Dr. Zhu is originally from China and received his Ph.D. from the University of Utah. Attracted by prestigious metabolism research at the UT Southwestern, he came to the Dr. Philipp E. Scherer lab for postdoctoral training in 2013. Soon he won a competitive Lilly Innovative Award Fellowship and stayed at the UT Southwestern as an Eli Lilly employee to perform basic metabolism research as well as drug candidate verification in animal models. In 2017, he won an NIH K99/R00 career development award and decided to pursue an academic career. He is currently investigating how cell-cell communication via Connexin43 gap junctions affects adipose tissue development and remolding during obesity and pathogenesis of diabetes.

Research Interest

  • Adipose Tissue Beiging
  • Adipose Tissue Secreted Factors
  • Connexin43 in Adipose Tissue Development and Remolding


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Hepatic GALE Regulates Whole-Body Glucose Homeostasis by Modulating Tff3 Expression.
Zhu Y, Zhao S, Deng Y, Gordillo R, Ghaben AL, Shao M, Zhang F, Xu P, Li Y, Cao H, Zagnitko O, Scott DA, Gupta RK, Xing C, Zhang BB, Lin HV, Scherer PE Diabetes 2017 Nov 66 11 2789-2799
Connexin 43 Mediates White Adipose Tissue Beiging by Facilitating the Propagation of Sympathetic Neuronal Signals.
Zhu Y, Gao Y, Tao C, Shao M, Zhao S, Huang W, Yao T, Johnson JA, Liu T, Cypess AM, Gupta O, Holland WL, Gupta RK, Spray DC, Tanowitz HB, Cao L, Lynes MD, Tseng YH, Elmquist JK, Williams KW, Lin HV, Scherer PE Cell Metab. 2016 Sep 24 3 420-33
Hyaluronan in adipose tissue: Beyond dermal filler and therapeutic carrier.
Zhu Y, Crewe C, Scherer PE Sci Transl Med 2016 Jan 8 323 323ps4
Distinct regulatory mechanisms governing embryonic versus adult adipocyte maturation.
Wang QA, Tao C, Jiang L, Shao M, Ye R, Zhu Y, Gordillo R, Ali A, Lian Y, Holland WL, Gupta RK, Scherer PE Nat. Cell Biol. 2015 Sep 17 9 1099-111
Regulation of fatty acid metabolism by mTOR in adult murine hearts occurs independently of changes in PGC-1a
Zhu Y, Soto J, Anderson B, Riehle C, Zhang YC, Wende AR, Jones D, McClain DA, Abel ED Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. 2013 Apr
Cardiac PI3K-Akt impairs insulin-stimulated glucose uptake independent of mTORC1 and GLUT4 translocation.
Zhu Y, Pereira RO, O'Neill BT, Riehle C, Ilkun O, Wende AR, Rawlings TA, Zhang YC, Zhang Q, Klip A, Shiojima I, Walsh K, Abel ED Mol. Endocrinol. 2013 Jan 27 1 172-84
Mechanistic target of rapamycin (Mtor) is essential for murine embryonic heart development and growth.
Zhu Y, Pires KM, Whitehead KJ, Olsen CD, Wayment B, Zhang YC, Bugger H, Ilkun O, Litwin SE, Thomas G, Kozma SC, Abel ED PLoS ONE 2013 8 1 e54221

Honors & Awards

  • NIDDK/NIH K99/R00 Career Development Award
    National Institutes of Health (2017-2021)
  • Lilly Innovative Fellowship Award
    Eli Lilly (2014-2017)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Diabetes Association (2017)