Qunwei Zhang, MD, MPH, PhD


Qunwei Zhang

Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences

Room No. 108F Medical Research Building, 511 South Floyd St.
Louisville, Kentucky 40202

Lab: 205 & 206 Medical Dental Research Building
511 South Floyd St.
Louisville, Kentucky 40202
Phone: 502-852-2439
Fax: 502-852-7246



Qunwei Zhang, MD, MPH, PhD, is a Professor of the Department Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences. Dr. Zhang received his MD degree from Fujiang Medical University and his MPH degree from the School of Public Health at Zhejiang University, China. After three years of experimental and clinical studies on the treatment of pneumoconiosis by whole lung lavage, he entered a graduate program in the University of Fukui School of Medicine, Japan, and was got his PhD degree in 2000 for study of the mechanism of pulmonary effects of metals nano-particles. His subsequent post-doctoral training was in Dr. Max Costa's (Professor and Chairman) laboratory at New York University School of Medicine where he studied the molecular mechanisms of metal toxicity and carcinogenesis. He was then recruited to the Institute for Environmental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center as a Research Associate and Institute Associate Investigator under the mentorship of Dr. Aron Fisher (Professor and Director), where he studied on the mechanism of oxidative injury in lung ischemia-reperfusion. Dr. Zhang joined University of Louisville in 2005 as an assistant professor, and was promoted to associate professor in 2011 and professor in 2016. He has published over 90 scientific articles and book chapters, and more than 92 abstracts presented in the national or international conference.

Support Staff: Barbara Parker (502-852-3290)

Research Interests
Nanotoxicology and pulmonary toxicology;
Metals toxicology, genotoxicology and carcinogenesis;
Lung ischemia and ion channel;
Free radicals and pulmonary diseases;
Gene expression and function;
Shear stress and NADPH oxidase;
Signal transduction involved in tumor promotion, prevention and cellular function.

Current and Past Projects

1.Mechanisms of carcinogenic effects of nickel nanoparticles. NIEHS (ES028911. Principal Investigator, Dec.15, 2017-Nov. 30, 2019

2. Mechanisms underlying ambient particulate matter-induced lung cancer. Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Program. Principal Investigator, June.1, 2017-May 30, 2019

3. The role of microRNA miR21 in nickel noparticles-induced MMPs porduction. NIEHS (ES023693). Principal Investigator. Sept. 17, 2014-Aug. 31, 2019

4. Mechanisms underlying ambient particulate matter-induced DNA damage and cell transformation. KSEF-148-502-16-381. Principal Investigator, July 1, 2016-June 30, 2018

5. Develop and evaluate the degradable polymerpoly(troloxester) nanoparticles for  medial application. The Clinical and Translational Science Grant Program at UofL.Principal Investigator, June 1, 2010-May, 31, 2011.

6. Activation of Endothelial cell and gene expression in lungs following exposure to ultrafine particles. Health Effects Institute, Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award (4751-RFA-05-2/06-12).Principal Investigator, Mar.1, 2007-December 31, 2011.

7. KSEF-1686-RED-11.  Oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction in aminal exposure to ultrafine particles and cigarette smoke. KSEF, Principal Investigator, July 1, 2008-June 30, 2010 (no cost-extension until June 30, 2011).

8. Mechanisms Underlying the Susceptibility of Diabetics to Ultrafine Particles. American Heart Association Great Rivers Affiliate, Principal Investigator, July 1, 2008-June 30, 2010 (no cost-extension until June 30, 2011).

9. Partial-thickness wound healing via topical ATP delivery. NIH/NIAMSD SBIR (2R44AR052984-02). Co-investigator (Dr. Chien, Principal Investigator), Sept.12, 2007-Aug. 31, 2010.

10. Carcinogenesis of nickel nanoparticles. Pilot project from the NIESH Center for Environmental Genomics and Integrative Biology (CEGIB) at the University of Louisville,  Principal Investigator, April 1, 2008-March 31, 2009

11. Center for Environmental Genomics and Integrative Biology (1P30ES01443-01A1). NIH/NIESH. Dr. Ramos (Principal Investigator), Dr. Zhang is a Career Development Program recipient, April 1, 2007-March 31, 2008

12. Endothelial generation of reactive oxygen species in lung exposure to ultrafine particles. National American Lung Association (RG-872-N), Principal Investigator. July 2004-Dec 2006.

