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Hong Zhao, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Systems Medicine and Bioengineering, Institute for Academic Medicine
Assistant Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College

Dr. Zhao joined the Houston Methodist Research Institute in 2008. She is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research and the International Association for Biological and Medical Research. She has been published in prestigious journals including the Journal of Neurosurgery.

Description of Research

Dr. Zhao's research uses systems biology approaches to study and combat brain metastasis of breast cancer. Her projects integrate "dry lab" computational modeling with "wet lab" experimental testing to discover effective new drug treatment strategies and explore personalized drug combinations. She is using a systems biology strategy in combination with repositioned FDA-approved drugs that can breach the blood-brain barrier to target the signaling network of primary breast tumors that are in the process of metastasizing to the brain.

Areas Of Expertise

Breast cancer Brain metastasis Systems biology Computational modeling Imaging
Education & Training

, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard University, Boston, MA
, Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University
, The Methodist Hospital

In Vivo Visualization and Characterization of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Breast Tumors
Zhao, Z, Zhu, X, Cui, K, Mancuso, J, Federley, R, Fischer, K, Teng, GJ, Mittal, V, Gao, D, Zhao, H & Wong, STC 2016, Cancer Research, vol 76, no. 8, pp. 2094-2104. DOI:

Inhibition of iNOS as a novel effective targeted therapy against triple-negative breast cancer
Granados-Principal, S, Liu, Y, Guevara, ML, Blanco, E, Choi, DS, Qian, W, Patel, T, Rodriguez, AA, Cusimano, J, Weiss, HL, Zhao, H, Landis, MD, Dave, B, Gross, SS & Chang, JC 2015, Breast Cancer Research, vol 17, no. 1, 25. DOI:

The osteogenic niche promotes early-stage bone colonization of disseminated breast cancer cells
Wang, H, Yu, C, Gao, X, Welte, T, Muscarella, AM, Tian, L, Zhao, H, Zhao, Z, Du, S, Tao, J, Lee, B, Westbrook, TF, Wong, STC, Jin, X, Rosen, JM, Osborne, CK & Zhang, XH-F 2015, Cancer Cell, vol 27, no. 2, pp. 193-210. DOI:

Epithelial derived CTGF promotes breast tumor progression via inducing EMT and collagen I fibers deposition
Zhu, X, Zhong, J, Zhao, Z, Sheng, J, Wang, J, Liu, J, Cui, K, Chang, J, Zhao, H & Wong, S 2015, Oncotarget, vol 6, no. 28, pp. 25320-25338. DOI:

Electro-acupuncture up-regulates astrocytic MCT1 expression to improve neurological deficit in middle cerebral artery occlusion rats
Lu, Y, Zhao, H, Wang, Y, Han, B, Wang, T, Zhao, H, Cui, K & Wang, S 2015, Life Sciences, vol 134, no. 1, pp. 68-72. DOI:

Old drug new use - Amoxapine and its metabolites as potent bacterial ß-glucuronidase inhibitors for alleviating cancer drug toxicity
Kong, R, Liu, T, Zhu, X, Ahmad, S, Williams, AL, Phan, AT, Zhao, H, Scott, JE, Yeh, LA & Wong, STC 2014, Clinical Cancer Research, vol 20, no. 13, pp. 3521-3530. DOI:

Localization and expression pattern of MDM2 in axon initial segments of neuron in rodent brain
Zhao, H, Wang, DD, Xu, YX & Zhu, CQ 2014, Sheng li xue bao : [Acta physiologica Sinica], vol 66, no. 2, pp. 107-117.

