Dr. Zhang is a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, and a full member of Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center, Indiana University. He earned his medical degree and master’s degree in orthopedics from Xi’an Jiaotong University School of Medicine and obtained his PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Leuven. His postdoctoral training in nutritional and molecular epidemiology was completed at Utah State University. As a visiting scientist, Dr. Zhang worked in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in 1988-1989. He received further training in molecular and genetic epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University in 2001.
Dr. Zhang’s primary research interest is molecular and nutritional epidemiology of cancer, with a focus on the etiology and early detection of pancreatic cancer. Dr. Zhang is nationally recognized for his impactful research work in the identification and validation of proteomic, metabolomic, genetic, hormonal, and other biomarkers for the early detection of pancreatic cancer and the malignant progression of pancreatic cysts. He has conducted several case-control and cohort studies of cancer and other chronic diseases in the USA, China, and other countries. He has established productive research collaborations with physicians and scientists at Indiana University, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, and many other universities across the world.
Dr. Zhang has been the principal investigator on more than a dozen research grants awarded by NIH and other funding agencies and a co-investigator or in other roles on many epidemiological studies supported by national and international grants. As a principal investigator, he is currently leading a NIH/NCI-funded project (U01 CA239522; $3,324,087; 04/01/2021-03/31/2026). The primary objective of this project is to discover and validate longitudinal proteomic and metabolomic predictors of pancreatic cyst malignant progression and early stage pancreatic cancer. Dr. Zhang has published more than 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals and presented his research work at over 40 national and international scientific conferences. He is the first author and/or corresponding author for the vast majority of his papers. Dr. Zhang’s papers have appeared in top or high-impact journals of epidemiology, nutrition, and cancer and his published work has received widespread national and international media coverage. He was interviewed by an editor of The Scientist about the effect of milk consumption on cancer risk worldwide. Dr. Zhang have delivered more than 20 invited presentations locally, nationally, and internationally.
Dr. Zhang has served as a member of multiple NIH study sections and a reviewer of grant applications for the Italian Ministry of Health. He is an Associate Editor for BMC Cancer, a journal published by Springer Nature. He has been a reviewer for over 30 scientific journals. Dr. Zhang is an elected fellow of the American College of Nutrition. He was the recipient of the Anafred Halpern New Investigator Award conferred by the American College of Nutrition in 1999. In addition, he was a key member of the research team that was awarded the Klaus Schwarz Commemorative Medal by the International Association of Bioinorganic Scientists in 1996. Dr. Zhang received Indiana University Trustees’ Teaching Award in 2015. He has been the primary advisor for more than 40 PhD/MPH students, postdoctoral fellows, and research assistants. Some of his students have held tenure-track faculty or senior research scientist positions.
- Fahrmann JF, Schmidt CM, Mao X, Irajizad E, Loftus M, Zhang JM, Patel M, Vykoukal J, Dennison JB, Long JP, Zhang J, Chabot JA, Kluger MD, Kastrinos F, Brais L, Babic A, Jajoo K, Lee S, Clancy TE, Ng K, Bullock A, Genkinger J, Yip-Schneider MT, Maitra A, Wolpin B, and Hanash S. Lead-time trajectory of CA19-9 as an anchor marker for pancreatic cancer early detection. Gastroenterology 2021;160(4):1373-1383.
- Wang K, Wu Q, Li Z,Reger MK, Xiong Y, Zhong G, Li Q, Zhang X, Li H, Foukakis T, Xiang T*, Zhang J*, and Ren G* (*co-corresponding authors). Vitamin K intake and breast cancer incidence and death: results from a prospective cohort study. Clinical Nutrition 2021;40(5):3370-3378.
- Fahrmann JF, Bantis LE, Capello M, Scelo G, Denison JB, Patel N, Murage E, Vykoukal J, Kundnani DL, Foretova L, Fabianova E, Holcatova I, Janout V, Feng Z, Yip-Schneider M, Zhang J, Brand R, Taguchi A, Maitra A, Brennan P, Schmidt CM, and Hanash S. Plasma-derived metabolite and protein biomarker panels have additive performance for early stage pancreatic cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2019;111(4):372-379.
