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Haidong Zhu, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of 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. 

Education & Training

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


Effects of dietary sodium reduction on inflammation and oxidative stress

16GRANT31250002 American Heart Association
July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2018
Role: Principal Investigator

 We aim to determine whether modest salt reduction reduces the level of inflammation and oxidative stress in individuals with untreated hypertension or prehypertension.
Role: Principal Investigator

Effects of Vitamin D and Omega-3 supplementation on telomeres in VITAL

1 R01HL131674-01 National Institute of Health (Dong & Zhu, Co-PI)
August 19, 2016 through July 31, 2020
Role: Co-Principal Investigator

The goal of this pilot 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.

Stress Related Mechanisms of Hypertension Risk 

P01 HL69999 Program Project Grant (Gregory Harshfield, PI)
July 1, 2002 through June 30, 2019
Role: Co-Investigator on Bioassay Core

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.

Vitamin D methylome and CVD risk profile

14GRNT20480211 American Heart Association (Dong, PI)
July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2017
Role: Co-Investigator

To identify the differential methylation sites in African American people with severe vitamin D deficiency and examine whether these methylation changes mediate the cardiometabolic risk.

Cardiometabolic risks in Hispanic farm-workers: a health-fair community outreach study in Trenton, South Carolina.

Community Partnership Study Award (Dong, PI)
July 1, 2013 through June 31, 2018
Role: Co-Investigator
Institute of Preventative and Public Health, Augusta University

Epigenetic Basis of Obesity Induced Cardiovascular Disease and Type 2 Diabetes

1R01HL105689-01 National Institute of Health (Wang, PI)
April 4, 2011 through March 31, 2016
Role: Co-Investigator

We aim to identify the differential methylation profiles between obese cases and lean controls and further evaluate whether these methylation changes are involved in the pathogenesis of obesity related co-morbidities.

A genome wide methylation study on essential hypertension in Caucasians

1R01HL104125-01 National Institute of Health (Wang, PI)
August 1, 2011 through July 31, 2016
Role: Co-Investigator

In this project, we hypothesize that changes in DNA methylation of leukocytes are involved in the pathogenesis of EH and aim to identify these differentially methylation sites using a multi-step genome wide approach.

Honors & Awards

“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)

Select Publications

Pub Med

Petty KH, Li K , Dong Y, Fortenberry J, Sallmann-Jorgensen I, Guo D, and Zhu H. Sex dimorphisms in inflammatory markers and adiposity in African American youth. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity 2010 Aug;5(4):327-33.

Dong Y. Pollock N, Stallmann-Jotgensen I, Gutin B, Lan L, Chen T,  Keeton D,  Petty KH, Holick M, and Zhu H.  Low 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels in Adolescents: Race, Season, Adiposity, Physical Activity, and Fitness. Pediatrics 2010 Jun;125(6):1104-11.

 Liu G*, Zhu H*, Lagou V, Gutin B, Barbeau P, Treiber FA, Dong Y, Snieder H. Commonvariants near MC4R are associated with general and visceral adiposity in European- and African American youth. Journal of Pediatrics, 2010 Apr;156(4):598-605.e1. (Co-first authors)

Liu G, Zhu H, Lagou V, Gutin B, Stallmann-Jotgensen I, Treiber FA, Dong Y, Snieder H. FTOvariant rs9939609 is associated with adiposity but not with energy intake or expenditure in European- and African- American youth. BMC Medical Genetics, 2010,  Apr 9;11(1):57.

Li K, Guo D, Zhu H, Hering-Smith KS, Chao J, Dong Y. Interleukin-6 stimulates epithelial sodium channels via proteolysis in the mouse cortical collecting duct cells. American Journal of Physiology- Regulatory Integrative Comparative Physiology. 2010 Aug;299(2):R590-5.

Pollock NK, Bernard PJ, Wenger K, Misra S, Gower BA, Allison JD, Zhu H, Davis CL. Lowerbone mass in prepubertal overweight children with pre-diabetes. J Bone Miner Res. 2010 Dec; 25(12):2760-2769.

Dong Y, Stallmann-Jorgensen I, Pollock N, Harris RA, Keeton DK, Huang Y, Li K, Bassali R, Guo D, Thomas J, Pierce GL, Pederson-White J, Holick M, Zhu H. A 16-week randomized clinical trial of 2,000 IU daily vitamin D3 supplementation in black adolescents: 25-hydroxyvitamin D, body mass index, and arterial stiffness. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2010 Oct;95(10):4584-91.

