Zuo-Feng Zhang

Dr. Zuo-Feng Zhang, M.D., Ph.D. is a Professor of Epidemiology, Co-Director of the UCLA Center for Environment Genomics, Director of Molecular Epidemiology Training Program, and Scientific Director of UCLA Central Tumor Registry. Dr. Zhang has been a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology (ACE) since 1999 and he served as Member of the Board of Directors of the American College of Epidemiology from 2002 to 2005. Dr. Zhang served as a regular member of NIH Epidemiology of Cancer Study Section (EPIC), is currently serving as a regular member of the NCI-J study section, and as an ad hoc member in numerous NIH peer review study sections. Dr. Zhang served as a World Health Organization (WHO) Consultant for National Noncommunicable Disease Prevention and Controls in China. Dr. Zhang was a barefoot doctor in China from 1969 to 1973. He worked as a preventive doctor in a Schistosomiasis Control Program from 1975 to 1978. Following a Medical Degree in Preventive Medicine from Shanghai Medical University in 1983, he studied cancer epidemiology under Professor Shun-Zhang Yu in the graduate program of Shanghai Medical University from 1983-1987. Thereafter, he did post-doctoral training at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), World Health Organization, Lyon, France from 1987-1988, under supervision of Dr. Max Parkin. Several years later, Dr. Zhang graduated with a Ph.D. degree in cancer epidemiology, from State University of New York at Buffalo in 1991, where he worked with Dr. Saxon Graham, followed by positions as an Assistant and Associate Member (Professor) of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and as an Assistant Professor at Cornell Medical College from 1991 to 1997. Finally, he accepted a position as a Tenured Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1997, and advanced to Full Professor of Epidemiology in 1999.

Center Affiliations


  • PhD, Cancer Epidemiology and Experimental Pathology, State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, NY
  • MD, Preventive Medicine, Shanghai Medical University, China
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow in Cancer Epidemiology, Internaitonal Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), World Health Organization, Lyon, France

Areas of Interest

Dr. Zuo-Feng Zhang's research focuses on the molecular epidemiology of cancers of the bladder, prostate, esophagus, stomach, head and neck and cervix. Other research interests include nutrition and cancer, epidemiology of second primary cancer; methodological issues in the use of tumor markers in cancer epidemiology; and progression and survival of cancer.

Zhang's research group in the molecular epidemiology laboratories is currently working on mutations, methylations, polymorphisms or SNPs of tumor suppresser genes such as TP53 and p16, of Phases I and II genes such as GSTs, NATs, and CYP450s, and of DNA repair genes such as XRCC1. The major focus is to evaluate the main effects of these genes on the risk of cancers and to assess potential gene-environment interactions.

Selected Courses

  • Epidem 242: Cancer Epidemiology
  • Epidem 243: Molecular Epidemiology of Cancer
  • Epidem 244: Cancer Epidemiology Methods
  • Epidem 295: Cancer Epidemiology Seminar

