Dr. Zhao, an Associate Professor of Radiology, has extensive experience in in vivo non-invasive MRI and optical imaging in studying tumor biomarkers and correlating imaging data with tumor pathophysiology and therapeutic response. Dr. Zhao’s research is currently focusing on development of brain tumor-targeted nanoplatform to facilitate multi-imaging modalities for molecular diagnosis and image-guided delivery of nanoformulated anti-cancer drugs to treat the devastating brain cancers. To surmount the blood brain barrier (BBB), Dr. Zhao’s lab has recently developed a highly specific nanoplatform that binds to tumor vascular luminal surface-exposed phosphatidylserine (PS) of malignant brain tumors, but not to normal brain blood vessels. Without a need to cross the BBB, PS-targeted nanoencapsulated imaging contrast or drugs become subsequently internalized into tumor cells. Utilizing this highly specific brain tumor-targeted nanoplatform, Dr. Zhao proposes a novel approach to introduce both therapeutic and imaging contrast agents into the same nanostructure, allowing MRI to monitoring the delivery and release of anti-cancer drugs to brain tumors based on dynamic change in imaging contrast. Benefited from his initial training in medical school and cancer biology during his PhD, Dr. Zhao has diverse interests in cancer research ranging from microscopic histology to animal models and in vivo multimodal imaging techniques. Dr. Zhao’s research has been continually supported by extramural funding from both NIH and DOD cancer research.
- Medical School
- Dalian Medical University (1991), Medicine
- Graduate School
- University of Tsukuba - ? (1998)
- Development of cancer-targeted multifunctional theranostic nanoparticles to enable the delivery and release of effective anti-cancer drug monitored by in vivo multimodal imaging.
- In vivo imaging of tumor microenvironment, e.g., vasculature and hypoxia, by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and optical imaging.
- Investigate genetic and epigenetic factors associated with tumor aggressiveness by correlating molecular and immunohistological study with in vivo imaging.
- Phosphatidylserine-targeted molecular imaging of tumor vasculature by magnetic resonance imaging.
- Zhou H, Stafford JH, Hallac RR, Zhang L, Huang G, Mason RP, Gao J, Thorpe PE, Zhao D J Biomed Nanotechnol 2014 May 10 5 846-55
- Phosphatidylserine-targeted bimodal liposomal nanoparticles for in vivo imaging of breast cancer in mice.
- Zhang L, Zhou H, Belzile O, Thorpe P, Zhao D J Control Release 2014 Apr 183C 114-123
- Ultrasound imaging-guided intracardiac injection to develop a mouse model of breast cancer brain metastases followed by longitudinal MRI.
- Zhou H, Zhao D J Vis Exp 2014 85
- Applications of Nanoparticles for Brain Cancer Imaging and Therapy
- Zhang L. and Zhao, D. J. Biomed. Nanotechnol. 2014 10 1713-31
- Longitudinal MRI evaluation of intracranial development and vascular characteristics of breast cancer brain metastases in a mouse model.
- Zhou H, Chen M, Zhao D PLoS ONE 2013 8 4 e62238
- Liposomal encapsulation enhances in vivo near infrared imaging of exposed phosphatidylserine in a mouse glioma model.
- Zhang L, Zhao D Molecules 2013 18 12 14613-28
- Near-infrared Optical Imaging of Exposed Phosphatidylserine in a Mouse Glioma Model.
- Zhao D, Stafford JH, Zhou H, Thorpe PE Transl Oncol 2011 Dec 4 6 355-64
- Dynamic near-infrared optical imaging of 2-deoxyglucose uptake by intracranial glioma of athymic mice.
- Zhou H, Luby-Phelps K, Mickey BE, Habib AA, Mason RP, Zhao D PLoS ONE 2009 4 11 e8051
- In vivo near-infrared spectroscopy and magnetic resonance imaging monitoring of tumor response to combretastatin A-4-phosphate correlated with therapeutic outcome.
- Zhao D, Chang CH, Kim JG, Liu H, Mason RP Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Biol. Phys. 2011 Jun 80 2 574-81
- A perspective on vascular disrupting agents that interact with tubulin: preclinical tumor imaging and biological assessment.
- Mason RP, Zhao D, Liu L, Trawick ML, Pinney KG Integr Biol (Camb) 2011 Apr 3 4 375-87
Honors & Awards
- DOD Prostate Cancer Research Initiative Postdoctoral Fellowship Award
- World Molecular Imaging Society (2009)
- International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) (2002)