Xiuying Zhang, PhD

Nominated From: University of Michigan

Research Site: China

Research Area: Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases, Diabetes

Primary Mentor: Liong Ji


Research Project

Pinggu Metabolic Disease Study

The primary aim of the Pinggu metabolic disease study is to determine the environmental and genetic contributions to the development of obesity and its related metabolic complications. To carry out this aim we will carry out a cross-sectional, randomly selected population-based survey of the participants from Pinggu China. 5000 participants ages 25–74 will be recruited from urban and rural areas of the town to maximize the diversity of environmental exposures and to increase the long-term value of the study. Population data and bio-specimens will be collected over two years. The collection of a population-based cohort will open up the possibility to study the relationship of human disease to the genotype and phenotype of the individual and to transfer to the personalized medicine in the future.

Research Significance

Obesity and its complications including fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes have become global epidemics that threaten the health of current and future generations. Global differences in the prevalence of obesity, fatty liver disease, and diabetes are likely due to genetic susceptibility combined with particular environmental exposures. The rapid development of economic and the changes in lifestyle and diet structure had lead to a very high prevalence of obesity and its complications in China. What effects these genetic variants have and how they interact with environmental exposures to lead to development of disease remain to be determined.

Pinggu Metabolic Disease Study which aims to better understand the genetic and environmental factors that promotes obesity and its related metabolic diseases. Meanwhile, comparing and contrasting the pathogenesis of chronic diseases in China relative to other countries will be a fruitful area of research.

Advice for Future Applicants

The global epidemic of type 2 diabetes mellitus is one of the most challenging problems all around the world, particularly developing countries. The task of disease prevention and research in developing countries is arduous and we will have a long way to go on preventing and caring diabetes through education, research and good medical practice.





Human serum metabonomic analysis reveals progression axes for glucose intolerance and insulin resistance statuses.
Implication of genetic variants near SLC30A8, HHEX, CDKAL1, CDKN2A/B, IGF2BP2, FTO, TCF2, KCNQ1, and WFS1 in type 2 diabetes in a Chinese population.
Effect of genetic variants in KCNJ11, ABCC8, PPARG and HNF4A loci on the susceptibility of type 2 diabetes in Chinese Han population.
Performance of HbA(1c) for detecting newly diagnosed diabetes and pre-diabetes in Chinese communities living in Beijing..