• Dr. Zhou obtained his MD degree from Wuhan University in China and his PhD from Kyshu University in Japan. He completed his postdoctoral studies in the area of TGF-beta, matrix biology, and lung fibrosis at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he later became a Department of Pathology faculty member. In 2009, Dr. Zhou was recruited to the Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, where he is now an Associate Professor of Medicine. Dr. Zhou has received many prestigious awards, including the International Colloquium on Lung and Airway Fibrosis (ICLAF) Young Investigator Award, the American Thoracic Society (ATS) Recognition Award for Outstanding Early Career Investigator, and the UAB School of Medicine Dean's Excellence Award in Mentoring.Dr. Zhou currently serves as a PLOS ONE editorial board member, a grant reviewer for the American Heart Association (AHA), and a grant reviewer for the Department of Defense (DoD). He has served on ATS International Conferences as chair, co-chair, and facilitator and has also served on the program committee of the ATS Assembly on Respiratory Structure and Function (RSF).
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2022 Targeting Asporin in Lung Fibrosis: A New Approach to an Old ConceptAmerican Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.  66:115-116. 2022
    2021 Cyclin D2 Overexpression Enhances the Efficacy of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes for Myocardial Repair in a Swine Model of Myocardial InfarctionCirculation.  144:210-228. 2021
    2021 Inhibition of EZH2 primes the cardiac gene activation via removal of epigenetic repression during human direct cardiac reprogrammingStem Cell Research.  53. 2021
    2021 Changes in cardiomyocyte cell cycle and hypertrophic growth during fetal to adult in mammals 2021
    2021 Targeting mechanosensitive MDM4 promotes lung fibrosis resolution in aged miceJournal of Experimental Medicine.  218. 2021
    2020 Down-regulation of Beclin1 promotes direct cardiac reprogrammingScience Translational Medicine.  12. 2020
    2020 Functional interrogation of HOXA9 regulome in MLLr leukemia via reporter-based CRISPR/Cas9 screeneLife.  9:1-30. 2020
    2020 Oxidative cross-linking of fibronectin confers protease resistance and inhibits cellular migrationScience Signaling.  13. 2020
    2019 Cigarette Smoke Extract Promotes Human Lung Myofibroblast Differentiation by the Induction of Endoplasmic Reticulum StressRespiration: international journal of thoracic medicine.  98:347-356. 2019
    2019 Single-Cell Transcriptomic Analyses of Cell Fate Transitions during Human Cardiac ReprogrammingCell Stem Cell.  25:149-164.e9. 2019
    2019 Rosiglitazone treatment prevents postoperative fibrosis in a rabbit model of glaucoma filtration surgeryInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.  60:2743-2752. 2019
    2019 The immunomodulatory role of interleukin-35 in fibrotic diseasesExpert Review of Clinical Immunology.  15:431-439. 2019
    2019 Beyond fibroblast heterogeneity: What single-cell RNA sequencing tells usAmerican Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.  61:7-8. 2019
    2018 Extracellular matrix in lung development, homeostasis and disease 2018
    2018 Reversing mechanoinductive DSP expression by CRISPR/dCas9–mediated epigenome editingAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.  198:599-609. 2018
    2018 α6-Integrin alternative splicing: Distinct cytoplasmic variants in stem cell fate specification and niche interactionStem Cell Research and Therapy.  9. 2018
    2018 Most good, least harm: Isoform-specific targeting of ROCK in pulmonary fibrosisAmerican Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.  58:421-422. 2018
    2018 A loss of function screen of epigenetic modifiers and splicing factors during early stage of cardiac reprogrammingStem Cells International.  2018. 2018
    2017 Systematic comparison of 2A peptides for cloning multi-genes in a polycistronic vectorScientific Reports.  7. 2017
    2017 Single-cell transcriptomics reconstructs fate conversion from fibroblast to cardiomyocyteNature.  551:100-104. 2017
    2017 Serpine 1 induces alveolar type II cell senescence through activating p53-p21-Rb pathway in fibrotic lung diseaseAging Cell.  16:1114-1124. 2017
    2017 Comparative Gene Expression Analyses Reveal Distinct Molecular Signatures between Differentially Reprogrammed CardiomyocytesCell Reports.  20:3014-3024. 2017
    2017 Focal adhesion kinase signaling determines the fate of lung epithelial cells in response to TGF-β 2017
    2017 miR-34a promotes fibrosis in aged lungs by inducing alveolarepithelial dysfunctions 2017
    2017 MIR-34a inhibits lung fibrosis by inducing lung fibroblast senescenceAmerican Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.  56:168-178. 2017
    2017 3D pulmospheres serve as a personalized and predictive multicellular model for assessment of antifibrotic drugs.JCI insight.  2:e91377. 2017
    2016 Tristetraprolin down-regulation contributes to persistent TNF-alpha expression induced by cigarette smoke extract through a post- transcriptional mechanismPLoS ONE.  11. 2016
    2016 Advanced Technologies Lead iNto New Reprogramming RoutesCell Stem Cell.  19:286-288. 2016
    2016 Mechanosensing by the α 6-integrin confers an invasive fibroblast phenotype and mediates lung fibrosisNature Communications.  7. 2016
    2016 Alveolar epithelial disintegrity in pulmonary fibrosis 2016
    2016 Generation of an inducible fibroblast cell line for studying direct cardiac reprogramming 2016
    2016 Image-based quantification of fiber alignment within electrospun tissue engineering scaffolds is related to mechanical anisotropyJournal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A.  104:1680-1686. 2016
    2016 The matricellular protein CCN1 enhances TGF-β1/SMAD3-dependent profibrotic signaling in fibroblasts and contributes to fibrogenic responses to lung injuryThe FASEB Journal.  30:2135-2150. 2016
