Youli Zu, MD, PhD

Professor of Pathology and Genomic Medicine, Institute for Academic Medicine
Full Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College

Research Lab

After obtaining his MD and PhD degrees, Dr. Zu attended the University of Connecticut Health Center as a postdoctoral fellow and later remained there as an assistant professor. He then spent four years in pathology residency training at New York University, followed by a two-year hematopathology fellowship 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, where he currently serves as the Medical Director of the Hematopathology Section. He is also Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University. In addition to his clinical responsibilities, Dr. Zu is also the Director of the Cancer Pathology research laboratory at the Houston Methodist Research Institute. These combined positions enable him to address clinically-driven questions. As a physician-scientist, Dr. Zu has pioneered the translation of the oligonucleotide aptamers and nanotechnology into clinical applications, and his research is currently funded by multiple NIH and CPRIT grants.

Description of Research

Dr. Zu's clinical interests include diagnosis of hematopoietic and lymphoid disorders. His 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 capabilities of multi-color flow cytometry amd immunohistochemical staining, and for rapid detection of circulating tumor cells in whole blood samples. By combining nanotechnology with aptamer technology, Dr. Zu's laboratory is also developing new multi-functional nanomedicine for specific tumor imaging and targeted therapy of several cancer types, including lymphomas, multiple myeloma, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and hepatocellular (liver) carcinoma. Other directions of his laboratory include studies on the role of cancer stem cells in the development of multiple myeloma and elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying the myelodysplastic syndrome.

Areas Of Expertise

Nanomedicine Aptamer technology Early cancer detection Targeted cancer therapy
Education & Training

Clinical Fellowship, National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Residency, New York University Medical Center
Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Connecticut Health Center
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Tsukuba Life Science Research Center, RIKEN
PhD, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine
MD, Jilin Medical College

Rapid Detection of Mycoplasma-Infected Cells by an ssDNA Aptamer Probe
Liu, Y, Jiang, W, Yang, S, Hu, J, Lu, H, Han, W, Wen, J, Zeng, Z, Qi, J, Xu, L, Zhou, H, Sun, H & Zu, Y 2019, ACS Sensors, vol. 4, no. 8, pp. 2028-2038.

Tracking biodistribution of myeloid-derived cells in murine models of breast cancer
Li, J, Mai, J, Hinkle, L, Lin, D, Zhang, J, Liu, X, Ramirez, MR, Zu, Y, Lokesh, GL, Volk, DE & Shen, H 2019, Genes, vol. 10, no. 4, 297.

ALK phosphorylates SMAD4 on tyrosine to disable TGF-ß tumour suppressor functions
Zhang, Q, Xiao, M, Gu, S, Xu, Y, Liu, T, Li, H, Yu, Y, Qin, L, Zhu, Y, Chen, F, Wang, Y, Ding, C, Wu, H, Ji, H, Chen, Z, Zu, Y, Malkoski, S, Li, Y, Liang, T, Ji, J, Qin, J, Xu, P, Zhao, B, Shen, L, Lin, X & Feng, XH 2019, Nature Cell Biology, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 179-189.

Aptamer-Engineered Natural Killer Cells for Cell-Specific Adaptive Immunotherapy
Yang, S, Wen, J, Li, H, Xu, L, Liu, Y, Zhao, N, Zeng, Z, Qi, J, Jiang, W, Han, W & Zu, Y 2019, Small.

Oligonucleotide Aptamer-Mediated Precision Therapy of Hematological Malignancies
Yang, S, Li, H, Xu, L, Deng, Z, Han, W, Liu, Y, Jiang, W & Zu, Y 2018, Molecular Therapy - Nucleic Acids, vol. 13, pp. 164-175.

Clinical Significance of PTEN Deletion, Mutation, and Loss of PTEN Expression in De Novo Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma
Wang, X, Cao, X, Sun, R, Tang, C, Tzankov, A, Zhang, J, Manyam, GC, Xiao, M, Miao, Y, Jabbar, K, Tan, X, Pang, Y, Visco, C, Xie, Y, Dybkaer, K, Chiu, A, Orazi, A, Zu, Y, Bhagat, G, Richards, KL, Hsi, ED, Choi, WWL, van Krieken, JH, Huh, J, Ponzoni, M, Ferreri, AJM, Møller, MB, Parsons, BM, Winter, JN, Piris, MA, Li, S, Miranda, RN, Medeiros, LJ, Li, Y, Xu-Monette, ZY & Young, KH 2018, Neoplasia (United States), vol. 20, no. 6, pp. 574-593.

DNA Thioaptamer with Homing Specificity to Lymphoma Bone Marrow Involvement
Mai, J, Li, X, Zhang, G, Huang, Y, Xu, R, Shen, Q, Lokesh, GL, Thiviyanathan, V, Chen, L, Liu, H, Zu, Y, Ma, X, Volk, DE, Gorenstein, DG, Ferrari, M & Shen, H 2018, Molecular Pharmaceutics, vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 1814-1825.

