Youli Zu, MD, PhD

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

Research Lab

After obtaining his MD and PhD, 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 a 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 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 and immunohistochemical staining for rapid detection of circulating tumor cells in whole-blood samples. By combining nanotechnology with aptamer technology, Dr. Zu's laboratory is developing new multi-functional nanomedicines for tumor-specific 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 areas of interest in his laboratory include the role of cancer stem cells in the development of multiple myeloma and the molecular mechanisms underlying myelodysplastic syndrome.

Areas Of Expertise

Aptamer technology
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

Aptamers with self-loading drug payload and ph-controlled drug release for targeted chemotherapy
Zeng, Z, Qi, J, Wan, Q & Zu, Y 2021, , Pharmaceutics, vol. 13, no. 8, 1221.

EpCAM-Targeting Aptamer Radiotracer for Tumor-Specific PET Imaging
Li, F, Zeng, Z, Hamilton, D, Zu, Y & Li, Z 2021, , Bioconjugate chemistry, vol. 32, no. 6, pp. 1139-1145.

Author Correction: ALK phosphorylates SMAD4 on tyrosine to disable TGF-ß tumour suppressor functions (Nature Cell Biology, (2019), 21, 2, (179-189), 10.1038/s41556-018-0264-3)
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 2021, , Nature Cell Biology, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 293.

Aggressive B-cell lymphoma with MYC/TP53 dual alterations displays distinct clinicopathobiological features and response to novel targeted agents
Deng, M, Xu-Monette, ZY, Pham, LV, Wang, X, Tzankov, A, Fang, X, Zhu, F, Visco, C, Bhagat, G, Dybkaer, K, Chiu, A, Tam, W, Zu, Y, Hsi, ED, You, H, Huh, J, Ponzoni, M, Ferreri, AJM, Møller, MB, Parsons, BM, Hagemeister, F, van Krieken, JH, Piris, MA, Winter, JN, Li, Y, Xu, B, Liu, P & Young, KH 2021, , Molecular Cancer Research, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 249-260.

G6PD deficiency and severity of COVID19 pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome: tip of the iceberg?
Youssef, JG, Zahiruddin, F, Youssef, G, Padmanabhan, S, Ensor, J, Pingali, SR, Zu, Y, Sahay, S & Iyer, SP 2021, , Annals of Hematology, vol. 100, no. 3, pp. 667-673.

Neutralizing Aptamers Block S/RBD-ACE2 Interactions and Prevent Host Cell Infection
Liu, X, Wang, YL, Wu, J, Qi, J, Zeng, Z, Wan, Q, Chen, Z, Manandhar, P, Cavener, VS, Boyle, NR, Fu, X, Salazar, E, Kuchipudi, SV, Kapur, V, Zhang, X, Umetani, M, Sen, M, Willson, RC, Chen, SH & Zu, Y 2021, , Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, vol. 60, no. 18, pp. 10273-10278.

Oligonucleotide aptamers for pathogen detection and infectious disease control
Wan, Q, Liu, X & Zu, Y 2021, , Theranostics, vol. 11, no. 18, pp. 9133-9161.

Genomic complexity is associated with epigenetic regulator mutations and poor prognosis in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
You, H, Xu-Monette, ZY, Wei, L, Nunns, H, Nagy, ML, Bhagat, G, Fang, X, Zhu, F, Visco, C, Tzankov, A, Dybkaer, K, Chiu, A, Tam, W, Zu, Y, Hsi, ED, Hagemeister, FB, Huh, J, Ponzoni, M, Ferreri, AJM, Møller, MB, Parsons, BM, Van Krieken, JH, Piris, MA, Winter, JN, Li, Y, Au, Q, Xu, B, Albitar, M & Young, KH 2021, , OncoImmunology, vol. 10, no. 1, 1928365.

Recombinant expression, characterization, and quantification in human cancer cell lines of the Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma-characteristic NPM-ALK fusion protein
Kourentzi, K, Crum, M, Patil, U, Prebisch, A, Chavan, D, Vu, B, Zeng, Z, Litvinov, D, Zu, Y & Willson, RC 2020, , Scientific Reports, vol. 10, no. 1, 5078.