13. Genotoxic effects of transition metal nanoparticles. University of Louisville Intramural Research Incentive Grant,    Principal Investigator,      June 1, 2006-May 31, 2007

Honors and Awards

2008 Winner, Scientific Importance, Research!Louisville

2006 Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award, Health Effects Institute

2006 First Place of the Scientific Importance, Research!Louisville

2004-2006 National American Lung Association research grant award (Independent Investigator Award)

2002 Mechanism of Toxicity Gordon Research Conference travel grant award

2000-2002 Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) post-doc fellowship for foreign researcher (about $100,000.00) - returned fellowship due to accepting the research associate scientist position in New York University, USA.

1998 Third British Epidemiology and Public Health Course travel grant award

1997 9th International Conference on Occupational Respiratory Diseases travel grant award

1995-2000 Japanese Ministry of Education, Sciences and Culture scholarship award (Japanese Government Scholarship)

1995 25th International Congress on Occupational Health travel grant award

Post-doc Fellow Received Awards Under the Mentor of Dr. Zhang

2010   The post-doc award, Nanotoxicology Specialty Section, 49 th Annual Meeting of Society of Toxicology at Salt Lake City, March 7-11, 2010. (Awardee: Dr. Rong Wan)

2009   Best Abstract by a post-doc, Inhalation and Respiratory Specialty Section, Annual Meeting of Society of Toxicology at Baltimore, March 15-19, 2009. (Awardee:Dr. Yiqun Mo)

2009  Travel Award for Trainees, Wound Biotechnology Foundation,   Wound Healing Society, 19 th Annual Meeting and Exhibition, Dallas, Texas,  April 26-29, 2009. (Awardee:Dr. Yiqun Mo)

Book Chapters

  1. Mo Y, Gu A, Tollerud DJ, Zhang Q. Nanoparticle toxicity and environmental impact. In the book of “Oxidative stress and biomaterials”. Editors: Thomas Dziubla and D. Allan Butterfield. Elsevier Ltd. (2016). ISBN: 978-0-12-803269-5, page 117-143.
  2. Mo Y, Wan R, Tollerud DJ, Zhang Q. Nanomaterials. In the book of “Cancer and Inflammation Mechanisms: Chemical, Biological, and Clinical Aspects”. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (2014). Editors:Yusuke Hiraku, Shosuke Kawanishi, Hiroshi Ohshima.  ISBN: 978-1-118-16030-5, page 235-249.
  3. Mo Y, Wan R, Zhang Q.  Application of reverse transcription-PCR and real-time PCR in nanotoxicity research. Nanotoxicity: Method and Protocols. In the series: Methods in Molecular Biology (Vol. 926), edited by Reineke, Joshua, Springer Protocols (www.SpringerProtocols.com).  Humana Press (2012) Methods Mol. Biol. 2012; 926: 99-112.  PMID: 22975959
  4. Fisher AB, Zhang Q.  NADPH and NADPH oxidase, Encyclopedia of Respiratory Medicine. Editors: Geoffrey J. Laurent and Steven D. Shapiro. C2006 Elsevier Ltd, ISBN: 0-12 438360-2, 2006; Volume 3; 77-83.
  5. Zhang Q, Kusaka Y, Sato K, Donaldson K.  Differences in the inflammogenicity of standard and ultrafine metals: the role of nitric oxide. Advances in the Prevention of Occupational Respiratory Diseases. Editors K. Chiyotani, Y Hosoda, Y Aizawa. Elsevier Sciences B.V. 1998, 866-872.
  6. Zhang Z, Zhang Q, Yang D, Ding X, Luo J, He L Zhong H, Chen F. Luo J, Hong C.  The therapeutic effect of whole lung lavage with polyvinypyridine-N-Oxide solution in pneumoconiosis patients.  Advances in the Prevention of Occupational Respiratory Diseases. Editors K. Chiyotani, Y Hosoda, Y Aizawa. Elsevier Sciences B.V. 1998, 838-844.
  7. Kusaka Y, Zhang Q, Sato K, Kyono H, and Kohyama N.  Which is more immunotoxic to the respiratory system, ionic or metallic cobalt? Metal Ions in Biology Medicine, Vol 4. Editors: P.H. Collery, J. Corbella, J.L. Domingo, J.C. Etienne, J.M. Liobet, John Liibbey Eurotext, Pairs. 1996, 661-613.
  8. Sato K, Kusaka Y, Zhang Q, Okada K, Nakakuki K, Muraoka R.  Effect of cadmium on citrate uptake by isolated rats renal brush border membrane vesicles. Metal Ions in Biology Medicine, Editors: P.H. Collery, J. Corbella, J.L. Domingo, J.C. Etienne, J.M. Liobet, John Liibbey Eurotext, Pairs, 1996, Vol 4: 238-240.

