Kevin Zhang.

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Volker G094L
(205) 996-6938

Research and Teaching Interests: Biomaterials, Tissue engineering

Office Hours: By appointment


  • M.D., M.S., Qingdao University, China
  • Ph.D., Guangdong Cardiovascular Institute & AHO Training Center, China
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Dr. Chunxiang “Kevin” Zhang is a Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering in the Department of Biomedical Engineering of School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He received M.D. and Ph.D. in China and finished his postdoctoral fellow training in Hong Kong, Australia, and United Sates. He obtained a faculty position at the University of Tennessee Department of Medicine and the vascular biology center in 2001. In 2006 Zhang was promoted to associate professor with tenure. From 2007 to 2011 he worked as a professor and as vice chairman for research at the Department of Anesthesiology of New Jersey Medical School. From 2011 to 2016 he worked as an endowed chair professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology at Rush University in Chicago. In July 2017 Zhang returned to UAB.

Recent Courses

  • BME 670: Quantitative Physiology

Research Interests

Dr. Zhang’s research programs are focused on non-coding RNAS (microRNAs, nuclear lncRNAs, mitochondrial lncRNAs and Circular RNAs) in atherosclerosis & restenosis, myocardial infarction, ischemic pre-conditioning, cardiac hypertrophy, cardiovascular aging, diabetic cardiovascular complications, stroke, addiction, cardiovascular inflammation including HIV, Kawasaki disease, and sepsis. In fact, he is the first investigator in the world to determine the roles of microRNAs in vascular disease. He also performs the study on stem cells, using non-coding RNA approach to improve stem cell function under diabetic and aging conditions. He is also trying to uncover the roles of Golgi phosphoprotein 3 (GOLPH3) in vascular biology and vascular diseases.

Dr. Zhang has published over 100 peer-reviewed research articles in high impact journals such as Science, JACC, J Exp Med, Cell Metab, Mol Cell., and Circ Res (total impact factor: 528; h-index: 43; citations:9106). His achievements are also well documented in his grant applications. Since 2001 he has obtained nearly $25 million in research grants from NIH, AHA, and ADA, in which he worked either as principal investigator, co-principal Investigator, or co-investigator.

Select Publications

  • Shan Z, Qin S, Li W, Wu W, Yang J, Chu M, Li X, Huo Y, Schaer GL, Wang S, Zhang C. An Endocrine Genetic Signal Between Blood Cells and Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells: Role of MicroRNA-223 in Smooth Muscle Function and Atherogenesis. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015 Jun 16;65(23):2526-37. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2015.03.570.
  • Cheng Y, Zhu P, Yang J, Liu X, Dong S, Wang X, Chun B, Zhuang J, Zhang C. Ischaemic preconditioning-regulated miR-21 protects heart against ischaemia/reperfusion injury via anti-apoptosis through its target PDCD4. Cardiovasc Res. 2010 Aug 1;87(3):431-9. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvq082.
  • Cheng Y, Tan N, Yang J, Liu X, Cao X, He P, Dong X, Qin S, Zhang C. A translational study of circulating cell-free microRNA-1 in acute myocardial infarction. Clin Sci (Lond). 2010 Apr 20;119(2):87-95. doi: 10.1042/CS20090645.
  • Cheng Y, Liu X, Yang J, Lin Y, Xu DZ, Lu Q, Deitch EA, Huo Y, Delphin ES, Zhang C. MicroRNA-145, a novel smooth muscle cell phenotypic marker and modulator, controls vascular neointimal lesion formation. Circ Res. 2009 Jul 17;105(2):158-66. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.109.197517.
  • Liu X, Cheng Y, Zhang S, Lin Y, Yang J, Zhang C. A necessary role of miR-221 and miR-222 in vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and neointimal hyperplasia. Circ Res. 2009 Feb 27;104(4):476-87. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.108.185363.
  • Lin Y, Liu X, Cheng Y, Yang J, Huo Y, Zhang C. Involvement of MicroRNAs in hydrogen peroxide-mediated gene regulation and cellular injury response in vascular smooth muscle cells. J Biol Chem. 2009 Mar 20;284(12):7903-13. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M806920200.
  • Dong S, Cheng Y, Yang J, Li J, Liu X, Wang X, Wang D, Krall TJ, Delphin ES, Zhang C. MicroRNA expression signature and the role of microRNA-21 in the early phase of acute myocardial infarction. J Biol Chem. 2009 Oct 23;284(43):29514-25. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.027896.
  • Ji R, Cheng Y, Yue J, Yang J, Liu X, Chen H, Dean DB, Zhang C. MicroRNA expression signature and antisense-mediated depletion reveal an essential role of MicroRNA in vascular neointimal lesion formation. Circ Res. 2007 Jun 8;100(11):1579-88. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.106.141986.
  • Cheng Y, Ji R, Yue J, Yang J, Liu X, Chen H, Dean DB, Zhang C. MicroRNAs are aberrantly expressed in hypertrophic heart: do they play a role in cardiac hypertrophy? Am J Pathol. 2007 Jun;170(6):1831-40. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2007.061170.

Academic Distinctions and Professional Societies

Academic Distinctions:
  • Chair, The Events/Conference Committee, International Society for Translational Medicine
  • President, North America Chinese Pharmacological Association
  • Councilor, American College of Cardiology Chicago Section
  • General Secretary, the Academy of Cardiovascular Research Excellence (ACRE)
  • Second Prize of Science and Technology Achievement, 1998
  • First Prize of Science and Technology Achievement, 1998
  • Junior Faculty Award, American Diabetes Association, 2005
  • Featured Faculty Award, UMDNJ, 2009
  • Excellence in Research and Service, University of Tennessee, 2007
  • 2010 Best Manuscript Award by Circulation Research, 2010
  • Chair, International meeting for Cardiovascular Research (2006-2017)
  • Fellow, American College of Cardiology (FACC)
  • Editor, Associate Editor or Editorial Board member for 18 Peer-reviewed Journals
Professional Societies:
  • American Heart Association
  • Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine
  • American Physiological Society
  • American Diabetes Association
  • American Stroke Association
  • American Society of Anesthesiology
  • International Society for Translational Medicine
  • North America Chinese Pharmacological Association