Download Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Zeng majored in the Biological Sciences in Tsinghua University as an undergraduate. He obtained his Ph.D. degree at Harvard University in the subject of Cell and Developmental Biology. As a postdoc fellow in Bruce Spiegelman’s Lab at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, he discovered that a previously unannotated adipose-specific gene Clstn3β and an adipocyte-derived neurotrophic factor S100b contribute to proper innervation of thermogenic adipose tissue by sympathetic nerves. This work revealed novel gene and signaling pathways mediating the communication between adipocytes and the peripheral nervous system. Dr. Zeng was awarded HP scholarship and “Excellent Undergraduate” at Tsinghua University, Award for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad by the Chinese Ministry of Education, American Heart Association postdoctoral fellowship, endowed scholar of UT Southwestern, and CPRIT grant for first time tenure-track faculty. Dr. Zeng recently joined the Department of Physiology at UT Southwestern as an assistant professor.

Research Interest

  • Molecular mechanism of bidirectional communication between autonomic neurons and adipocytes
  • Molecular mechanism of cell fate determination and maintenance with adipocyte as a model system
  • Role of uncharacterized enzymatic pathways in adipose physiology


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

?d T cells and adipocyte IL-17RC control fat innervation and thermogenesis.
Hu B, Jin C, Zeng X, Resch JM, Jedrychowski MP, Yang Z, Desai BN, Banks AS, Lowell BB, Mathis D, Spiegelman BM, Nature 2020 02 578 7796 610-614
Crosstalk between KCNK3-Mediated Ion Current and Adrenergic Signaling Regulates Adipose Thermogenesis and Obesity.
Chen Y, Zeng X, Huang X, Serag S, Woolf CJ, Spiegelman BM Cell 2017 Sep
Lysine-specific demethylase 1 promotes brown adipose tissue thermogenesis via repressing glucocorticoid activation.
Zeng X, Jedrychowski MP, Chen Y, Serag S, Lavery GG, Gygi SP, Spiegelman BM, Genes Dev. 2016 08 30 16 1822-36
Synergistic blockade of mitotic exit by two chemical inhibitors of the APC/C.
Sackton KL, Dimova N, Zeng X, Tian W, Zhang M, Sackton TB, Meaders J, Pfaff KL, Sigoillot F, Yu H, Luo X, King RW Nature 2014 Aug
A Smooth Muscle-Like Origin for Beige Adipocytes.
Long JZ, Svensson KJ, Tsai L, Zeng X, Roh HC, Kong X, Rao RR, Lou J, Lokurkar I, Baur W, Castellot JJ, Rosen ED, Spiegelman BM Cell Metab. 2014 Apr
Ablation of PRDM16 and Beige Adipose Causes Metabolic Dysfunction and a Subcutaneous to Visceral Fat Switch.
Cohen P, Levy JD, Zhang Y, Frontini A, Kolodin DP, Svensson KJ, Lo JC, Zeng X, Ye L, Khandekar MJ, Wu J, Gunawardana SC, Banks AS, Camporez JP, Jurczak MJ, Kajimura S, Piston DW, Mathis D, Cinti S, Shulman GI, Seale P, Spiegelman BM Cell 2014 Jan 156 1-2 304-16
An APC/C inhibitor stabilizes cyclin B1 by prematurely terminating ubiquitination.
Zeng X, King RW, Nat. Chem. Biol. 2012 Feb 8 4 383-92
Pharmacologic inhibition of the anaphase-promoting complex induces a spindle checkpoint-dependent mitotic arrest in the absence of spindle damage.
Zeng X, Sigoillot F, Gaur S, Choi S, Pfaff KL, Oh DC, Hathaway N, Dimova N, Cuny GD, King RW, Cancer Cell 2010 Oct 18 4 382-95

Honors & Awards

  • Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, First-time Tenure Track Faculty Award
  • Endowed scholar at UT Southwestern