XPO1 expression worsens the prognosis of unfavorable DLBCL that can be effectively targeted by selinexor in the absence of mutant p53
Deng, M, Zhang, M, Xu-Monette, ZY, Pham, LV, Tzankov, A, Visco, C, Fang, X, Bhagat, G, Zhu, F, Dybkaer, K, Chiu, A, Tam, W, Zu, Y, Hsi, ED, Choi, WWL, Huh, J, Ponzoni, M, Ferreri, AJM, Møller, MB, Parsons, BM, van Krieken, JH, Piris, MA, Winter, JN, Hagemeister, F, Alinari, L, Li, Y, Andreeff, M, Xu, B & Young, KH 2020, , Journal of Hematology and Oncology, vol. 13, no. 1, 148.

High levels of immunoglobulin expression predict shorter overall survival in patients with acute myeloid leukemia
Wu, L, Xia, M, Sun, X, Han, X, Zu, Y, Jabbour, EJ, You, MJ, Lin, P, Li, S, Xu, J, Han, H, Bueso-Ramos, CE, Medeiros, LJ, Qiu, X & Yin, CC 2020, , European Journal of Haematology, vol. 105, no. 4, pp. 449-459.

A refined cell-of-origin classifier with targeted NGS and artificial intelligence shows robust predictive value in DLBCL
Xu-Monette, ZY, Zhang, H, Zhu, F, Tzankov, A, Bhagat, G, Visco, C, Dybkaer, K, Chiu, A, Tam, W, Zu, Y, Hsi, ED, You, H, Huh, J, Ponzoni, M, Ferreri, AJM, Møller, MB, Parsons, BM, Van Krieken, JH, Piris, MA, Winter, JN, Hagemeister, FB, Shahbaba, B, De Dios, I, Zhang, H, Li, Y, Xu, B, Albitar, M & Young, KH 2020, , Blood Advances, vol. 4, no. 14, pp. 3391-3404.

MIF as a biomarker and therapeutic target for overcoming resistance to proteasome inhibitors in human myeloma
Wang, Q, Zhao, D, Xian, M, Wang, Z, Bi, E, Su, P, Qian, J, Ma, X, Yang, M, Liu, L, Zu, Y, Pingali, SR, Chen, K, Cai, Z & Yi, Q 2020, , Blood, vol. 136, no. 22, pp. 2557-2573.

Peripheral T cell lymphoma, NOS with aberrant aß and ?d T cell receptor expression in a post-heart transplant patient
Liu, S, Ewton, A, Miller, TN, Zieske, AW, Thrall, MJ, Olsen, RJ, Zu, Y & Hao, S 2020, , Journal of Hematopathology, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 109-116.

Aptamer cocktail to detect multiple species of mycoplasma in cell culture
Wan, Q, Liu, X, Zeng, Z, Chen, Z, Liu, Y & Zu, Y 2020, , International journal of molecular sciences, vol. 21, no. 11, 3784.

Aptamer-equipped protamine nanomedicine for precision lymphoma therapy
Zeng, Z, Tung, CH & Zu, Y 2020, , Cancers, vol. 12, no. 4, 780.

T-cell lymphoma secondary to checkpoint inhibitor therapy
Anand, K, Ensor, Jr. JE, Pingali, SR, Hwu, P, Duvic, M, Chiang, S, Miranda, R, Zu, Y & Iyer, S 2020, , Journal for immunotherapy of cancer, vol. 8, no. 1, e000104.

High-Throughput Isolation of Cell Protrusions with Single-Cell Precision for Profiling Subcellular Gene Expression
Zhang, P, Han, X, Yao, J, Shao, N, Zhang, K, Zhou, Y, Zu, Y, Wang, B & Qin, L 2019, , Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, vol. 58, no. 39, pp. 13700-13705.

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.

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, vol. 15, no. 22, 1900903.