Selected Publications

  • Kim CH, Mu L, Wu M, Zhao JK, Zhang ZF. Evaluating the evidence for the relationship between passive smoking and lung cancer. Int J Cancer. 2014 Mar 24. doi: 10.1002/ijc.28860. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24659528.
  • Kim CH, Lee YC, Hung RJ, McNallan SR, Cote ML, Lim WY, Chang SC, Kim JH, Ugolini D, Chen Y, Liloglou T, Andrew AS, Onega T, Duell EJ, Field JK, Lazarus P, Marchand LL, Neri M, Vineis P, Kiyohara C, Hong YC, Morgenstern H, Matsuo K, Tajima K, Christiani DC, McLaughlin JR, Bencko V, Holcatova I, Boffetta P, Brennan P, Fabianova E, Foretova L, Janout V, Lissowska J, Mates D, Rudnai P, Dabrowska N, Mukeria A, Zaridze D, Seow A, Schwartz AG, Yang P, Zhang ZF. Exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke and lung cancer by histological type: A pooled analysis of the International Lung Cancer Consortium (ILCCO). Int J Cancer. 2014 Mar 11. doi: 10.1002/ijc.28835. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24615328.
  • Yang T, Chang PY, Park SL, Bastani D, Chang SC, Morgenstern H, Tashkin DP, Mao JT, Papp JC, Rao JY, Cozen W, Mack TM, Greenland S, Zhang ZF. Tobacco smoking, NBS1 polymorphisms, and survival in lung and upper aerodigestive tract cancers Bayes adjustment for hazard ratio variation. Cancer Causes Control. 0. Epub 2013 Oct 29. PubMed PMID: 24166361; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3889468.
  • Tarleton HP, Smith LV, Zhang ZF, Kuo T. Utility of anthropometric measures in a multiethnic population: their association with prevalent diabetes, hypertension and other chronic disease comorbidities. J Community Health. 2014 z. PubMed PMID: 24132872; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3990653. 
  • He Q, Fan C, Yu M, Wallar G, Zhang ZF, Wang L, Zhang X, Hu R. Associations of ACE gene insertion/deletion polymorphism, ACE activity, and ACE mRNA expression with hypertension in a Chinese population. PLoS One. 2013 Oct 1;8(10):e75870. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075870. eCollection 2013. PubMed PMID: 24098401; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3787994.
  • Tarleton HP, Chang SC, Park SL, Cai L, Ding B, He N, Hussain SK, Jiang Q, Mu LN, Rao J, Wang H, You NC, Yu SZ, Zhao JK, Zhang ZF. Genetic variation at 8q24, family history of cancer, and upper gastrointestinal cancers in a Chinese population. Fam Cancer. 2014 Mar;13(1):45-56. doi: 10.1007/s10689-013-9673-4. PubMed PMID: 24030569; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3944602.
  • He F, Chang SC, Wallar GM, Zhang ZF, Cai L. Association of XRCC3 and XRCC4 gene polymorphisms, family history of cancer and tobacco smoking with non-small-cell lung cancer in a Chinese population: a case-control study. J Hum Genet. 2013 Oct;58(10):679-85. doi: 10.1038/jhg.2013.78. Epub 2013 Aug 8. PubMed PMID: 23924833.
  • Jeon C, Chang SC, Mu L, Zhao J, Rao JY, Lu QY, Zhang ZF. Genetic variants of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor δ are associated with gastric cancer.  Dig Dis Sci. 2013 Oct;58(10):2881-6. doi: 10.1007/s10620-013-2770-2. Epub 2013 Aug 2. PubMed PMID: 23907334; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3783538.
  • Thompson CA, Zhang ZF, Arah OA. Competing risk bias to explain the inverse relationship between smoking and malignant melanoma. Eur J Epidemiol. 2013 Jul;28(7):557-67. doi: 10.1007/s10654-013-9812-0. Epub 2013 May 23. PubMed PMID: 23700026; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3864891.
  • Jeon CY, Roberts CK, Crespi CM, Zhang ZF. Elevated liver enzymes in individuals with undiagnosed diabetes in the U.S. J Diabetes Complications. 2013  Jul-Aug;27(4):333-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2013.04.005. Epub 2013 May 14. PubMed PMID: 23683663; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3711939.
  • Purcell M, Flores YN, Zhang ZF, Denova-Gutiérrez E, Salmeron J. Prevalenceand predictors of alanine aminotransferase elevation among normal weight, overweight and obese youth in Mexico. J Dig Dis. 2013 Sep;14(9):491-9. doi: 10.1111/1751-2980.12072. PubMed PMID: 23678860.
  • Jin ZY, Wu M, Han RQ, Zhang XF, Wang XS, Liu AM, Zhou JY, Lu QY, Zhang ZF, Zhao JK. Raw garlic consumption as a protective factor for lung cancer, a population-based case-control study in a Chinese population. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2013 Jul;6(7):711-8. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-13-0015. Epub 2013 May 8. PubMed PMID: 23658367; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3718302.
  • Myneni AA, Chang SC, Niu R, Liu L, Ochs-Balcom HM, Li Y, Zhang C, Zhao B, Shi J, Han X, Li J, Su J, Cai L, Yu S, Zhang ZF, Mu L. Genetic polymorphisms of TERT and CLPTM1L and risk of lung cancer--a case-control study in a Chinese population. Lung Cancer. 2013 May;80(2):131-7. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2013.01.021. Epub 2013 Feb 19. PubMed PMID: 23433592; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3627395.
  • Mu L, Liu L, Niu R, Zhao B, Shi J, Li Y, Swanson M, Scheider W, Su J, Chang SC, Yu S, Zhang ZF. Indoor air pollution and risk of lung cancer among Chinese female non-smokers. Cancer Causes Control. 2013 Mar;24(3):439-50. doi: 10.1007/s10552-012-0130-8. Epub 2013 Jan 12. PubMed PMID: 23314675; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3574203.
  • Hussain SK, Zhu W, Chang SC, Breen EC, Vendrame E, Magpantay L, Widney D, Conn D, Sehl M, Jacobson LP, Bream JH, Wolinsky S, Rinaldo CR, Ambinder RF, Detels R, Zhang ZF, Martínez-Maza O. Serum levels of the chemokine CXCL13, genetic variation in CXCL13 and its receptor CXCR5, and HIV-associated non-hodgkin B-cell lymphoma risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013 Feb;22(2):295-307. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-12-1122. Epub 2012 Dec 18. PubMed PMID: 23250934; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3703445.
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