Skip to main content

Faculty Profile

Ke-He RuanKe-He Ruan

Professor of Medicinal Chemistry & Pharmacology
Department of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Director, Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Pharmacoinformatics (CETP)

University of Houston College of Pharmacy
Health 2, Room 7039
4349 Martin Luther King Boulevard
Houston, TX 77204-5037

Contact: - Office: 713-743-1771 - Fax: 713-743-1884


Research in Dr. Ruan's laboratory is focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of the lipid metabolites that are directly involved in mediating cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and cancer development. The particular interest is to understand and control biosyntheses and signaling of the bioactive prostanoids, prostacyclin (PGI2), prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and thromboxane A2 (TXA2) in the related diseases. With long-term scientific contributions, funding records and experiences in the eicosanoid/prostanoid biosynthesis and signaling fields, Dr. Ruan's laboratory recently has a major discovery of the single-chain EnzymeLinks, which are able integrated triple-catalytic reactions of the individual cyclooxygenase and its downstream enzyme into a single polypeptide chain enzyme-complex. This finding has created a new way to specifically control the biological activities of the endogenous prostanoids.

The discovery has also led to create novel single-chain prostanoid Receptor-G-protein link (Receptor Link), Vaccine variants link (VaccineLink) and insulin sub-chain link (InsulinLink) to control/reverse prostanoid signing, and enhance the vaccine protections and insulin action durations. These bioengineered molecules have great potentials to be developed into novel, more powerful and effective single-chain bio-complexes to prevent and treat ischemia, thrombosis, inflammation, diabetes and infectious diseases.

  • M.D. in Medicine, Fujian Medical University
  • Ph.D. in Biomedical Science, Biochemistry, Medical College of Miyazaki
  • Post-doctoral Fellowship in Biochemistry, Baylor College of Medicine

