Huiping Zhou, Ph.D., M.S.Women in Science, Dentistry, and Medicine Professional Achievement “WISDM” Award

Dr. Huiping Zhou joined VCU in 1999 as Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Internal Medicine, and joined the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the MCV-McGuire VA Medical Center Lipid Research Group in 2004 as a Research Assistant Professor. She earned a tenure-track position in 2007 with joint appointments in Microbiology and Immunology and Internal Medicine. Her exceptional academic achievements led to promotion as a GS14 Research Scientist position at McGuire VA Medical Center in 2014, and promotion to full professor with tenure in Microbiology and Immunology in 2016.

Within two years of becoming Research Assistant Professor, Dr. Zhou had earned her first NIH grant; she has been consistently funded for 13 years with multiple grants from the NIH, VA, private foundations and industry. She has been PI or Co-PI on external grant funds totaling over $7 million.

Dr. Zhou studies endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and alcohol abuse, drug-induced liver injury, and bile acid-mediated signaling in cholestatic liver diseases. Prolonged ER stress can lead to cell death and has been found to have a role in gastroenterological and cardiac disease. Dr. Zhou’s lab first reported that activation of ER stress represents a key molecular mechanism underlying HIV protease inhibitor-induced liver injury. Recently, her lab identified new signaling pathways related to cholestatic liver injury. Dr. Zhou also conducts innovative research studying the mechanism of action of traditional Chinese medicines. Since coming to VCU, Dr. Zhou has authored or co-authored 83 papers in high-impact journals, 18 reviews/book chapters and over 100 abstracts.

A dedicated mentor with a special interest in developing women scientists, Dr. Zhou has formally mentored over 40 postdoctoral scholars, fellows, and graduate students in the US and China; 22 were women scientists in training and 21 of these women earned faculty positions. Dr. Zhou has been exceptionally successful in helping mentees secure funding; all of her VCU MD/PhD and PhD students have received NIH F30 or F31 fellowships and her trainees have received more than 30 travel awards to present their research during the last 10 years.

Former doctoral student Beth Shoshana Zha, MD, PhD, recalls, “While Dr. Zhou pushes her mentees to be the best investigators, she also greatly values life outside the laboratory. She often organized parties and get-togethers for welcoming members, bonding, and goodbyes. We observed her ability to raise two gorgeous and successful children, her strong role within her community, and availability to aid her friends whenever needed.”

Dr. Zhou has served as editor or peer reviewer for over 60 journals. She has served as an ad hoc reviewer for NIH Study Sections for AIDS Clinical Studies and Epidemiology, Hepatobiliary Pathophysiology, Therapeutic Approaches to Genetic Diseases, and for NIH Challenge Grants.

Dr. Zhou’s national leadership positions include the Liver Fibrosis SIG Steering Committee of American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), Basic Research Committee of AASLD, American Physiological Society Award Committee, American Liver Foundation Research Award Committee, and Chinese American Liver Society. She has organized and chaired 14 symposia. At VCU, Dr. Zhou has served on the University Grievance Committee, University Council, Honor Council, School of Medicine Admissions Committee, and Graduate Program Committee.

This year, Dr. Zhou was inducted as an American Gastroenterological Association Fellow, an honor bestowed for superior professional achievement in the field of gastroenterology. Her VCU colleague Phillip B. Hylemon, PhD, professor of Microbiology and Medicine, describes Dr. Zhou as “one of the best faculty members that I have encountered in the last 40 years.” In recognition of her outstanding record of scholarship, service, and mentorship developing future scientists, we honor Huiping Zhou, PhD with the 2018 WISDM Professional Achievement Award.