Tumor-specific t-cells engineered to overcome tumor immune evasion induce clinical responses in patients with relapsed hodgkin lymphoma
Bollard, CM, Tripic, T, Cruz, CR, Dotti, G, Gottschalk, S, Torrano, V, Dakhova, O, Carrum, G, Ramos, CA, Liu, H, Wu, MF, Marcogliese, AN, Barese, C, Zu, Y, Lee, DY, O’Connor, O, Gee, AP, Brenner, M, Heslop, H & Rooney, CM 2018, Journal of Clinical Oncology, vol. 36, no. 11, pp. 1128-1139.

A novel DNA aptamer for dual targeting of polymorphonuclear myeloid-derived suppressor cells and tumor cells
Liu, H, Mai, J, Shen, J, Wolfram, J, Li, Z, Zhang, G, Xu, R, Li, Y, Mu, C, Zu, Y, Li, X, Lokesh, GL, Thiviyanathan, V, Volk, DE, Gorenstein, DG, Ferrari, M, Hu, Z & Shen, H 2018, Theranostics, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 31-44.

Updates in Polycythemia Vera
Nagrale, V, Olsen, RJ & Zu, Y 2018, . in C-CJ Chang & R Ohgami (eds), Precision Molecular Pathology of Myeloid Neoplasms. 1st edn, vol. 12, Springer, Switzerland, pp. 115-139.

Spin-Valve based magnetoresistive nanoparticle detector for applications in biosensing
Qiu, W, Chang, L, Liang, YC, Litvinov, J, Guo, J, Chen, YT, Vu, B, Kourentzi, K, Xu, S, Lee, TR, Zu, Y, Willson, RC & Litvinov, D 2017, Sensors and Actuators, A: Physical, vol. 265, pp. 174-180.

Diagnostic algorithm of common mature B-cell lymphomas by immunohistochemistry
Wang, HY & Zu, Y 2017, Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, vol. 141, no. 9, pp. 1236-1246.

Cellular function reinstitution of offspring red blood cells cloned from the sickle cell disease patient blood post CRISPR genome editing
Wen, J, Tao, W, Hao, S & Zu, Y 2017, Journal of Hematology and Oncology, vol. 10, no. 1, 119.

Ultrasensitive magnetic nanoparticle detector for biosensor applications
Liang, YC, Chang, L, Qiu, W, Kolhatkar, AG, Vu, B, Kourentzi, K, Lee, TR, Zu, Y, Willson, RC & Litvinov, D 2017, Sensors (Switzerland), vol. 17, no. 6, 1296.

Aptamer internalization via endocytosis inducing s-phase arrest and priming maver-1 lymphoma cells for cytarabine chemotherapy
Li, H, Yang, S, Yu, G, Shen, L, Fan, J, Xu, L, Zhang, H, Zhao, N, Zeng, Z, Hu, T, Wen, J & Zu, Y 2017, Theranostics, vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 1204-1213.

Self-Assembled Aptamer-Nanomedicine for Targeted Chemotherapy and Gene Therapy
Zhao, N, Zeng, Z & Zu, Y 2017, Small.

Assessment of CD37 B-cell antigen and cell of origin significantly improves risk prediction in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
Xu-Monette, ZY, Li, L, Byrd, JC, Jabbar, KJ, Manyam, GC, De Winde, CM, Van Den Brand, M, Tzankov, A, Visco, C, Wang, J, Dybkaer, K, Chiu, A, Orazi, A, Zu, Y, Bhagat, G, Richards, KL, Hsi, ED, Choi, WWL, Huh, J, Ponzoni, M, Ferreri, AJM, Møller, MB, Parsons, BM, Winter, JN, Wang, M, Hagemeister, FB, Piris, MA, Van Krieken, JH, Medeiros, LJ, Li, Y, Van Spriel, AB & Young, KH 2016, Blood, vol. 128, no. 26, pp. 3083-3100.

B7-H4 expression in ovarian serous carcinoma: a study of 306 cases
Liang, L, Jiang, Y, Chen, JS, Niu, N, Piao, J, Ning, J, Zu, Y, Zhang, J & Liu, J 2016, Human pathology, vol. 57, pp. 1-6.

Loss of PRDM1/BLIMP-1 function contributes to poor prognosis of activated B-cell-like diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
Xia, Y, Xu-Monette, ZY, Tzankov, A, Li, X, Manyam, GC, Murty, V, Bhagat, G, Zhang, S, Pasqualucci, L, Visco, C, Dybkaer, K, Chiu, A, Orazi, A, Zu, Y, Richards, KL, Hsi, ED, Choi, WWL, van Krieken, JH, Huh, J, Ponzoni, M, Ferreri, AJM, Møller, MB, Parsons, BM, Winter, JN, Piris, MA, Westin, J, Fowler, N, Miranda, RN, Ok, CY, Li, Y, Li, J, Medeiros, LJ & Young, KH 2016, Leukemia.

Cytogenetic landscape and impact in blast phase of chronic myeloid leukemia in the era of tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy
Chen, Z, Shao, C, Wang, W, Zuo, Z, Mou, X, Hu, SJ, DiGiuseppe, JA, Zu, Y, Medeiros, LJ & Hu, S 2016, Leukemia.

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