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Haidong Zhu, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics 

Contact Information


Dr. Zhu is a molecular geneticist whose research focuses on identifying the contributions of genetic and epigenetic factors to the etiology of essential hypertension. 

St. George's Hospital Medical School, Univ of London, UK 2002

Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing 1997
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Jinzhou Medical College, China 1989

China Medical University, Shenyang, China 1986

AHA Grant-in-Aid                                  Zhu (PI)                      $154,000      07/01/16 – 06/30/19
Effects of dietary sodium reduction on inflammation and oxidative stress
We aim to determine whether modest salt reduction reduces the level of inflammation and oxidative stress in individuals with untreated hypertension or prehypertension.
Effort: 15% FTE (No cost extension)
1 R01HL131674-01                NIH/NHLBI    Dong & Zhu (MPIs)  $2,435,800            08/19/16 - 04/30/20
Effects of Vitamin D and Omega-3 supplementation on telomeres in VITAL                     
The goal of this ancillary study is to examine the beneficial effects of vitamin D and omega-3 supplementation on aging in a large randomized, placebo controlled clinical trial of VITAL.
Effort: 30% FTE

P01 HL69999 Program Project Grant            Gregory Harshfield (PI)          $10,077,859            07/01/02-04/01/19 Stress Related Mechanisms of Hypertension Risk
The major objectives of this program are to 1) define mechanisms that promote hypertension induced by stress and impaired sodium regulation, 2) determine the regulation of these mechanisms in high-risk populations, 3) translate findings between animal and human studies, and 4) translate our research into patient populations.
Role: Co-Investigator, 23% FTE


1RO1HL136630-01A1           NIH/NHLBI    Dong   (PI)                  $2,320,842            02/01/18-01/31/21
Early Life Stress, Damage Associated Molecular Patterns, and Cardiovascular Risk.
The goal of this study is to test the hypothesis that early life stress increases dangerous molecules DAMPs, which contributes to the development of hypertension and target organ damage.
Role: Co-Investigator, 20% FET

Community Partnership Study Award          Dong (PI)                           $50,000         7/01/13-06/31/18
IPPH (Institute of Preventative and Public Health, Augusta University)
Cardiometabolic risks in Hispanic farm-workers: a health-fair model study in the Southeastern region.
We aim to characterize the longitudinal progression of cardiometabolic risks in young Hispanic migrant farm-workers by means of the annual Costa-Layman Health Fairs through community health partnership.
Role: Co-Investigator


1R21HD097763-01 R21                                                                                              02/01/19 -01/31/21
(Friedmann/Krause-Parello, MPI, University of Maryland and University of Colorado)  
Evaluating efficacy of service dog training by military veterans with PTSD
Consultant on telomere outcome

“Excellent Lecturer”, Jinzhou Medical College, China

“Best PhD Student”, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China

Senior Research Fellowship awarded by the Hypertension Trust, UK

April 2006
“Article of the week” by the International Pediatric Hypertension Association (IPHA)

November 2007
"Emerging Scientist Award” by the Medical College of Georgia Research Institute (MCGRI)

Pub Med

Bhagatwala J, Harris RA, Parikh S, Zhu H, Huang Y, Kotak I, Seigler N, Pierce GL, Egan BM, and Dong Y. Epithelial sodium channel inhibition by amiloride on blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risk in young prehypertensives. Journal of Clinical Hypertension, 2014 Jan;16(1):47-53.

 Zhu H*, Pollock NK, Kotak I, Gutin B, Wang X, Bhagatwala J, Parikh SJ, Harshfield GA, Dong Y. Dietary sodium, adiposity, and inflammation in healthy adolescents. Pediatrics. 2014; 133:e635-642. (Press release) PMCID: PMC3934330 (Impact Factor: 5.515) (78 citations). Featured article by press release and attracted world-wide media attention generating over 340 headlines.

Su S,Zhu H, Xu X, Wang X, Dong Y, Kapuku G, Treiber F, Gutin B, Harshfield G, Snieder H, Wang X. DNA methylation of the LY86 gene is associated with obesity, insulin resistance and inflammation. Twin Res Hum Genet. 2014 June; 17(3):183-191. PMCID: PMC4090018 (Impact Factor: 1.669)

Zhu H*, Bhagatwala J, Polloc NK, Gutin B, Thomas J, Parikh S, Harshfield GA, Dong Y. High sodium intake is associated with short leukocyte telomere length in overweight and obese adolescents. International Journal of Obesity. 2015 Aug;39(8):1249-53. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2015.51. Epub 2015 Apr 14. PMID:25869605. PMID: 25869605 (Impact Factor: 5.151) (11 citations) AHA news release: This News Release resulted in 55 stories and 86,823,838 media impressions (readership and viewship figures).

Zhu H*, He FJ and Dong Y. Dietary sodium, adiposity and inflammation in children and adolescents. (invited review) Functional Food Reviews. 2015; 7(1): 31-40.

