Xiao Zhu

Undergraduate Degree: BA
Undergraduate Degree Year: 2012
Undergraduate Institution: Duke University
Undergraduate Major: Chemistry

Academic Status
Year in Program: MS4
Graduate Program: Medicine-Renal-Electrolyte
Research Advisor First Name: Edwin K.
Research Advisor Last Name: Jackson
Research Title/Research Topic: Identifying Molecular Mechanisms within Preglomerular Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells that Contribute to Enhanced Renal Vascular Resistance in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats
Current Research Description: Development of essential hypertension is intimately related to impaired renal hemodynamics, yet molecular mechanisms governing this phenomenon are poorly understood. We hypothesize that enhanced contraction by preglomerular vascular smooth muscle cells may be responsible for elevating renal vascular resistance in spontaneously hypertensive rats, due to greater membrane localization of contractile signal transducers.

Undergraduate Honors:

Student Committee Participation
Student Committee Involvement:

Grant Support
Grant Support Information: HHMI 2015-2016


1. Cheng, D., Zhu, X., Barchiesi, F., Gillespie, D. G., Dubey, R. K., & Jackson, E. K. (2011). Receptor for activated protein kinase C1 regulates cell proliferation by modulating calcium signaling. Hypertension. 58(4): 689-95. PMID: 21844488

2. Cheng, D., Zhu, X., Gillespie, D. G., & Jackson, E. K. (2013). Role of RACK1 in the differential proliferative effects of neuropeptide Y(1-36) and peptide YY(1-36) in SHR vs. WKY preglomerular vascular smooth muscle cells. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 304(6):F770-80. PMID: 23303411

3. Weiss, D. R., Ahn, S., Sassano, M. F., Kleist, A., Zhu, X., Strachan, R., Roth, B. L., Lefkowitz, R. J., & Shoichet, B. K. (2013). Conformation guides molecular efficacy in docking screens of activated β-2 adrenergic G protein coupled receptor. ACS Chem Biol. 8(5):1018-26. PMID: 23485065

4. Aristotlous, T., Ahn, S., Shukla, A. K., Gawron, S., Sasanno, M. F., Kahsai, A. W., Wingler, L. M., Zhu, X., Shukla, P. T., Huang, X., Riley, J., Besnard, J., Read, K. D., Roth, B. L., Gilber, I. H., Hopkins, A. L., Lefowkitz, R. J., & Navratilova, I. (2013) Discovery of β2 Adrenergic Receptor Ligands Using Biosensor Fragment Screening of Tagged Wild-Type Receptor. ACS Med. Chem. Lett. 4(10):1005-1010.

5. Strachan, R. T., Sun, J. P., Rominger D. H., Violin, J. D., Thomsen, A. R., Zhu, X., Kleist, A., Costa, T., Lefkowitz, R. J. (2014). Divergent transducer-specific molecular efficacies generate biased agonism at a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR). J Biol Chem. 289: 14211-14224.


1. Zhu, X., Cheng, D., Gillespie, D. G., & Jackson, E. K. (2010). RACK1 regulates proliferation of preglomerular vascular smooth muscle cells through interaction with IP3 receptors. University of Pittsburgh 2010 SURP Colloquium, July 30, 2010. Pittsburgh, PA.

2. Zhu, X., Cheng, D., Gillespie, D. G., & Jackson, E. K. (2011). The receptor for activated protein kinase C1 regulates calcium homeostasis and proliferation in preglomerular vascular smooth muscle cells. University of Pittsburgh 2011 SURP Colloquium, July 29, 2011. Pittsburgh, PA.


1. Zhu, X., Staus, D. P., & Lefkowitz, R. J. (2012). Identification of a G protein-biased beta-2 adrenergic receptor. Duke University Chemistry Majors Independent-Study Poster Session, April 20, 2012. Durham, NC.

2. Zhu X., Clayton D., Prakasam, H. S., Ruiz, G. W., Gallo, L., & Apodaca, G. (2013) Rab27b-positive DFVs may be distinct from Rab11a/Rab8a-positive DFVs in Bladder Umbrella Cells. University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine PSTP Symposium, August 23, 2013.

3. Zhu, X., Verrier J. D., & Jackson, E. K. (2014) RACK1 may differentially regulate ERK activity in normotensive vs. hypertensive pre-glomerular VSMCs. University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine PSTP Symposium, September 19, 2014.