Photo of Beiyan  Zhou, Ph.D.

Beiyan Zhou, Ph.D.

Professor of Immunology
Academic Office Location:
UConn Health
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030-1319
Phone: 860-679-7030

Department of Immunology

Zhou Lab

Immuno-Cardio Group

Dr. Beiyan Zhou is a professor of immunology whose interests are in obesity-induced health risks, including and cardiovascular diseases. She holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry/molecular biology from Northwestern University, Master of Science in molecular biology from Peking University, and a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Wuhan University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cell and molecular biology at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



M.Sc.College of Life Sciences, Peking UniversityProtein Chemistry and Genetic Engineering
Ph.D.Northwestern UniversityBiological Sciences

Post-Graduate Training
PostdoctoralMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyPostdoctoral Fellow, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Name of Award/HonorAwarding Organization
Women of Innovation 2020 (Research Innovation and Leadership category)Connecticut Technology Council and Connecticut Center for Advanced Technolo
Junior Faculty AwardAmerican Diabetes Association
Outstanding Scientific Achievement AwardCollege of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University
Genzyme Fellowship for Postdoctoral ResearchGenzyme
Travel award, NIH/NIDDK Workshop on microRNA in cellular development and hematopoiesis, Annapolis, Md.NIH/NIDDK
Travel AwardAmerican Endocrine Society
Research Travel Award, the Graduate School and the Office of the Vice President GrantNorthwestern University
Research Travel Award, the Graduate School and Office of the Vice President GrantNorthwestern University

For additional information and human factors---please check out lab website (Zhou Lab). 

While compelling evidences have indicated the crucial roles played by epigenetic regulators in both normal developmental control and pathogenesis of diseases, our understanding of the full picture is still in its infancy. The long-term goal of my research is to understand the systemic regulatory networks governed by epigenetic factors in controlling immune cell formation and their functions in various tissue niches. My current research efforts are devoted to unveil the roles of epigenetic regulators, including non-coding RNAs, in modulating immune cell function and their cross-talks with other cells in various metabolic tissue niches in responding to obesity stress.

1)    Regulation of microRNAs in inflammation and metabolism regulation

microRNAs are a class of highly conserved small non-coding RNAs that directly exert inhibitory effects on genes through pairing at the 3’UTR region on their targets.  Recently, Zhou’s lab proposes a new microRNA-based paradigm for the interactions between leukocytes and metabolism cells, including adipocytes and hepatocytes. In this new paradigm, macrophage activation regulator miR-223, along with several other microRNAs, modulate the inflammatory response of macrophages (Circulation, 2012, 125 (23)).  Furthermore, Zhou’s lab first reported that miR-150, a lymphocyte specific regulator (PNAS, 2007), can also regulate obesity-induced chronic inflammation through regulating adipose tissue B cells (ATBs) actions. However, the mechanism of how microRNAs regulate B cells, specifically their response to chronic nutrient excess, is not well defined. We are investigating the role of miR-150 in regulating ATBs response to obesity by characterize the impact of this microRNAs on ATBs and their interaction with other cell types in the adipose tissue niche.  

2)    Roles of microRNAs in the modulation of immune responses in Cardiovascular Diseases

Innate immune response is mainly mediated by macrophage, neutrophil, and dendritic cells. Upon antigen recognition, these myeloid cells are able to recruit and interact with lymphocytes such as B and T cells to develop adaptive immunity. Compared to the effects of tissue resident/infiltrated immune cells, the role of monocytes and their subsequent response after recruited into the tissue niche are poorly defined. Zhou’s lab has identified a group of microRNAs that are actively regulated during this process. With the collaborations with various laboratories, this lab will be able to investigate the impact of systemic physiological conditions in obesity on monocytes that eventually alters their actions at the recruited loci. This lab has already developed novel microRNA overexpression and knock-out mouse models to determine the role of monocytes during atherosclerosis, as well as novel bioinformatic tools to investigate their functions and CVD risks.