Stewart DL, Harshfield GA, Zhu H, Hanevold CD. Stress and salt sensitivity in primary hypertension. (Invited review) Current Hypertension Reports. 2015 Feb;17(2):2. doi: 10.1007/s11906-014-0513-1. PMID: 25620631 (Impact Factor: 3.234)

Bhagatwala J, Zhu H, Parikh S, Guo D, Kotak I, Huang Y, Havens R, Pham M, Afari E, Kim S, Pollock NK, Dong Y. Dose and time responses of vitamin D biomarkers to monthly vitamin D3 supplementation in overweight/obese African Americans with suboptimal vitamin D status: a placebo controlled randomized clinical trial. BMC Obesity. 2015 Jul 4; 2:27. PMID: 26217542. PMCID: PMC4511449

Zhu H*, Bhagatwala J, Huang Y, Pollock NK, Parikh S, Raed A, Gutin B, Harshfield GA, Dong Y. Race/ethnicity-specific association of vitamin D and global DNA methylation: cross-sectional and interventional findings. PLOS ONE. 2016, April 6, 11(4): e0152849. PMCID: PMC4822838 (Impact Factor: 2.766)

 Cromer P, Raed A, Biber R, Layman D, Bhagatwala J, Zhu H, Maz A. Inter-Professional Community Training and Partnerships - A View from USA Academic Nursing Students. Global Journal of Medical Research. 2016.

Steward DL, Dong Y, Zhu H, Harshfield GA. Angiotensin II-mediated increases in Damage Associated Molecular Patterns during acute mental stress: A letter to the editor regarding Cohen et al. Psychosomatic Medicine (PSY16-80), 2017, January 79(1):112-114. PMCID: PMC5182116 (Impact Factor: 3.810)

Dong YT, Huang Y, Gutin B, Raed A, Dong Y, Zhu H*. The associations between global DNA methylation and telomere length in healthy adolescents. Scientific Reports, 2017, Jun 23; 7:4210 DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-04493-z PMCID: PMC5482897 (Impact Factor: 4.122).  PMID: 28646162; PMCID: PMC5482897

Raed A, Bhagatwala J, Cromer P, Zhu H, Pollock NK, Mazzoli A, Huang Y, Acharya N, Basu R, Patel K, Patterson G, Ramayya T, Alias S, Kotak I, Dong YT, Huang Y, Parikh SJ, Li W, Layman D, Houk C, Dong Y. Obesity and related cardiometabolic risk in young US Hispanic farm workers: A neglected public health problem. Jacobs Journal of Community Medicine, 2017, 3(1):030.

Raed A, Bhagatwala J, Zhu H, Pollock NK, Parikh SJ, Huang Y, Kotak I, Guo D, Havens R, Harris RA, Dong Y. Effect of vitamin D3 supplementation on arterial stiffness in overweight African Americans with vitamin D deficiency. PLOS One. 2017, Dec 7; 12:e0188424. (Impact Factor: 2.766)

Wang X, Pan Y, Zhu H, Hao G, Wang X, Huang Y, Barnes V, Shi H, Snieder H, Pankow J, North K, Grove M, Guan W, Demerath E, Dong Y, Su S. An epigenome-wide study of obesity in African American youth and young adults: novel findings, replication in neutrophils and relationship with gene expression. Clinical Epigenetics 2018, 10:3. (Impact Factor: 6.091)

Raed A, Pollock N, Bhagatwala J, Cromer P, Mazzoli A, Zhu H, Francisco T, Bilz J, Azevedo R, Clarke J, Lee S, Murugappan A, Pasham V, Stewart D, Dong YT, Huang Y, Parikh SJ, Layman D, and Dong Y. Alanine Aminotransferase levels are Associated with Cardiometabolic Risk Markers in Hispanic/Latino Farmworkers. Environment and Health Science, 2018, 4 (1), 20-25.

Chen L, Dong Y, Wang X, Hao G, Huang Y, Gutin B and Zhu H*. Epigenome-wide association study of dietary fiber intake in African American youth. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 2018 12:e1800155. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201800155. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:2944791, PMCID:PMC6344930

Chen L, He FJ, Dong Y, Huang Y, Harshfield GA, MacGregor GA, and Zhu H*. Sodium reduction, miRNA profiling and CVD risk in untreated hypertensives: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Scientific Reports, 2018; 8:12729. (Impact Factor: 4.122) PMC6109065, PMID:30143705

Chen L, Dong Y, Bhagatwala J, Raed A, Huang Y and Zhu H*. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on epigenetic aging: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Gerontology: Series A, 2019; 74:91-98. Medical Sciences, 2018, September 25. (Impact Factor: 4.902)

Dong YT, Chen L, Gutin B, Dong Y, Zhu H*. Total, insoluble and soluble dietary fiber intake and insulin resistance and blood pressure. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2018. (Impact Factor: 3.123)

Chen L, He FJ, Dong Y, Huang Y, Harshfield GA, Zhu H*. Sodium reduction, metabolomic profiling and CVD risk in untreated black hypertensives: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Hypertension. 2019 May 13:HYPERTENSIONAHA11912880. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.119.12880. [Epub ahead of print] (Impact factor: 6.823)

 Meghil MM, Hutchens L, Raed A, Multani NA, Rajendran M, Zhu H, Looney S, Elashiry M, Arce RM, Peacock ME, Dong Y, Cutler CW. The influence of vitamin D supplementation on local and systemic inflammation markers in periodontitis patients: a pilot study. Oral Disease. 2019 Mar 26. doi: 10.1111/odi.13097. [Epub ahead of print] (Impact factor: 2.31) 



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