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 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 Dr. Thirumala-devi Kanneganti's laboratory at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN. His postdoctoral studies were focused on understanding the role of NOD-like receptors (NLR), a group of cytosolic pathogen recognition receptor, in intestinal inflammatory disorders.

Research in Dr. Zaki’s lab aims to dissect signaling pathways regulated by NLRs and other pathogen sensors. He showed that NLRP3 and AIM2 are critical inflammasome activating sensors involved in maintaining intestinal homeostasis and healthy gut microbiota composition. He also demonstrated that several NLRs including NOD2 and NLRP12 play central roles in suppressing intestinal inflamamtion and colorectal cancer via downregualtion of inflammatory signaling pathways, such as NF-kB and MAPK. His laboratory also made seminal discovery that higher intake of dietary sugars predisposes and enhances pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease via modulaiton of gut microbiota composiiton. Ongoing studies in his laboratory is focused on understanding the complex interplay between  innate iimmunity, diet, and gut microbiota in regulating intestinal homeostasis and inflammatory disorders including cancer. 



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

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)