Hasan Zaki, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology. Dr. Zaki studies molecular mechanism of inflammatory disorders including inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, obesity, fatty liver disease, and metabolic syndrome. Dr. Zaki  earned his doctoral degree from Kumamoto University, Japan where he investigated the role of nitric oxide, an innate immune mediator,  in host defense against bacterial infection and discovered that nitro-cyclic GMP, a nitrated nucleotide derivative,  acts as  a potential signal transduction molecule. For postdoctoral training, he moved to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN where he studied the role of NOD-like receptors (NLR), a group of cytosolic pathogen recognition receptor, in intestinal inflammation and cancer.

Research in Dr. Zaki’s lab aims to dissect cell signaling pathways regulated by NLRs and other pathogen sensors. He previously explored that NLRP3 and AIM2 are critical inflammasome activating sensors involved in maintaining intestinal homeostasis and healthy gut microbiota composition. He also demonstrated that some NLRs such as NLRP12 and NOD2 protect host against colitis, colorectal cancer, and hepatocellular carcinoma via suppression of inflammatory signaling pathways. Ongoing studies in his laboratory is focused on understanding how innate pathogen sensors regulate gut microbiota composition, host metabolism, inflammation, and cancer. He is also interested in understanding the impact of diet in gastrointestinal, hepatobiliary, and metabolic disorders and how innate immune response intervenes diet-mediated modulation of gut microbiota and inflammatory disorders.


Graduate School
Kumamoto University - Japan (2007), Microbiology

Research Interest

  • Cell Signaling
  • Diet and Metabolic Disorders
  • Gastrointestinal Inflammation and Cancer
  • Gut Microbiome
  • Host Pathogen Interaction
  • NOD-Like Receptors


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Crosstalk between NLRP12 and JNK during Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
Khan S, Zaki H, Int J Mol Sci 2020 Jan 21 2

Honors & Awards

  • Career Development Award, Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (2012)
  • MEXT Scholarship (2002)
  • Trainee Award, American Association for Immunologists (2011)
  • Travel Award, Keystone Meeting (2012)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Association for Advancement of Schience (2012)
  • American Association of Immunologists (2012)
  • Chron's and Colitis Foundation of America (2012)