Journal Articles

  1. Wan R*, Mo Y*, Zhang Z*, Jiang M, Tang S, Zhang Q. Cobalt nanoparticles induce lung injury, DNA damage and mutations in mice. Particle and Fibre Toxicology, 2017 Sep 18; 14 (1):38. (*co-first author)   https://doi.org/10.1186/s12989-017-0219-z   
  2. Liu Q, Xu C, Ji G, Liu H, Mo Y, Tollerud DJ, Gu A, Zhang Q. Sublethal effects of zinc oxide nanoparticles on male reproductive cells. Toxicology in Vitro, 2016; 35: 131-138.  PMID: 27247145
  3. Zhang Y, Mo Y, Gu A, Wan R, Zhang Q, Tollerud DJ. Effects of Urban Particulate Matter with High Glucose on Human Monocytes U937.  Journal of Applied Toxicology, 2016; 36: 586–595. PMID: 26179980
  4. Xu Y, Zhang X, Chen Y, Ren N, Lin W, Zhang Q. Health effects of electromagnetic fields on reproductive-age female operators of plastic welding machines in Fuzhou, China.  Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2016; 58(2): 148-153. PMID: 26849258
  5. Zou H, Zhang Q, Xing M, Gao X, Zhou Li, Tollerud DJ, Tang S, Zhang M. Evaluation of Appropriate Exposure Metrics for Nanoparticles in Workplaces. Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, 2015; 17(8):1470-1481. PMID: 26166442
  6. Xu C, Liu Q,  Liu H, Zhang Q,  Héroux P,  Jiang ZY, Gu A. Low Serum Testosterone Levels are Associated with Elevated Urinary Mandelic Acid, Tungsten, and Strontium Levels in Adult Men According to the US 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. PLoS One,  2015 May 21; 10(5):e0127451. PMID: 25996772
  7. Xu C, Liu Q, Zhang Q, Jiang Z, Gu A. Urinary enterolactone associated with liver enzyme levels in U.S. adults: NHANES survey. British Journal of Nutrition, 2015; 114:91-97. PMID: 25990984
  8. Yang X, Shao H, Liu W, Gu W, Shu X, Mo Y, Chen X, Zhang Q, Jiang M. Endoplasmic reticulum stress and oxidative stress are involved in ZnO nanoparticle-induced hepatotoxicity. Toxicology Letters, 2015; 234: 40-49. PMID: 25680694
  9. Xu C, Liu Q, Zhang Q, Jiang Z, Gu A. Urinary Enterolactone is Associated with Obesity and Metabolic Alteration in Men in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2010. British Journal of Nutrition, 2015; 113: 683-690. PMID: 25634494
  10. Feng L, Zhang Y, Jiang M, Mo Y, Wan R, Jia Z, Tollerud DJ, Zhang X, Zhang Q.   Up-regulation of Gadd45a after Exposure to Metal Nanoparticles: the Role of Hypoxia Inducible Factor 1a. Environmental Toxicology, 2015; 30 (4): 490-499. PMID: 24277352
  11. Skeete Z, Cheng H, Crew E,  Shan S, Zhao W,  Cronk H,  Luo J, Zhang Q,  Zhong CJ.  Design of functional Nanoparticles and Assemblies for Theranostic Applications.  ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2014; 6 (24): 21752-21768. PMID: 25111087
  12. Wan R, Mo Y, Feng L, Chien S, Tollerud DJ, Zhang Q. DNA damage caused by metal nanoparticles: the involvement of oxidative stress and activation of ATM. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 2012; 25: 1402-1411. (Highlighting in this issue; 2012; 25(7):1283)PMID:22559321
  13. Mo Y, Wan R, Chien S, Tollerud DJ, Zhang Q.  Combination effects of Cigarette smoke extract and ambient ultrafine particles on endothelial cells. Toxicology in Vitro, 2012; 26: 295-303. PMID: 22178768
