Hu Zhu joined NCATS in 2015 as a research biologist within the Division of Preclinical Innovation. He has been developing and optimizing both biochemical and cell-based assays for automated, small-molecule, high-throughput screening, working with extramural and NIH intramural collaborators. His research portfolio covers a diverse range of human diseases, including oncologic, metabolic and neurological diseases. Prior to joining NCATS, Zhu received his postdoctoral training under Bryan L. Roth, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). At UNC, Zhu studied multiple G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), including the muscarinic M3/M4 receptor, serotonin 5-HT2C receptor, κ-opioid receptor and orphan GPR68 receptor. He also used genetically modified muscarinic receptors to dissect the neuronal circuitry in mouse hippocampus and raphe nuclei.
Zhu completed five years of medical training and received his bachelor’s degree from Nanjing Medical University in China. Zhu received his doctorate in physiology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he worked with Hsiao Chang Chan, Ph.D., on the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator. He has published more than 30 articles in peer-reviewed journals.
Zhu’s research focuses on developing new assays and identifying probes for orphan or understudied GPCRs using ultra-high-throughput screening, developing anti-GPCR functional antibody/nanobody platforms and identifying functional antibodies/nanobodies for pain/addiction-related GPCR targets, and identifying small-molecule modulators for cancer immunotherapy.