Researcher Profile

Researcher Profile

Keith Cheng, MD, PhD

Keith Cheng, MD, PhD

Distinguished Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Division of Experimental Pathology
Distinguished Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Distinguished Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Scientific Program:Next-Generation Therapies
Disease Teams:
Institute for CyberScience (ICS) - Associate

Research Interests

In summary, Dr. Keith Cheng's research interests currently include phage genetics, E. coli genetics, recombination, cancer genetics, model system genetics, human genetics, human population genetics, genomics, phenomics, anatomic pathology, computational phenomics, automated phenotyping, microCT, synchrotron microCT, high-throughput imaging, machine learning, skin pigmentation, race, natural selection, social selection, music and medicine, piano, violin, classical music, chamber music, public media and web-based resources.

The Cheng lab is interested in making fundamental contributions to the understanding of genetic and molecular mechanisms involved in human biology and disease. The lab is interested in genetic aspects of human disease, use of model systems such as the zebrafish, contribution to web-based scientific resources and new, potentially high-throughput forms of 3D imaging.

Some of the Cheng lab's specific work is aimed at increasing understanding of the basis of phenotypic variability, particularly as it may impact cancer; basic mechanisms underlying the relationship between human skin pigmentation and skin cancer; contributing to web-based infrastructures for science, education and public service; and working toward a 3D derivative of histology that also allows the identification and characterization of all cell types but utilizes the computer to define slice angle, thickness, point of view  and definition of tissues of interest. Obvious implications include automation of phenotyping, including diagnostics.

  • Zebrafish
  • Mutation
  • Genes
  • Phenotype
  • Skin Pigmentation
  • Neoplasms
  • Histology
  • Pigmentation
  • DNA
  • Population
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Genomic Instability

Recent Publications


Donaldson, K, Buchanich, JM, Grigson, PS, Deneke, E, Vrana, KE, Sacks, DB, Kuehn, GJ, Cardamone, D, Pesce, A, Smiley, S, Nickley, J, Krock, K, Thomas, R, Wilkerson, ML, Farag, HA, Challa, SR, Tice, AM, Wolk, DM, Prichard, J, Grant, ML, Regmi, S, Kerbacher, B, Quinton, LE, Tice, AM, Olson, J, Haynes, A, Yu, E, McCully, KS, Assi, J, Wong, M, Zarrin-Khameh, N, Nifong, TP, Hawker, CD, Carlton, GT, Rivera, JM, Foulis, PR, Zuraw, A, Morlote, D, Peker, D, Reddy, V, Harada, S, Crutchfield, C, Zander, D, Barbhuiya, MA, Pederson, EC, Straub, ML, Scott, SC, Neibauer, TL, Salter, WF, Creer, MH, Zhu, Y, Bornhorst, JA, Theobald, JP, Algeciras-Schimnich, A, Cao, L, Knox, J, Hardy, R, Texas, HJ, McGuire, MF, Hunter, RL, Brown, RE, Hicks, J, Cai, Z, Brown, RE, Ali, Y, Cheng, KC, Katz, SR, Ding, Y, Vanselow, DJ, Yakovlev, MA, Lin, AY, Clark, DP, Vargas, P, Xin, X, Copper, JE, Canfield, VA, Ang, KC, Wang, Y, Xiao, X, De Carlo, F, van Rossum, DB, La Rivière, PJ, Newell, J, Hossler, C, Roche, M, Warrick, J, Phaeton, R, Kesterson, J, Myers, C, Barrios, R, Mintz, P, Robyak, K, Hamilton, C, McGhee, P, Pederson, C, Straub, M, Scott, S, Neibauer, T, Salter, W, Robyak, K, Singh, N, Morlote, D, Vnencak-Jones, C, Yemelyanova, A, Harada, S, Shah, M, Moghadamtousi, SZ, Lan, C, Duose, D, Hu, P, Esquenazi, Y, Luthra, R, Ballester, LY, Koenig, AN, Liu, CG, Zhang, J, Kalia, A, Al-Habib, A, Van Arsdall, M, Dhingra, S, Patel, K & Tatevian, N 2019, 'Abstracts of Presentations at the Association of Clinical Scientists 139th Meeting Hershey, PA, May 15-18, 2019', Annals of clinical and laboratory science, vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 403-416.
Ding, Y, Vanselow, DJ, Yakovlev, MA, Katz, SR, Lin, AY, Clark, DP, Vargas, P, Xin, X, Copper, JE, Canfield, VA, Ang, KC, Wang, Y, Xiao, X, Carlo, FD, Rossum, DBV, Riviere, PL & Cheng, KC 2019, 'Computational 3d histological phenotyping of whole zebrafish by x-ray histotomography', eLife, vol. 8, e44898.


Copper, JE, Budgeon, LR, Foutz, CA, van Rossum, DB, Vanselow, DJ, Hubley, MJ, Clark, DP, Mandrell, DT & Cheng, KC 2018, 'Comparative analysis of fixation and embedding techniques for optimized histological preparation of zebrafish', Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part - C: Toxicology and Pharmacology, vol. 208, pp. 38-46.
Peters, DG, Pollack, AN, Cheng, KC, Sun, D, Saido, T, Haaf, MP, Yang, QX, Connor, JR & Meadowcroft, MD 2018, 'Dietary lipophilic iron alters amyloidogenesis and microglial morphology in Alzheimer's disease knock-in APP mice', Metallomics, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 426-443.
Lin, AY, Ding, Y, Vanselow, DJ, Katz, SR, Yakovlev, MA, Clark, DP, Mandrell, D, Copper, JE, van Rossum, DB & Cheng, KC 2018, 'Rigid Embedding of Fixed and Stained, Whole, Millimeter-Scale Specimens for Section-free 3D Histology by Micro-Computed Tomography', Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE, no. 140.


Xin, X, Clark, D, Ang, KC, Van Rossum, DB, Copper, J, Xiao, X, La Riviere, PJ & Cheng, KC 2017, Synchrotron microCT imaging of soft tissue in juvenile zebrafish reveals retinotectal projections. in RR Alfano & SG Demos (eds), Optical Biopsy XV: Toward Real-Time Spectroscopic Imaging and Diagnosis., 100601I, Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE, vol. 10060, SPIE, Optical Biopsy XV: Toward Real-Time Spectroscopic Imaging and Diagnosis, San Francisco, United States, 1/31/17.


Ding, Y, Tavolara, T & Cheng, K 2016, Automated detection of retinal cell nuclei in 3D micro-CT images of zebrafish using support vector machine classification. in A Madabhushi & MN Gurcan (eds), Medical Imaging 2016: Digital Pathology., 97911A, Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE, vol. 9791, SPIE, 4th Medical Imaging 2016: Digital Pathology, San Diego, United States, 3/2/16.
Cheng, K, Katz, SR, Lin, AY, Xin, X & Ding, Y 2016, Whole-Organism Cellular Pathology: A Systems Approach to Phenomics. in NS Foulkes & NS Foulkes (eds), Genetics, Genomics and Fish Phenomics, 2016. Advances in Genetics, vol. 95, Academic Press Inc., pp. 89-115.

Clinical Trials Search

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