  14. Wan R, Mo Y, Chien S, Li Y, Li Y, Tollerud DJ, and Zhang Q.  The role of hypoxia inducible factor-1α in MMP-2 and MMP-9 production by human monocytes exposed to nickel nanoparticles. Nanotoxicology, 2011; 5(4): 568-582. PMID: 21401309
  15. Pushpakumar SB, Perez-Abadia G, Soni C, Wan R, Todnem N, Patibandla P, Fenster T, Zhang Q, Barker JH, Maldonado C. Enhancing complement control on endothelial barrier reduced renal post-ischemia dysfunction. Journal of Surgery Research, 2011, 170: e263-e270. PMID: 21816416
  16. Wang J, Wan R, Mo Y, Zhang Q, Sherwood L, Chien S.  Creating a long-term diabetic rabbit model. Experimental Diabetes Research, 2010, Article ID 289614, 10 pages, doi: 10.1155/2010/289614  PMID: 21234414
  17. Wang L, Zhang J, Zheng Y, Yang J, Zhang Q, Zhu X.  Bioeffects of CdTe quantum dots on human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Journal of Nanoscience Nanotechnology, 2010; 10: 8591-8596. PMID: 21121370
  18. Yu M, Mo Y, Wan R, Chien S, Zhang X, and Zhang Q.  Regulation of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 expression in endothelial cells with exposure to metal nanoparticles. Toxicology Letters, 2010; 195:82-89. PMID: 20171267
  19. Wang J, Wan R, Mo Y, Li M, Zhang Q, Chien S.  Intracellular delivery of ATP enhanced healing process in full thickness skin wounds in diabetic animals. The American Journal of Surgery, 2010; 199:823-832. PMID: 20609726
  20. Wattamwar PP, Mo Y, Wan R, Palli R, Zhang Q, Dziubla TD.  Antioxidant activity of degradable polymer poly(trolox) to suppress oxidative stress injury in cells. Advanced Functional Materials, 2010; 20:147-154.
  21. Mo Y, Wan R, Wang J, Chien S, Tollerud DJ, Zhang Q.  Diabetes is associated with increased sensitivity of alveolar macrophages to urban particulate matter exposure. Toxicology, 2009; 262:130-137. PMID: 19505525
  22. Mo Y, Wan R, Chien S, Tollerud, DJ, Zhang Q.  Activation of endothelial cells after exposure to ambient ultrafine particles: the role of NADPH oxidase. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 2009; 236:183-193. PMID: 19371610
  23. Wang J, Zhang Q, Wan R, Mo Y, Li M, Tseng M, Chien S.  Intracellular ATP enhanced skin wound healing in rabbits.  Annals of Plastic Surgery, 2009; 64(2):180-186. PMID: 19158531
  24. Wan R, Mo Y, Zhang X, Chien S, Tollerud DJ, Zhang Q.  Matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 are induced differently by metal nanoparticles in human monocytes: the role of oxidative stress and protein tyrosine kinase activation. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 2008; 233:276-285.  PMID: 18835569
  25. Mo Y, Zhu X, Hu X, Tollerud DJ, Zhang Q.  Cytokine and NO release from peripheral blood neutrophils after exposure to metal nanoparticles: in vitro and ex vivo studies. Nanotoxicology, 2008; 2(2):79-87.
  26. Zhang Q, Chatterjee S, Wei Z, Liu W, Fisher AB.  Rac and PI3 kinase mediate endothelial cell reactive oxygen species generation during normoxic lung ischemia.  Antioxid Redox Signalling, 2008; 10(4):679-690 (Journal cover). PMID: 18162054
  27. Zhang Q, Matsuzaki I, Chatterjee S, Fisher AB.  Activation of endothelial NADPH oxidase during normoxic lung ischemia is KATP channel dependent. American Journal Physiology Lung Cellular Molecular Physiology, 2005; 289:L954-L961. PMID: 16280460