- Hoyt M, Reger M, Marely A, Fan H, Liu Z, and Zhang J*. Vitamin K intake and prostate cancer risk in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2019;109;392-401.
- Yip-Schneider MT, Simpson R, Carr RA, Wu H, Fan H, Liu Z, Korc M, Zhang J*, and Schmidt CM* (*co-corresponding authors). Circulating leptin and branched chain amino acids – potential predictors of malignant intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm risk. Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery 2019;23;966-974.
- Simpson R, Yip-Schneider MT, Wu H, Fan H, Liu Z, Korc M, Zhang J*, and Schmidt CM* (*co-corresponding authors). Circulating thrombospondin-2 enhances prediction of malignant intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm. American Journal of Surgery 2019;217;425-428.
- Marley A†, Hoyt H, Fan H, Anderson K, and Zhang J*. Intake of methyl-related nutrients and risk of pancreatic cancer in a population-based case-control studies in Minnesota. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2018;72:1128-1135.
- Reger MK†, Zollinger TW, Liu Z, Jones JF, and Zhang J*. Dietary intake of isoflavones and coumestrol and the risk of prostate cancer in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. International Journal of Cancer 2018;142:719-728.
- Reger MK, Zollinger TW, Liu Z, Jones J, and Zhang J*. Urinary phytoestrogens and cancer, cardiovascular, and all-cause mortality in the continuous National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. European Journal of Nutrition 2016;55(3):1029-40.
- Zhang J*, Prizment AE, Dhakal IB, and Anderson KE. Cholecystectomy, gallstones, tonsillectomy, and pancreatic cancer risk: A population-based case-control study in Minnesota. British Journal of Cancer. 2014;110:2348–2353.
- Zhang J*, Dhakal IB, Zhang X, Prizment AE, and Anderson KE. Genetic variability in energy balance and pancreatic cancer risk in a population-based case-control study in Minnesota. Pancreas. 2014;43(2):281-6.
- Zhang J*, Dhakal I, Gross M, Lang N, Kadlubar F, Harnack L, and Anderson K. Physical activity, diet, and pancreatic cancer: a population-based case-control study in Minnesota. Nutrition and Cancer: An International Journal 2009;61(4):457-465.
- Zhang J*, Dhakal I, Ning B, and Kesteloot H. Patterns and trends of pancreatic cancer mortality rates in Arkansas, 1969-2002: A comparison with the US population. European Journal of Cancer Prevention 2008:17:18-27.
- Zhang J*, Dhakal I, Yan H, Phillips M, Kesteloot H. Trends in pancreatic cancer incidence in 9 SEER Cancer Registries, 1973-2002. Annals of Oncology 2007;18(7):1268-1279.
- Zhang J, Munger RG, West NA, Cutler DR, Wengreen HJ, Corcoran CD. Antioxidant intake and the risk of osteoporotic hip fracture in Utah: an effect modified by smoking status. American Journal of Epidemiology 2006;163:9-17.
- Zhang J*, Kesteloot H. Milk consumption in relation to incidence of prostate, breast, colon, and rectal cancers: is there an independent effect? Nutrition and Cancer: An International Journal 2005;53(1):65-72.
- Zhang J, Kesteloot H. Differences in all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality between Hong Kong and Singapore: role of nutrition. European Journal of Epidemiology 2001;17:469-477.
- Zhang J, Temme EHM, Sasaki S, Kesteloot H. Under- and overreporting of energy intake using urinary cations as biomarkers: relation to body mass index. American Journal of Epidemiology 2000;152:453-462.
- Zhang J, Temme EHM, Kesteloot H. Fish consumption is inversely associated with male lung cancer mortality in countries with high levels of cigarette smoking or animal fat consumption. International Journal of Epidemiology 2000;29:615-621.
- Zhang J, Kesteloot H. Anthropometric, lifestyle and metabolic determinants of resting heart rate: a population study. European Heart Journal 1999;20:103-110.
*Denotes the corresponding/senior author