Dr. Zhong studies the biochemical regulation of autophagy in mammalian cells. Autophagy is the crucial waste cleaning system for the cell. Removal of damage organelles, protein aggregates and invading pathogens relies on autophagy. Autophagy is also important for organelle biogenesis and stress response. Dysfunction of autophagy has been implicated in a broad spectrum of human diseases, including cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, infectious diseases and metabolic diseases. During autophagy, a double membrane vesicle termed autophagosome is formed with engulfed cellular cargoes and then fused with lysosomes for degradation. Dr. Zhong is specifically interested in dissecting the biochemical mechanisms in this process including lipid modification, membrane deformation, membrane curvature sensing, cargo recruitment, and membrane tethering/fusion. Understanding the key regulatory steps in this pathway will allow us to develop new therapeutic tools for human diseases. Dr. Zhong also studies cancer drugs induced apoptosis and necrosis, and their interconnection with autophagy.


Medical School
Peking Union Medical College (1995), Medicine
Graduate School
University of Texas Health Sci (2001), Medicine

Research Interest

  • Biochemical mechanisms of autophagy
  • DNA damage and HDACi induced apoptosis
  • Primary ciliogenesis
  • Regulated necrosis


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

ULK1 targets Beclin-1 in autophagy.
Nazarko VY, Zhong Q Nat. Cell Biol. 2013 Jul 15 7 727-8
Differential regulation of distinct Vps34 complexes by AMPK in nutrient stress and autophagy.
Kim J, Kim YC, Fang C, Russell RC, Kim JH, Fan W, Liu R, Zhong Q, Guan KL Cell 2013 Jan 152 1-2 290-303
Keap1 facilitates p62-mediated ubiquitin aggregate clearance via autophagy.
Fan W, Tang Z, Chen D, Moughon D, Ding X, Chen S, Zhu M, Zhong Q Autophagy 2010 Jul 6 5 614-21

Honors & Awards

  • High Impact High Risk Award
    CPRIT (2014-2016)
  • Scholar
    Welch (2014-2017)
  • Research Scholar
    American Cancer Society (2011-2015)
  • New Scholar in Aging
    The Ellison Medical Foundation (2007-2011)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2007)
  • American Society for Cell Biology (2007)