  28. Matsuzaki I, Chatterjee S, Manevich Y, DeBolt K, Zhang Q, Fisher AB.  Membrane depolarization and NADPH oxidase activation in aortic endothelium during ischemia reflect altered mechanotransduction. American Journal Physiology Heart Circulatory Physiology, 2005; 288:H336-343. PMID: 15331375
  29. Zhao J, Chen H, Davison T, Kluz T, Zhang Q, Costa M.  Nickel-induced 1,4-alpha-glucan branching enzyme 1 upregulation via the hypoxic signaling pathway. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 2004; 196:404-409. PMID: 15094311
  30. Davidson T, Kluz T, Burns F, Rossman T, Zhang Q, Uddin A, Nadas A, Costa M.  Exposure to chromium (VI) in the drinking water increased susceptibility to UV-induced skin tumors in hairless mice. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 2004; 196:431-437. PMID: 15094314
  31. Mo YFeinstein SI, Manevich Y, Zhang Q, Lu L, Ho YS, Fisher AB.  Mouse 1-Cys peroxiredoxin highly related intronless gene is an expressed pseudogene. FEBS Letter, 2003; 555(2):192-198.  PMID: 14644414
  32. Zhang Q, Salnikow K, Kluz T, Chen L, Su W, Costa M. Inhibition and reversal of nickel-induced transformation by histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 2003; 192:201-211. PMID: 14575637
  33. Salnikow K, Davision T, Zhang Q, Chen L, Su W, Costa M.  The involvement of hypoxia-inducible transcription factor-1-dependent pathway in nickel carcinogenesis. Cancer Research, 2003; 63:3524-3530. PMID: 12839937
  34. Zhang Q, Kusaka Y, Zhu X, Sato K, Mo Y, Kluz T, Donaldson K.  Comparative toxicity of standard nickel and ultrafine nickel in lung after intratracheal instillation. Journal of Occupational Health, 2003, 45:20-32. PMID: 14605425
  35. Costa M, Salnikow K, Sutherland JE, Broday L, Peng W, Zhang Q, Kluz T.  The role of oxidative stress in nickel and chromate genotoxicity. Molecular Cellular Biochemistry, 2002, 234/235:265-275.  PMID: 12162442
  36. Cangul H, Broday L, Salnikow K, Sutherland J, Peng W, Zhang Q, Poltaratsky V, Zoroddu MA.  Molecular mechanism of nickel carcinogenesis. Toxicology Letter, 2002, 127:69-75. PMID: 12052643
  37. Zhang Q, Kluz T, Salnikow K, Costa M.  Comparison of the cytotoxicity, cellular uptake and DNA-protein crosslinks induced by potassium chromate in lymphoblast cell line derived from three different individuals. Biological Trace Element Research, 2002, 86:11-22. PMID: 12002656
  38. Sutherland JE, Peng W, Zhang Q, Costa M.  The histone acetylase inhibitor trichostatin A reduce nickel-induced gene silicening in yeast and mamalian cells. Mutation Research (Fundamental and Molecular mechanisms of Mutagenesis), 2001; 497:225-233. PMID: 11470494
  39. Huang C, Zhang Q, Li J, Ding M, Shi X, Castranova V, Ji G, Costa M, Dong  Z.  Involvement of Erks activation in cadmium-induced AP-1 transactivation in vivo and in vitroMolecular Cellular Biochemistry, 2001, 222:141-147. PMID: 11678596
  40. Zhang Q, Mo Y, Lou J, Zhu X, He L, Zhong H.  Determination the platelet activating factor in silicotic patients and its effect on the fibroblast cells. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, 2001, 5(4):134-137. PMID: 21432401