Google Scholar Profile
  • Ruan DT, Tang N, Akasaka H, Lu R, Ruan KH. Engineering 'Enzymelink' for screening lead compounds to inhibit mPGES-1 while maintaining prostacyclin synthase activity. Future Med Chem. 2021 Jul;13(13):1091-1103. doi:10.4155/fmc-2021-0056. Epub 2021 Jun 3. PMID: 34080888; PMCID: PMC8204920.
  • Ruan DT, Lu R, Ruan KH. Redirecting thromboxane A2 and prostacyclin biosyntheses from thrombotic to antithrombotic property by an Enzymelink. Future Med Chem. 2021 May;13(9):765-768. doi: 10.4155/fmc-2020-0340. Epub 2021 Mar 24. PMID: 33759567.
  • Ling QL, Akasaka H, Chen C, Haile CN, Winoske K, Ruan KH. The Protective Effects of Up-Regulating Prostacyclin Biosynthesis on Neuron Survival in Hippocampus. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2020 Jan 3. doi:10.1007/s11481-019-09896-5. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31897976.
  • Li Y, Li QY, Ling QL, So SP, Ruan KH. A novel single-chain enzyme complex with chain reaction properties rapidly producing thromboxane A2 and exhibiting powerful anti-bleeding functions. J Cell Mol Med. 2019 Dec;23(12):8343-8354. doi:10.1111/jcmm.14711. Epub 2019 Oct 19. PubMed PMID: 31628732; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6850917.
  • Ling QL, Mohite AJ, Murdoch E, Akasaka H, Li QY, So SP, Ruan KH. Creating a mouse model resistant to induced ischemic stroke and cardiovascular damage. Sci Rep. 2018 Jan 26;8(1):1653. PubMed PMID:29374184; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5786049.
  • Deng Y, Yang Z, Terry T, Pan S, Woodside DG, Wang J, Ruan K, Willerson JT, Dixon RA, Liu Q. Prostacyclin-producing human mesenchymal cells target H19 lncRNA to augment endogenous progenitor function in hindlimb ischaemia. Nature Communication. 2016 Apr 15; 7:11276. PubMed PMID: 27080438.
  • Vollert C, Ohia O, Akasaka H, Berridge C, Ruan KH, Eriksen JL. Elevated prostacyclin biosynthesis in mice impacts memory and anxiety-like behavior. Behav Brain Res. 2014 Jan 1; 258:138-44. PMCID: PMC3849419.
  • Lin H, Yuan J, Ruan KH, Yang W, Zhang J, Dai Y, Wang R. (2013) COX-2-10aa-PGIS Gene Therapy Improves Erectile Function in Rats after Cavernous Nerve Injury. J Sex Med. 10, 1476-1487. PMID: 23551902.
  • Zhou L, Chen Z, Vanderslice P, So SP, Ruan KH, Willerson JT, Dixon RA. Endothelial-like progenitor cells engineered to produce prostacyclin rescue monocrotaline-induced pulmonary arterial hypertension and provide right ventricle benefits. Circulation. 2013 Aug 27; 128(9):982-94. PMID: 23841984.
  • Chen Y, Fujita T, Zhang D, Doan H, Pinkaew D, Liu Z, Wu J, Koide Y, Chiu A, Lin CC, Chang JY, Ruan KH, Fujise K. (2011) Physical and Functional Antagonism between Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 and Fortilin, an Anti-apoptotic Protein. J Biol Chem. 286:32575-32585. PMID: 21795694.
  • Ruan KH, So SP, Wu H, Cervantes V. Large-scale expression, purification, and characterization of an engineered prostacyclin-synthesizing enzyme with therapeutic potential. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2008 Dec 1; 480(1):41-50. PMID: 18835243; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2717720.
  • Ruan KH, Cervantes V, and So SP. Engineering of a novel hybrid enzyme: an anti-inflammatory drug target with triple catalytic activities directly converting arachidonic acid into the inflammatory prostaglandin E2. Protein Eng Des Sel. 2009 Dec.22(12):733-40. PubMed PMID: 19850676; PMCID: PMC2777022.
  • Ruan KH, Cervantes V, Wu J. A simple, quick, and high-yield preparation of the human thromboxane A2 receptor in full size for structural studies. Biochemistry. 2008, 47(26):6819-26.
  • Ruan KH, So SP, Cervantes V, Wu H, Wijaya C, Jentzen RR (2008). An active triple-catalytic hybrid enzyme engineered by linking cyclooxygenase isoform-1 to prostacyclin synthase that can constantly biosynthesize prostacyclin, the vascular protector. FEBS J. 275, 5820-5829. PMCID: PMC3038792.
  • Ruan KH, Deng H, So SP. Engineering of a protein with cyclooxygenase and prostacyclin synthase activities that converts arachidonic acid to prostacyclin. Biochemistry. 2006 Nov 28;45(47):14003-11. doi: 10.1021/bi0614277. PMID:17115695.

See more publications:

Patents Filed

  • Ke-He Ruan, Renzhong Lu and Xinli Liu, Single-Chain coronavirus viral membrane protein complexes. Provisional patent filed 8/28/2020, US Application No. 63/071,681; PCT filed 8/30/2021.

Awards & Honors

  • China National Yong Scientist award, 1989 (national top science award)
  • American Heart Association award, Grant #:93G-272, 993-1996
  • American Heart Association award, Grant #:95R-272, 1995-1997
  • American heart association certification of appreciation, for dedicated service in advancing the fight against heart disease and stroke 1994
  • NIH, NHLB RO1 award, HL56712-01, 1996- 2000
  • NIH, Program Project Grant ward, NS23327-2, project 2 and core B, 1994-1999
  • NIH, Program Project Grant award, NS23327-project 4, 1999, 2004
  • NIH, RO1 award, HL56712-05, 2000-2004
  • NIH, RO1 award, HL56712-09, 2004-2009
  • NIH, RO1 award, HL079389-01, 2004-2009
  • NIH, RO1 supplement award, 3R01HL056712-11S1, 8/1/06-7/30/09
  • NIH, R0 supplement award, 1HL56712-13S1 ARRA, 2009
  • American Heart Association award, 10GRNT4470042, 2010, 2013
  • Siemens Foundation, mentor award, preparing science & technology leaders for the US future, 2012-2013
  • U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity award, Grant # W81XWH-10-2-0125, 2011, 2014
  • NIH, RC1 award, HL100807-02, 2010-2013
  • American Heart Association award, 14GRNT20380687, 2014-2018.
  • Effimed Research award, 2021