Accepting Lab Rotation Students: Summer 2022, Fall 2022, and Spring 2023

We are accepting highly motivated rotation students in the area of immunology/cardiovascular/metabolism/obesity.  Our research projects incorporate epigenetic and genomic approaches to understand the crosswalks between the immune compartment and host tissue cells under chronic stress conditions, such as obesity. 

Journal Articles

Book Chapters



Title or AbstractTypeSponsor/EventDate/YearLocation
AtheroSpectrum identified novel foaming programs and monocyte predictor genes for residual cardiovascular riskTalkAmerican Heart Association/Scientific Sessions 20202020Virtual Conference
2020 Multifaceted Macrophage in human diseases, Department of Integrative Biology & PharmacologyLectureUniversity of Texas Health Science Center2020Virtual Conference
Low disturbed flow induces dynamic immune compartment in atherogenesis revealed by scRNA-seqPosterAmerican Heart Association/Scientific Sessions 20202020Virtual Conference
Cytosolic LPS sensing triggers the release of a lectin DAMP that promotes inflammationPosterAmerican Association of Immunologists/Immunology20202020Virtual Conference
Macspectrum Yields Unprecedented Resolution of Full-Spectrum Macrophage Activation States in AtherosclerosisPosterFrom Genes to Medicine 2019 Scientific Sessions /AHA2019Boston, MA
Induction of TLR2 tolerance Suppresses Foam Cell Formation. Lili Qu, Chuan Li, Danielle Peters, Nicholas Wasko, Anthony T. Vella, Annabelle Rodriguez-Oquendo, Patrick Murphy, Robert B. Clark, Beiyan ZhouPosterVascular Discovery: From Genes to Medicine 2019 Scientific Sessions/AHA2019Boston, MA
Single Cell transcriptome analysis identifies unique features in Circulating CD8 T cells that can predict immunotherapy response in melanoma patientsPosterSociety for Immunotherapy of Cancer /STIC 20192019National Harbor, Maryland, US
MacSpectrum reveals macrophage dynamics in diseasesTalkSchool of Pharmacy, University of Texas Health Center at San Antonino,2019San Antonino, Texas, USA
Macspectrum Yields Unprecedented Resolution of Full-Spectrum Macrophage Activation States in AtherosclerosisPosterAmerican Heart Association Scientific Sessions 20192019Philadelphia, PA, USA
Non-coding RNA regulated macrophage function in obesity. Exercise Physiological SeminarTalkDepartment of Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University2015Texas A&M University
microRNA and adipose tissue inflammation. EB 2015 APS President’s Symposium Series, Boston, MA, March 2015TalkExperimental Biology 2015 / American Physiological Society2015Boston, MA
Immune cell function in obese adipose tissuesTalkGateway to Nitrigenomics (NGN) Retreat2015Lincoln, Nebraska
Non-coding RNA regulated immune cell function in obesityTalkNutrition Obesity Research Mini-Symposium, Texas A&M University2014Texas A&M University
Uteroferrin enhances fetal erythropoiesis at terminal stagesTalkSSR - Society for the Study of Reproduction2014Michigan, USA
Macrophage polarization and insulin resistanceTalk19th Annual Dr. Raymond O Berry Mem. Lecture and 7th Annual IFRB Retreat2013
Macrophage management of microRNAs in hematopoiesis and diseases, Immunology Consortium, Texas A&M University, May 2013TalkImmunology Consortium, Texas A&M University2013Texas A&M University
A novel paradigm of microRNA regulated B cell functions on insulin resistance: miR-150 regulates insulin sensitivity through controlling antibody productionTalkAmerican Diabetes Association Conference2013Chicago, IL
MicroRNA Regulated Lymphocyte Function in Insulin ResistanceTalkThe 5th Scientific Meeting of Chinese American Diabetes Association (CADA)2013Chicago, IL
Macromanagement of microRNAs in macrophagesTalkThe Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI)2013