    2016 Nanofiber alignment regulates NIH3T3 cell orientation and cytoskeletal gene expression on electrospun PCL+gelatin nanofibersPLoS ONE.  11. 2016
    2016 Re-patterning of H3K27me3, H3K4me3 and DNA methylation during fibroblast conversion into induced cardiomyocytesStem Cell Research.  16:507-518. 2016
    2015 High-magnitude and/or high-frequency mechanical strain promotes peripapillary scleral myofibroblast differentiationInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.  56:7821-7830. 2015
    2015 Improved generation of induced cardiomyocytes using a polycistronic construct expressing optimal ratio of Gata4, Mef2c And Tbx5Journal of Visualized Experiments.  2015. 2015
    2015 Interferon-induced mechanosensing defects impede apoptotic cell clearance in lupusJournal of Clinical Investigation.  125:2877-2890. 2015
    2015 Noninvasive imaging of experimental lung fibrosisAmerican Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.  53:8-13. 2015
    2015 Inhibition of myocardin-related transcription factor/serum response factor signaling decreases lung fibrosis and promotes mesenchymal cell apoptosisAmerican Journal of Pathology.  185:969-986. 2015
    2014 Fibrosis: Ultimate and proximate causesJournal of Clinical Investigation.  124:4673-4677. 2014
    2014 Therapeutic targeting of Src kinase in myofibroblast differentiation and pulmonary fibrosisJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.  351:87-95. 2014
    2014 Negative regulation of NADPH oxidase 4 by Hydrogen peroxide-inducible clone 5 (Hic-5) proteinJournal of Biological Chemistry.  289:18270-18278. 2014
    2014 A far-upstream AP-1/Smad binding box regulates human NOX4 promoter activation by transforming growth factor-βGene.  540:62-67. 2014
    2014 Matrix biology of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: A workshop report of the national heart, lung, and blood instituteAmerican Journal of Pathology.  184:1643-1651. 2014
    2013 Erratum: Myofibroblast differentiation and enhanced Tgf-B signaling in cystic fibrosis lung disease (PLoS ONE (2013) 8 (8))PLoS ONE.  8. 2013
    2013 Myofibroblast Differentiation and Enhanced Tgf-B Signaling in Cystic Fibrosis Lung DiseasePLoS ONE.  8. 2013
    2013 Inhibition of mechanosensitive signaling in myofibroblasts ameliorates experimental pulmonary fibrosisJournal of Clinical Investigation.  123:1096-1108. 2013
    2012 Neuronal Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (N-WASP) is critical for formation of α-smooth muscle action filaments during myofibroblast differentiation 2012
    2012 Matrix stiffness-induced myofibroblast differentiation is mediated by intrinsic mechanotransductionAmerican Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.  47:340-348. 2012
    2011 Relaxin Regulates Myofibroblast Contractility and Protects against Lung FibrosisAmerican Journal of Pathology.  179:2751-2765. 2011
    2011 New insights into the pathogenesis and treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosisDrugs.  71:981-1001. 2011
    2010 Thy-1-integrin αvβ5 interactions inhibit lung fibroblast contraction-induced latent transforming growth factor-β1 activation and myofibroblast differentiationJournal of Biological Chemistry.  285:22382-22393. 2010
    2009 Latent transforming growth factor-β-binding protein-4 regulates transforming growth factor-β1 bioavailability for activation by fibrogenic lung fibroblasts in response to bleomycinAmerican Journal of Pathology.  174:21-33. 2009
    2006 Thrombospondin 1 mediates angiotensin II induction of TGF-β activation by cardiac and renal cells under both high and low glucose conditionsBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.  339:633-641. 2006
    2004 Thy-1 expression regulates the ability of rat lung fibroblasts to activate transforming growth factor-β in response to fibrogenic stimuliAmerican Journal of Pathology.  165:659-669. 2004
    2002 Growth-associated Gene Expression Profiles by Microarray Analysis of Trophoblast of Molar Pregnancies and Normal Villi 2002
    2002 Identification of FOXC1 as a TGF-β1 responsive gene and its involvement in negative regulation of cell growthGenomics.  80:465-472. 2002
    2001 Genetic origin of malignant trophoblastic neoplasms analyzed by sequence tag site polymorphic markersGynecologic Oncology.  81:247-253. 2001
    2000 Suppressed tumorigenicity of human endometrial cancer cells by the restored expression of the DCC geneBritish Journal of Cancer.  82:459-466. 2000
    1999 Involvement of mutations in the DPC4 promoter in endometrial carcinoma developmentMolecular Carcinogenesis.  25:64-72. 1999
    1998 Genetics of gestational trophoblastic diseasesCme Journal of Gynecologic Oncology.  3:5-13. 1998


    Year Title Altmetric
    2019 Adult pulmonary mesenchymal progenitors.  337-348. 2019

    Research Overview

  • Dr. Zhou's lab also works to determine cellular responses to intraocular pressure-generated mechanical strain that drive ECM remodeling in lamina cribosa cells and scleral fibroblasts harvested from clinical-records-confirmed normal and glaucomatous human donor eyes. Progressive remodeling of load-bearing connective tissues, like lamina cribosa and sclera, at the optic nerve head, is a defining feature of glaucoma. This remodeling alters the microenvironment of the retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons traversing the ONH and is believed to be a direct cause of the axon loss and death of RGCs. Intraocular pressure is currently the only known modifiable risk factor for glaucoma. Dr. Zhou's Lab is currently funded by the NIH/NHLBI, AHA, ATS, and the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama (ESFA).
  • Education And Training

  • Doctor of Medicine, 2002
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry, 1994
  • Full Name

  • Yong Zhou