Computational analysis of image-based drug profiling predicts synergistic drug combinations: Applications in triple-negative breast cancer
Brandl, MB, Pasquier, E, Li, F, Beck, D, Zhang, S, Zhao, H, Kavallaris, M & Wong, STC 2014, Molecular Oncology, vol 8, no. 8, pp. 1548-1560. DOI:

Chloroquine eliminates cancer stem cells through deregulation of Jak2 and DNMT1
Choi, DS, Blanco, E, Kim, YS, Rodriguez, AA, Zhao, H, Huang, THM, Chen, CL, Jin, G, Landis, MD, Burey, LA, Qian, W, Granados, SM, Dave, B, Wong, HH, Ferrari, M, Wong, STC & Chang, JC 2014, Stem Cells, vol 32, no. 9, pp. 2309-2323. DOI:

Transcriptional signaling pathways inversely regulated in Alzheimer's disease and glioblastoma multiform
Liu, T, Ren, D, Zhu, X, Yin, Z, Jin, G, Zhao, Z, Robinson, D, Li, X, Wong, K, Cui, K, Zhao, H & Wong, STC 2013, Scientific Reports, vol 3, 3467. DOI:

A quantitative analysis of F-actin features and distribution in fluorescence microscopy images to distinguish cells with different modes of motility
Cheng, J, Zhu, X, Cheng, H, Zhao, H & Wong, STC 2013, . in Proceedings of the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBS., 6609456, pp. 136-139, 2013 35th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBC 2013, Osaka, Japan, 3-7 July. DOI:

Novel modeling of cancer cell signaling pathways enables systematic drug repositioning for distinct breast cancer metastases
Zhao, H, Jin, G, Cui, K, Ren, D, Liu, T, Chen, P, Wong, S, Li, F, Fan, Y, Rodriguez, A, Chang, J & Wong, STC 2013, Cancer Research, vol 73, no. 20, pp. 6149-6163. DOI:

C/EBPa inhibits hepatocellular carcinoma by reducing Notch3/Hes1/p27 cascades
Shi, YC, Zhao, H, Yin, C, Zeng, X, Zhang, Q, Xu, WP, Wei, J, Chen, F & Xie, WF 2013, Digestive and Liver Disease, vol 45, no. 10, pp. 844-851. DOI:

Chapter 17: Bioimage Informatics for Systems Pharmacology
Li, F, Yin, Z, Jin, G, Zhao, H & Wong, STC 2013, PLoS Computational Biology, vol 9, no. 4, e1003043. DOI:

Differential effects of low- and high-dose GW2974, a dual epidermal growth factor receptor and HER2 kinase inhibitor, on glioblastoma multiforme invasion
Wang, L, Liu, Q, Zhao, H, Cui, K, Yao, L, Nie, F, Jin, G, Hao, A & Wong, STC 2013, Journal of Neuroscience Research, vol 91, no. 1, pp. 128-137. DOI:

Involvement of epidermal growth factor receptor overexpression in the promotion of breast cancer brain metastasis
Nie, F, Yang, J, Wen, S, An, YL, Ding, J, Ju, SH, Zhao, Z, Chen, HJ, Peng, XG, Wong, STC, Zhao, H & Teng, GJ 2012, Cancer, vol 118, no. 21, pp. 5198-5209. DOI:

Identification of novel small-molecule inhibitors of glioblastoma cell growth and invasion by high-throughput screening
Wang, L, Zhao, H, Cui, K, Yao, L, Ren, M, Hao, A, Smollen, P, Nie, F, Jin, G, Liu, Q & Wo, STC 2012, BioScience Trends, vol 6, no. 4, pp. 192-200. DOI:

A novel method of transcriptional response analysis to facilitate drug repositioning for cancer therapy
Jin, G, Fu, C, Zhao, H, Cui, K, Chang, J & Wong, STC 2012, Cancer Research, vol 72, no. 1, pp. 33-44. DOI:

The effect of mTOR inhibition alone or combined with MEK inhibitors on brain metastasis: An in vivo analysis in triple-negative breast cancer models
Zhao, H , Cui, K, Nie, F, Wang, L, Brandl, MB, Jin, G, Li, F, Mao, Y, Xue, Z, Rodriguez, A, Chang, J & Wong, STC 2012, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, vol 131, no. 2, pp. 425-436. DOI:

Intrahippocampus injection of antibodies to amyloid ß-protein precursor causes cognitive deficits and neuronal degeneration
Xu, YX, Wang, HQ, Zhao, H, Guo, JC & Zhu, CQ 2011, Progress in Biochemistry and Biophysics, vol 38, no. 10, pp. 908-918. DOI: