Back to Main

Faculty Detail    
Campus Address THT 437 Zip 0006
Phone  (205) 975-2216
Other websites

Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Primary  Medicine  Med - Pulmonary/Allergy/Critical Care Associate Professor
Secondary  Biomedical Engineering  Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor
Secondary  Ophthalmology  Ophthalmology Assistant Professor
Center  Biomedical Engineering  Biomatrix Eng Regen Med (BERM) Ctr Associate Professor

Biographical Sketch 
Dr. Zhou received his Bachelor in Medicine degree in 1991 and his Master's degree in Biochemistry in 1994, from Hubei Medical University (Now School of Medicine, Wuhan Univeristy, China). In 1997, he was awarded a highly competitive Japanese Government Scholarship (the Mobusho Scholarship) sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan. The award supported him to complete a graduate study at Kyushu University, Japan. He reveveived his Ph.D. degree in 2002. Dr. Zhou's Post-doctoral training carried out in Department of Pathology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Society Memberships
Organization Name Position Held Org Link
American Society for Matrix Biology  Member 
American Thoracic Society  Member 

Research/Clinical Interest
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a lethal fibrotic lung disease that lacks effective drug therapies at present. A better understanding the mechanisms underlying fibrotic lung progression will provide novel therapeutic strategies for IPF treatment. Our research interests are 1) mechanisms involved in regulation of transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta activation by lung fibroblasts; and 2) the role of physical forces in the development of lung fibrosis. Active TGF-beta1 is one of the most potent fibrogenic cytokines. Converting TGF-beta1 from its latent form to an active form, a process termed TGF-beta activation, is a crucial step for fibrotic lung progression. Previously, we established that a lung fibroblast subset, characterized by the absence of the GPI-linked glycoprotein Thy-1 [Thy-1 (-) lung fibroblasts], responds to fibrogenic stimuli with increased TGF-beta activation, whereas Thy-1-expressing [Thy-1 (+)] lung fibroblasts do not. Thy-1 (-) lung fibroblasts predominate in the fibroblastic foci of IPF lungs and are a fibrogenic lung fibroblast subset. Fibroblasts isolated from normal lungs are predominantly Thy-1-expressing. The present work aims at determining the role of latent TGF-beta binding proteins (LTBPs) of fibrillin/LTBP family, in particular LTBP-4, in regulation of TGF-beta activation by Thy-1 (-) lung fibroblasts. The lung is an organ subjected to a range of physical forces derived from breathing, pulmonary blood flow and surface tension. Physical forces have profound effects on lung development, physiological functions as well as pathological processes. Another interest in the lab is to investigate a coupling effect of mechanical and biochemical factors on the fibroblast-to-myofibroblast differentiation during fibrotic lung progression. Our current studies are focused on the impact of mechanical forces on TGF-beta1 production and activation, and myofibroblast differentiation and survival.

Selected Publications 
Publication PUBMEDID
Zhou Y, Kato H, Shan D, Minami R, Kitazawa S, Matsuda T, Arima T, Barrett JC, Wake N. Involvement of mutations in the DPC4 promoter in endometrial carcinoma development. Mol Carcinog. 1999 May;25(1):64-72.    
Kato H, Zhou Y, Asanoma K, Kondo H, Yoshikawa Y, Watanabe K, Matsuda T, Wake N, Barrett JC. Suppressed tumorigenicity of human endometrial cancer cells by the restored expression of the DCC gene. Br J Cancer. 2000 Jan;82(2):459-66.    
Shahib N, Martaadisoebrata D, Kondo H, Zhou Y, Shinkai N, Nishimura C, Kiyoko K, Matsuda T, Wake N, Kato HD. Genetic origin of malignant trophoblastic neoplasms analyzed by sequence tag site polymorphic markers. Gynecol Oncol. 2001 May;81(2):247-53.    
Zhou Y, Kato H, Asanoma K, Kondo H, Arima T, Kato K, Matsuda T, Wake N. Identification of FOXC1 as a TGF-beta1 responsive gene and its involvement in negative regulation of cell growth. Genomics. 2002 Nov;80(5):465-72.    
Zhou Y, Hagood JS, Murphy-Ullrich JE. Thy-1 expression regulates the ability of rat lung fibroblasts to activate transforming growth factor-beta in response to fibrogenic stimuli. Am J Pathol. 2004 Aug;165(2):659-69.   
Zhou Y, Poczatek MH, Berecek KH, Murphy-Ullrich JE. Thrombospondin 1 mediates angiotensin II induction of TGF-beta activation by cardiac and renal cells under both high and low glucose conditions. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Jan 13;339(2):633-41.    
Zhou Y, Koli K, Hagood JS, Miao M, Mavalli M, Rifkin DB, Murphy-Ullrich JE. Latent transforming growth factor-beta-binding protein-4 regulates transforming growth factor-beta1 bioavailability for activation by fibrogenic lung fibroblasts in response to bleomycin. Am J Pathol. 2009 Jan;174(1):21-33. Epub 2008 Dec 4.

lung fibrosis, TGF-beta, LTBP-4, mechanical force, myofibrobast differentiation