Jinying Zhao, MD, PhD
Jinying Zhao is a Professor and Director of the Division of Genetic Epidemiology at the College of Public Health and Health Professions and the College of Medicine at the University of Florida. She received her MD at the Zhengzhou University School of Medicine in China (1989), her first PhD in Molecular Genetics at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College (1996), and her second PhD in Statistical Genetics & Genetic Epidemiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (2005). Dr. Zhao’s research focuses primarily on genetic epidemiology and statistical genetics. These two emerging fields are highly correlated but fundamentally different, with the former highlighting clinical or public health applications, whereas the latter focusing on theoretical or methodology development for genetic studies. The long-term goals of her research are to identify novel ‘omics’ biomarkers (e.g., genomics, epigenomics, proteomics, metabolomics, microbiomics) for human chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, major depression and Alzheimer’s disease, to unravel interactions among genes and between genes and environments, and to develop novel statistical and bioinformatics approaches to uncovering the complex genetic, epigenetic and metabolic pathways inherent in human complex disorders. Currently, Dr. Zhao serves as the Principal Investigator of four large, ongoing NIH-funded R01 projects: 1) Telomere attrition and diabetes risk in American Indians (funded by NIDDK); 2) Epigenetic determinants for major depression: a monozygotic discordant twin study (funded by NIMH); 3) Novel metabolic predictors of diabetes in American Indians (funded by NIDDK); and 4) Genome-wide profiling of brain DNA hydroxymethylome in Alzheimer’s disease (funded by NIA). Prior to coming to the University of Florida, Dr. Zhao was a faculty member at Tulane University and Emory University. Dr. Zhao’s research excellence was recognized by several prestigious awards, e.g., the Elizabeth Barrett-Connor Research Award, the Roger R. Williams Award for Genetic Epidemiology, presented by the American Heart Association. Dr. Zhao has also been mentoring graduate students (MS, MPH, and PhD), clinical fellows and junior faculty.