Dr. Lin Zhu

Dr. Lin Zhu
Research Assistant Professor, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism, Vanderbilt University, School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, US.


Dr. Zhu is a research assistant professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Dr. Zhu?s research focuses on hepatic lipid metabolism regulated by environmental factors. She has demonstrated the significance of liver estrogen receptor alpha signaling in protecting against insulin resistance. During her training as a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt Medical Center, Dr. Zhu developed expertise in many aspects of studying physiology in rodents, including metabolic clamp technique combined with complex tracers, body composition analysis, calorimetry techniques and measurement of physiologic parameters such as blood pressure, glucose tolerance, lipid production studies and lipoprotein analysis. She also gained hand-on skills for study atherosclerosis and the regulation of the risk factors such as inflammation and HDL function. Dr. Zhu have PhD in Human Health and Nutritional Sciences from the University of Guelph Canada. Dr. Zhu gained her MD in China and was a clinician as a neurologist for 6 years.

Research Interest

Dr. Zhu's research interest is to understand the relationship between energy homeostasis and inflammation, which might be a foundational mechanism for insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis. Dr. Zhu?s research focuses on the use of genetically engineered mouse models to identify mechanisms that underlie insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. She aims to define fundamental principles of how to improve high-density lipoproteins (HDL) function for patients with obesity or Type2 diabetes to reduce cardiovascular disease. Dr. Zhu demonstrated that LRP1 deficient macrophages caused inflammatory responses in the artery walls due to the impaired ability for foam cells clearance in the plaque, which could not be suppressed by anti-inflammatory drugs. In another high impact project, she found that anti-inflammatory (M2) macrophages promoted cholesterol reverse transport and macrophage migration out of artery walls, leading to atherosclerosis regression. This discovery is novel and important and may set a platform to develop therapeutic policies to induce macrophages toward M2 polarization to prevent cardiovascular events. Dr. Zhu also showed that deletion of liver ER? signaling led to lipid accumulation in the liver and caused whole body insulin resistance.