Zhu H, Wang X, Gutin B, Davis CL, Keeton D, Thomas J, Stallmann-Jorgensen I, Mooken G, Bundy V, Snieder H, Harst P van der, Dong Y. Leukocyte telomere length in healthy white and black adolescents: relations to race, sex, adiposity, adipokines and physical activity. Journal of Pediatrics, 2011 Feb;158(2):215-20.

 Wang X, Zhu H, Snieder H, Su S, Munn D, Harshfield G, Maria BL, Dong Y, Treiber F, Gutin B, Shi H. Obesity related methylation changes in DNA of peripheral blood leukocytes. BMC Medicine, 2010 Dec 21;8:87.

 Zhu H, Belcher M, van der Harst P. Healthy aging and disease: role for telomere biology? (invited review) Clinical Science (London). 2011 Jan 28;120(10):427-440. PMID: 21271986

 Lagou V, Liu G, Zhu H, Stallmann-Jotgensen I, Gutin B, Dong Y and Snieder H. Lifestyle and socioeconomic-status modify the association of ADRB2 and NOS3 with general and central adiposity in European-American and African-American Youth.  Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Mar;19(3):595-603.

 Pollock NK, Bernard PJ, Gutin B, Davis CL, Zhu H and Dong Y. Adolescent obesity, bone mass, and cardiometabolic risk factors. J Pediatr (2011) 158:727-734.

 Harris RA, Pedersen-White J, Guo D, Stallmann-Jorgensen, Keeton DK, Huang, Y, Shah Y, Zhu H and Dong Y. Vitamin D3 supplementation for 16 weeks improves flow-mediated dilation in overweight African-American adults. American Journal of Hypertension 2011, 24:557-562.

 Bundy V, Johnson M, Gutin B, Zhu H, Stallmann-Jorgensen I, and Dong Y. Adiponectin moderates the relationship between adiposity and leptin in adolescents regardless of gender or race.  Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2011;24(3-4):119-24.

 Liu G, Zhu H, Dong Y, Podolsky R. Treiber FA, , Snieder H. Influence of Common variants in FTO and near INSIG2 and MC4R on growth curves for adiposity in African- and European-American youth. Eur J Epidemiol. 2011 Jun;26(6):463-73.

Fox ER, Young JH, Li Y, Dreisbach AW, Keating BJ, Musani SK, …… Dong Y, Snieder H, Wang X, Zhu H, …… Jrvelin MR, Psaty BM, Abecasis GR, Elliott P, van Duijn CM, Newton-Cheh C. Association of genetic variation with systolic and diastolic blood pressure among African Americans: the Candidate Gene Association Resource study. Hum Mol Genet. 2011 Jun 1;20(11):2273-84.

Fox ER, Young JH, Li Y, Dreisbach AW, Keating BJ, Musani SK, …… Dong Y, Snieder H, Wang X, Zhu H, …… Jrvelin MR, Psaty BM, Abecasis GR, Elliott P, van Duijn CM, Newton-Cheh C. Genetic variants in novel pathways influence blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risk. Nature. 2011 Sep 11;478(7367):103-109.

Zhu H, Guo D, Li K, Pederson-White J, Stallmann-Jorgensen I, Huang Y, Parikh S, Liu K, Dong Y. Increased telomerase activity and vitamin D supplementation in overweight African Americans. International Journal of Obesity. 2012, 36(6):805-9.

 Gregoski M, Barnes V, Tingen M, Dong Y, Zhu H, and Treiber FA. Differential Impact of Stress Reduction Programs Upon Ambulatory Blood Pressure Among African American Adolescents: Influences of Endothelin-1 Gene and Chronic Stress Exposure. International Journal of Hypertension 2012; 2012:510291.

 Gutin B, Harris RA, Howe CA, Johnson MH, Zhu H, and Dong Y. Cardiometabolic biomarkers in young black girls: relations to body fatness and aerobic fitness, and effects of a randomized physical activity trial. International Journal of Pediatrics. 2011; 2011:219268.

