Department of Medicine
Faculty Profiles by Division

Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism

Faculty Profiles

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photo Bokai Zhu, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine


Phone: 412-383-0447

Office: 565 Bridgeside Point I
100 Technology Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: 412-383-0447
Fax: 412-383-9055
Administrative Assistant:
Chelsea Dempsey
Address: W1026 Biomedical Science Tower
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-648-9770
Fax: 412-648-3290
Education and Training
BS, Peking University, 2006
PhD, Pennsylvania State University, 2012
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Baylor College of Medicine, 2017
Research Interest
Dr Zhu's lab discovered a cell-autonomous mammalian 12h-clock that runs independently from the circadian clock to regulate 12h oscillations of gene expression and metabolism. Dr. Zhu's lab is currently investigating the regulation as well as the physiological/pathological functions of the 12h-clock, with an emphasis on its roles in maintaining hepatic metabolic homeostasis and preventing aging-associated diseases.
For my complete bibliography, Click Here.
Selected Publications:
Dasgupta S, Rajapakshe K, Zhu B, Nikolai BC, Yi P, Putluri N, Choi JM, Jung SY, Coarfa C, Westbrook TF, Zhang XH, Foulds CE, Tsai SY, Tsai MJ, O'Malley BW. Glycolytic enzyme PFKFB4 activates oncogenic coactivator SRC-3 to drive breast tumorigenesis and metastasis. Nature. 2018.
Zhu B, Zhang Q, Pan Y, Mace EM, York B, Antoulas AC, Dacso CC, O'Malley BW. A cell-autonomous mammalian 12 hr clock coordinates metabolic and stress rhythms. Cell Metabolism. 2017; 25(6): 1305-1319.e9.
Romere C, Duerrschmid C, Bournat J, Constable P, Jain M, Xia F, Saha PK, Del Solar M, Zhu B, York B, Sarkar P, Rendon DA, Gaber MW, LeMaire SA, Coselli JS, Milewicz DM, Sutton R, Butte NF, Moore DD, Chopra AR. Asprosin, a fasting-induced glucogenic protein hormone. Cell. 2016; 165(3): 566-79.
Zhu B, Gates LA, Stashi E, Dagupta S, Gonzalez N, Dean A, Dacso CC, York B, O'Malley BW. Co-activator-dependent oscillation of chromatin accessibility dictates circadian gene amplitude via REV-ERB loading. Molecular Cell. 2015; 60(5): 769-783.
Fleet T, Zheng B, Lin F, Zhu B, Dagupta S, Stashi E, Tackett B, Thevananther S, Rajapkshe K, Gonzalez N, Dean A, Mao J, Malonvannaya A, Qin J, Coarfa C, Demayo F, Dacso CC, Foulds CE, O'Malley BW, York B. SRC-2 orchestrates polygenic inputs for fine-tuning glucose homeostasis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2015; 112(44): E6068-77.
Stashi E, Lanz RB, Mao J, Michailidis G, Zhu B, Kettner N, Putluri N, Reineke EL, Reineke LC, Dasgupta S, Dean A, Stevenson CR, Sivasubramanian N, Sreekumar A, DeMayo F, York B, Loning F, O'Malley BW. SRC-2 is an essential co-activator for orchestrating metabolism and circadian rhythm. Cell Reports. 2014; 6(4): 633-45.
Zhu B, Ferry CH, Markell LM, Blazanin N, Glick AB, Gonzalez FJ, Peters JM. The nuclear receptor PPARß/d promotes oncogene-induced cellular senescence through repression of endoplasmic reticulum stress. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2014; 289(29): 20102-19.
Zhu B, Ferry CH, Blazanin N, Bility MT, Khozoie C, Kang BH, Glick AB, Gonzalez FJ, Peters JM. PPARß/d promotes HRAS-induced senescence and tumor suppression by potentiating p-ERK and repressing p-AKT signaling. Oncogene. 2013; 33(46): 5348-59.
Zhu B, Khozoie C, Bility MT, Ferry HC, Blazanin N, Glick A, Gonzalez FJ, Peters JM. PPARß/d crosstalks with E2F and attenuates mitosis in HRAS-expressing cells. Molecular and Cellular Biology. 2012; 32: 2065-82.
Notable Achievements
American Diabetes Association Junior Faculty Development Award, 2018-2022