Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Youli Zu


Youli Zu, MD, Ph.D.

Youli Zu, MD, Ph.D.

Medical Director, Hematopathology
Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine
The Methodist Hospital Physician Organization
Director, Cancer Pathology Laboratory
Houston Methodist Research Institute
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University

6565 Fannin Street, Suite M227
Houston, Texas 77030
Phone: 713-441-4460
Email: yzu@houstonmethodist.org


Dr. Zu received his M.D. in clinical medicine from the Jilin Medical College of Beihua University in Jilin City, China. He then earned a Ph.D. in immunology and pathology from the Kyoto University School of Medicine, in Kyoto, Japan. In 1993, Dr. Zu attended the University of Connecticut Health Center as a postdoctoral fellow and later remained as an assistant professor. He then spent six years in pathology clinical training at New York University and, subsequently, hematopathology at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Zu joined the Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital in 2004.

Dr. Zu is a board-certified hematopathologist. His clinical interests include diagnosis of hematopoietic and lymphoid disorders. Dr. Zu's research centers on the development of novel diagnostics and treatments for these disorders. His laboratory was the first to use aptamer probes to enhance the diagnostic abilities of multi-color flow cytometry and immunohistochemical staining. Dr. Zu's laboratory is also using these aptamer probes to develop novel, bifunctional nanoparticles that diagnose and treat several types of cancer tumors. Other studies in his laboratory are investigating the molecular mechanisms involved in myelodysplastic syndromes, and the role of cancer stems cells in multiple myeloma. Dr. Zu's laboratory is also developing aptamer-mediated nanoscale delivery systems for specific in vivo tumor imaging and targeted cancer therapy.   

Representative Recent Publications

  • Lu W, Zu Y. Metal-based nanoparticles: their potential clinical applications and limitations. Reviews in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. 2013, in press
  • Bao J, Yang B, Sun Y, Zu Y, Deng Y. A berberine-coated electrospun poly-(e-caprolactone) nanofibrous membrane with hemostatic potential and antimicrobial property for wound dressing. J Biomed Nanotechnol. 2013 July;9(7):1173-1180.
  • Zhao N, You J, Zeng Z, Li C, Zu Y. An ultra pH-sensitive and aptamer-equipped nanoscale drug delivery system for selective killing of tumor cells. Small. 2013 Apr 23. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Hong B, Zu Y. Detecting Circulating Tumor Cells: Current Challenges and New Trends. Theranostics. 2013 Apr 23;3(6):377-94.
  • Song Y, Zhang Y, Bernard PE, Reuben JM, Ueno NT, Arlinghaus RB, Zu Y, Qin L. Multiplexed volumetric bar-chart chip for point-of-care diagnostics. Nat Commun. 2012;3:1283.
  • Peng H, Wen J, Zhang L, Li H, Chang CC, Zu Y, Zhou X. A systematic modeling study on the pathogenic role of p38 MAPK activation in myelodysplastic syndromes. Mol Biosyst. 2012 Apr 1;8(4):1366-74.
  • Zhao N, Qi J, Zeng Z, Parekh P, Chang CC, Tung CH, Zu Y. Transfecting the hard-to-transfect lymphoma/leukemia cells using a simple cationic polymer nanocomplex. J Control Release. 2012 Apr 10;159(1):104-10.  
  • McDonnell SR, Hwang SR, Basrur V, Conlon KP, Fermin D, Wey E, Murga-Zamalloa C, Zeng Z, Zu Y, Elenitoba-Johnson KS, Lim MS. NPM-ALK signals through glycogen synthase kinase 3ß to promote oncogenesis. Oncogene. 2012 Aug 9;31(32):3733-40.   
  • Ito M, Zhao N, Zeng Z, Chang CC, Zu Y. Interleukin-2 functions in anaplastic large cell lymphoma cells through augmentation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 activation. Int J Biomed Sci. 2011;7:181-90.
  • Zhao N, Fogg JM, Zechiedrich L, Zu Y. Transfection of shRNA-encoding Minivector DNA of a few hundred base pairs to regulate gene expression in lymphoma cells. Gene Ther. 2011 Mar;18(3):220-4.
  • Zhao N, Bagaria HG, Wong MS, Zu Y. A nanocomplex that is both tumor cell-selective and cancer gene-specific for anaplastic large cell lymphoma. J Nanobiotechnology. 2011 Jan 31;9(1):2.
  • Wen J, Feng Y, Bjorklund CC, Wang M, Orlowski RZ, Shi ZZ, Liao B, O'Hare J, Zu Y, Schally AV, Chang CC. Luteinizing Hormone-Releasing Hormone (LHRH)-I antagonist cetrorelix inhibits myeloma cell growth in vitro and in vivo. Mol Cancer Ther. 2011 Jan;10(1):148-58.
  • Zhang P, Zhao N, Zeng Z, Chang CC, Zu Y. Combination of an aptamer probe to CD4 and antibodies for multicolored cell phenotyping. Am J Clin Pathol. 2010 Oct;134(4):586-93.
  • Zeng Z., Zhang P., Zhao N., Sheehan AM., Tung CH., Chang CC., and Zu Y. Using oligonucleotide aptamer probes for immunostaining of formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissues. Modern Pathology. 2010 Dec;23(12):1553-8. 
  • Ito M, Zhao N, Zeng Z, Chang CC, Zu Y. Synergistic growth inhibition of anaplastic large cell lymphoma cells by combining cellular ALK gene silencing and a low dose of the kinase inhibitor U0126. Cancer Gene Ther. 2010 Sep;17(9):633-44.
  • Feng Y, Wen J, Mike P, Choi DS, Eshoa C, Shi ZZ, Zu Y, Chang CC. Bone marrow stromal cells from myeloma patients support the growth of myeloma stem cells. Stem Cells Dev. 2010 Sep;19(9):1289-96.
  • Feng Y, Ofek G, Choi DS, Wen J, Hu J, Zhao H, Zu Y, Athanasiou KA, Chang CC. Unique biomechanical interactions between myeloma cells and bone marrow stroma cells. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2010 Sep;103(1):148-156.
  • Wen J, Feng Y, Huang W, Chen H, Liao B, Rice L, Preti HA, Kamble RT, Zu Y, Ballon DJ, Chang CC. Enhanced antimyeloma cytotoxicity by the combination of arsenic trioxide and bortezomib is further potentiated by p38 MAPK inhibition. Leuk Res. 2010 Jan;34(1):85-92.
  • Zhang P, Zhao N, Zeng Z, Feng Y, Tung CH, Chang CC, Zu Y. Using an RNA aptamer probe for flow cytometry detection of CD30-expressing lymphoma cells. Lab Invest. 2009 Dec;89(12):1423-32.