 Pollock NK,* Bundy V,* Kanto W, Davis CL, Bernard PJ, Zhu H, Gutin B, Dong Y. (2011) Greater fructose consumption is associated with cardiometabolic risk and visceral adiposity in adolescents. Journal of Nutrition. 2012 142: 251-257. (*Co-First Authorship)

Parikh S, Guo D, Pollock NK, Petty K, Potter L, Bhagatwala J, Gutin B, Houk C, Zhu H, and Dong Y.   Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations are correlated with cardiometabolic risk among American black and white adolescents living in a year-round sunny climate. Diabetes Care. 2012 35:1133-1138.

 Parikh S, Pollock NK, Gutin B, Zhu H, and Dong Y. Adolescent fiber consumption is associated with visceral fat and inflammatory markers. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2012 Aug;97(8):E1451-7.

 Zhu H, Wang X, Shi H, Su S, Harshfield GA, Gutin B, Snieder H, Dong Y. A genome-wide methylation study of vitamin D deficiency in African American Adolescents. Journal of Pediatrics. 2013;162(5):1004-1009.e1.

Zhu H, Chao J, Kotak I, Guo D, Parikh SJ, Bhagatwala J, Dong YT, Patel SY, Houk C, Chao L, Dong Y. Plasma Kallistatin is associated with adiposity and cardiometabolic risk in apparently healthy African American adolescents. Metabolism. 2013 May;62(5):642-6.

Wang X, Falkner B, Zhu H, Shi H, Su S, Xu X, Sharma AK, Dong Y, Treiber FA, Gutin B, Harshfield GA, Snieder H. A genome-wide methylation study on essential hypertension in young African American males. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e53938.

Pierce GL, Zhu H, Darracott K, Edet I, Bhagatwala J, Huang Y, Dong Y. Arterial stiffness and pulse-pressure amplification in overweight/obese African-American adolescents: relation with higher systolic and pulse pressure. Am J Hypertens. 2013 Jan;26(1):20-6.

Gregoski M, Buxbaum SG, Kapuku G, Dong Y, Zhu H, Davis M, Gonto K, Treiber FA. Interactive influences of ethnicity, endothelin-1 gene, and everyday discrimination upon nocturnal ambulatory blood pressure. Ann. Behav.Med. 2013  Jun;45(3):377-86.

Codd V, Nelson CP, Albrecht E, Mangino M, Deelen J, Buxton JL, iff M, …… Dong Y, ……Zhu H, …… Jarvelin MR, Slagboom PE, Thompson JR, Spector TD, van der Harst P, Samani NJ. Identification of seven loci affecting mean telomere length and their association with disease. Nature Genetics 2013 Mar 27;45(4):422-427.

NeSmith E, Medeiros R, Ferdinand C, Hawkins M, Holsten S, Dong YB, Zhu H. (the Trauma Interdisciplinary Group for Research). “It takes a village” to raise research productivity:  Impact of a Trauma Interdisciplinary Group for Research (TIGR) at an urban, Level 1 trauma center. Journal of Traum Acute Care Surg., 2013, Jul 1;75(1).

Guo DH, Parikh S, Chao J, Pollock N, Wang X, Snieder H, Navis G, Wilson J, Bhagatwala J, Zhu H, and Dong YB. Urinary prostasin excretion is associated with adiposity in non-hypertensive African American adolescents. Pediatric Research, 2013,74(2):206-210.

Xu X, Su S, Barnes VA, De Miguel C, Pollock J, Ownby D, Shi H, Zhu H, Snieder H, Wang X. A genome wide methylation study on obesity: differential variability and differential methylation. Epigenetics. 2013; 8(5):522-533.

 Lucas R, Parikh SJ, Sridhar S, Guo D, Bhagatwala J, Dong YT, Caldwell R, Mellor A, Caldwell W, Zhu H, Dong Y. Cytokine profiling of young overweight and obese female African American adults with prediabetes. Cytokine, 2013, Oct;64(1):310-5.

Bhagatwala J, Harris RA, Parikh S, Zhu H, Huang Y, Kotak I, Seigler N, Pierce GL, Egan BM, and Dong Y. The 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)

 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.

Zhu H, Bhagatwala J, Polloc NK, Gutin B, Thomas J, Parikh S, Harshfield GA, Dong Y. High sodium intake is associated with short telomere length in overweight and obese adolescents. International Journal of Obesity. 2015 Aug;39(8):1249-53.

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.

 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.

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



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