  41. Sato K, Kusaka Y, Zhang Q, Zhu X, Okada K.  Effect of platinum complex (PtCx) on citrate uptake by rat renal brush border membrane vesicles (BBMV): direct effects of cisplatin.  Industrial Health, 2000; 38(3); 327-329. PMID: 10943082
  42. Zhang Q, Kusaka Y, Donaldson K.  Comparative rat pulmonary responses caused by exposure to standard cobalt and ultrafine cobalt. Journal Occupational Health, 2000; 42:179-184.
  43. Zhang Q, Kusaka Y, Donaldson K.  Comparative injurious and pro-inflammatory effects of three ultrafine metals in macrophages from young and old rats. Inhalation Toxicology, 2000; 12 (Suppl 3):267-273. PMID: 26368625.
  44. Wang D, Kato N, Inaba Y, Tango T, Yoshida Y, Kusaka Y, Deguchi Y, Tomita F and Zhang Q.  Physical and personality traits of preschool children in Fuzhou, China: only child vs. sibling. Child: Care, Health and Development, 2000; 26(1): 49-60.  PMID: 10696518
  45. Zhu X, Sato K, Kusaka Y, Zhang Q.  The endocrine disruptive effects of mercury.  Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, 2000; 4: 174-183.  PMID: 21432482
  46. Zhang Q, Kusaka Y, Sato K, Wang D, Donaldson K.  Tumor necrosis factor-alpha release from rat pulmonary leukocytes exposed to ultrafine cobalt: in vivo and in vitro studies.  Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, 1999; 4:87-91. PMID: 21432178
  47. Zhang Q, Kusaka Y, Sato K, Mo Y, Fukuda M, Donaldson K.  Toxicity of ultrafine nickel particle in lung after intratracheal instillation. Journal of Occupational Health, 1998; 40: 171-176.
  48. Zhang Q, Kusaka Y, Sato K, Nakakuki K, Koyama N, Donaldson K.  Differences in the extent of inflammation caused by intratracheal exposure to three ultrafine metals: role of free radical. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, 1998; 53:423-438. PMID: 9537280
  49. Sato K, Kusaka Y, Zhang Q, Deguchi Y, Li B, Okada K, Nakakuki K, Muraoka R.  Direct effect of inorganic mercury on citrate uptake by isolated rat renal brush border membrane vesicles. Industrial Health, 1997; 35:456-460. PMID: 9348716
  50. Sato K, Kusaka Y, Zhang Q, Yanagihara M, Ueda K.  An epidemiological study on mercury sensitization. Allergy International, 1997; 46: 201-206.
  51. Sato K, Kusaka Y, Zhang Q, Deguchi Y, Li B, Okada K, Nakakuki K, Muraoka R.  Citrate uptake by isolated rat renal brush border membrane vesicles in cadmium-intoxicated rats. Industrial Health, 1997; 35: 388-393. PMID: 9104787
  52. Kusaka Y, Sato K, Zhang Q, Morita A, Kasahara T, Yanagihara Y.  Association of natural killer cell activity with serum Ig E. International Arch Allergy and Immunology, 1997; 112:331-335.  PMID: 9104787
  53. Zhang Q, Kusaka Y, Zhang QF, He L, Zhang Z, Sato K.  Dynamic changes of constituents in bronchoalveolar fluid in experimental silicotic rats. Industrial Health, 1996; 34:379-388. (Correspondence author)   PMID: 8908848
  54. Sato K, Kusaka Y, Zhang Q, Yanagihara M, Ueda K, Morihiro H and Ishii Y.  Investigation of the association between mercury sensitization and HLA-DR6. Contact Dermatitis (Environmental and Occupational Dermatitis), 1996; 34:295. PMID: 8730172


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