Zhang, J, Li, L, Tang, S, Zhang, Y, Markiewski, M, Xing, C, Jiang, C & Lü, J 2016, 'Pyranocoumarin Tissue Distribution, Plasma Metabolome and Prostate Transcriptome Impacts of Sub-Chronic Exposure to Korean Angelica Supplement in Mice', American Journal of Chinese Medicine, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 321-353.
Zhou, B, Yu, X, Zhuang, C, Villalta, P, Lin, Y, Lu, J & Xing, C 2016, 'Unambiguous Identification of β-Tubulin as the Direct Cellular Target Responsible for the Cytotoxicity of Chalcone by Photoaffinity Labeling', ChemMedChem, vol. 11, no. 13, pp. 1436-1445.

Clinical Trials Search

Children (age < 18 years)
Adults (age >= 18 years)