Professor (also with Endocrinology); Ph.D., UT MD Anderson Cancer
Center, 2005; Obesity and diabetes; the leptin signaling pathway and
mechanisms of leptin resistance; molecular evolution and comparative
The metabolic syndrome, a common disorder including glucose
intolerance and dyslipidemia, poses a major public health issue.
Patients with high blood lipids, such as triglycerides, are at high
risk in developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases. We recently
identified a novel blood lipid regulator, lipasin, which is a
liver-enriched nutritionally-regulated circulating factor that
regulates triglyceride metabolism by inhibiting lipoprotein lipase
activity. Lipasin is later known as betatrophin, which potently
stimulates pancreatic beta-cell proliferation. We are characterizing
lipasin/betatrophin functions by genomic and genetic approaches.
Students in the lab will be exposed to techniques of molecular biology,
cell culture and mouse genetics.
Fu Z, Berhane F, Fite A, Seyoum B, Abou-Samra AB and Zhang R, Elevated
circulating lipasin/betatrophin in human type 2 diabetes and obesity,
Sci Rep. 2014, in press.
Zhang R, Abou-Samra AB, Review: Emerging roles of Lipasin as a critical
lipid regulator, Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013, 432, 401-5.
Fu, Z, Yao, F, Abou-Samra, AB and Zhang, R, Lipasin, thermoregulated in
brown fat, is a novel but atypical member of the angiopoietin-like
protein family. Biochem Biophys Res Commun., 2012, 430, 1126-31.
Zhang, R., Yao, F, Gao, F and Abou-Samra, AB, Nrac, a novel
nutritionally-regulated adipose and cardiac-enriched gene. PLoS ONE,
2012, 7: e46254.
Zhang, R., Lipasin, a novel nutritionally-regulated liver-enriched
factor that regulates serum triglyceride levels. Biochem Biophys Res
Commun., 2012, 424: 786-792.
Lin, Y. and Zhang, R. (2011) Putative essential and core-essential genes in Mycoplasma genomes. Sci. Rep. 1, 53.
Gao, F. and Zhang, R. Enzymes are enriched in bacterial essential genes. PLoS ONE, 2011, 6: e21683.
Zhang, R., Maratos-Flier, E., and Flier, J.S., Reduced adiposity and
high-fat diet-induced adipose inflammation in mice deficient for
phosphodiesterase 4B. Endocrinology, 2009, 150: 3076-82.
Zhang, R., Dhillon, H., Yin, H., Yoshimura, A., Lowell, B.B.,
Maratos-Flier, E., and Flier, J.S., Selective inactivation of Socs3 in
SF1 neurons improves glucose homeostasis without affecting body weight.
Endocrinology, 2008, 149: 5654-61.
Zhang, R., Murakami, S., Coustry, F., Wang, Y., and de Crombrugghe, B.,
Constitutive activation of MKK6 in chondrocytes of transgenic mice
inhibits proliferation and delays endochondral bone formation. Proc
Natl Acad Sci, 2006, 103: 365-70.