315 Savage Hall
Dr. Zhong is a nutritional epidemiologist who also conducts research in medical informatics, metabolomics, and genomics. The overarching goal of Dr. Zhong’s multidisciplinary research program is to advance our understanding of the etiology, progression, and management of cardiometabolic diseases including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Zhong has used a variety of data from prospective cohort studies (e.g., CARDIA, MESA, SEARCH), Lifetime Risk Pooling Project, UK Biobank, and electronic health record databases (e.g., CPRD, PCORnet). The used data sets generally have either big sample sizes, high-dimensions, or both. Relevant work has been published in JAMA (the most talked about article in 2019), JAMA Internal Medicine, Diabetes Care (featured on the cover), Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Human Molecular Genetics (top 2 by Altmetric score), and other journals. Research findings have been reported by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC, CNN, and many other major news outlets.
Dr. Zhong holds an adjunct assistant professor appointment in the Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Zhong has received several early-career awards including
- Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Early Career Investigator Award from the American Heart Association.
- Roger R. Williams Award for Genetic Epidemiology and the Prevention and Treatment of Atherosclerosis from the American Heart Association.
- Predoctoral Fellowship Award from the American Society for Nutrition.
Research interests: nutrition, epidemiology, medical informatics, omics, cardiometabolic diseases and risk factors
Generally, research projects in Dr. Zhong’s group use big sample size or high-dimensional data sets, focusing on understanding of the etiology, progression, and management of cardiometabolic diseases. A variety of interdisciplinary methodologies are used. Some projects are listed below.
- Determining the associations of nutrients, foods, and dietary patterns with cardiometabolic diseases and mortality using the following data sources
- A pooled data set combining a number of prospective cohort studies of US adults, including ARIC, CARDIA, CHS, FHS, FOS, JHS, MESA, and WHI
- Publicly available data sets such as NHANES
- Investigating the association between mitochondrial DNA and cardiometabolic health and whether this association can be modified by nutritional factors
- A metabolome-wide association study of incident type 2 diabetes
- Including the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) as the discovery cohort and the Rotterdam Study as the replication cohort
- Analyzing untargeted NMR data that consist of 61,180 variables
- Genetic risk, healthy lifestyle, lifetime risk of chronic disease, and compression of morbidities: a life course approach
- Diabetes surveillance using eletronic health records
- Zhong VW, Van Horn L, Greenland P, Carnethon MR, Ning H, Wilkins JT, Lloyd-Jones DM, Allen NB. Associations of Processed Meat, Unprocessed Red Meat, Poultry, or Fish Intake With Incident Cardiovascular Disease and All-Cause Mortality. JAMA Intern Med. 2020 Feb 3. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.6969
- Zhong VW, Kuang A, Danning RD, van Dam RM, Chasman DI, Cornelis MC. A genome-wide association study of bitter and sweet beverage consumption. Hum Mol Genet. 2019 Jul 15;28(14):2449-2457. (Ranked # 2 among all HMG articles tracked by the Altmetric)
- Zhong VW, Juhaeri J, Cole SR, Shay CM, Gordon-Larsen P, Kontopantelis E, Mayer-Davis EJ. Proximal HbA1C level and first hypoglycemia hospitalization in adults with incident type 2 diabetes: a nested case-control study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Jun 1;104(6):1989-1998.
- Zhong VW, Van Horn L, Cornelis MC, Wilkins JT, Ning H, Carnethon MR, Greeland P, Mentz RJ, Tucker KL, Zhao L, Lloyd-Jones DM, Allen NB. Associations of dietary cholesterol or egg consumption with incident cardiovascular disease and mortality. JAMA. 2019 Mar 29;321(11):1081-1095. (The Altmetric Top 100 Articles of 2019; the most talked about article in JAMA)
- Zhong VW, Bancks MP, Schreiner PJ, Lewis CE, Steffen LM, Meigs JB, Schrader LA, Schorr M, Miller KK, Sidney S, Carnethon MR. Insulin resistance since early adulthood and appendicular lean mass in middle-aged adults without diabetes: 20 years of the CARDIA study. J Diabetes Complications. 2019 Jan;33(1):84-90.
- Zhong VW, Juhaeri J, Mayer-Davis EJ. Trends in hospital admission for diabetic ketoacidosis in adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes in England, 1998-2013: a retrospective cohort study. Diabetes Care. 2018 Sep;41(9):1870-1877. (Highlighted in the Cover)
- Zhong VW, Juhaeri J, Cole SR, Shay CM, Gordon-Larsen P, Kontopantelis E, Mayer-Davis EJ. HbA1C variability and hypoglycemia hospitalization in adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes: a nested case-control study. J Diabetes Complications. 2018 Feb;32(2):203-209.
- Zhong VW, Juhaeri J, Cole SR, Kontopantelis E, Shay CM, Gordon-Larsen P, Mayer-Davis EJ. Incidence and temporal trends in hypoglycemia hospitalization in adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes in England, 1998 to 2013: a retrospective cohort study. Diabetes Care. 2017 Dec;40(12):1651-1660.
- Zhong VW, Crandell JL, Shay CM, Gordon-Larsen P, Cole SR, Juhaeri J, Kahkoska AR, Maahs DM, Seid M, Forlenza GP, Mayer-Davis EJ. Dietary intake and risk of non-severe hypoglycemia in adolescents with type 1 diabetes. J Diabetes Complications. 2017 Aug;31(8):1340-1347.
- Zhong VW, Obeid JS, Craig JB, Pfaff ER, Thomas J, Jaacks LM, Beavers DP, Carey TS, Lawrence JM, Dabelea D, Hamman RF, Bowlby DA, Pihoker C, Saydah SH, Mayer-Davis EJ. An efficient approach for surveillance of childhood diabetes by type derived from electronic health record data: the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2016 Nov;23(6):1060-1067.
- Zhong VW, Lamichhane AP, Crandell JL, Couch SC, Liese AD, The NS, Tzeel BA, Dabelea D, Lawrence JM, Marcovina SM, Kim G, Mayer-Davis EJ. Association of adherence to a Mediterranean diet with glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in youth with type I diabetes: the SEARCH Nutrition Ancillary Study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016 Jul;70(7):802-7.
- Zhong VW, Pfaff ER, Beavers DP, Thomas J, Jaacks LM, Bowlby DA, Carey TS, Lawrence JM, Dabelea D, Hamman RF, Pihoker C, Saydah SH, Mayer-Davis EJ; Search for Diabetes in Youth Study Group. Use of administrative and electronic health record data for development of automated algorithms for childhood diabetes case ascertainment and type classification: the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study. Pediatr Diabetes. 2014 Dec;15(8):573-84.
Graduate Field Membership: Nutrition, Computational Biology
Member: American Heart Association
Peer reviewer: JAMA, The BMJ, Annals of Internal Medicine, Diabetes Care, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, The Journal of Nutrition, Diabetologia, American Journal of Epidemiology, and many others.
My teaching and advising philosophy is vividly described by a quote from Robert Maynard Hutchins: Education is not to reform students or amuse them or to make them expert technicians. It is to unsettle their minds, widen their horizons, inflame their intellects, teach them to think straight, if possible.
I enjoy teaching and advising, because it not only helps me systematically organize my previous knowledge and leads me to learn new topics that facilitate my own research, but also helps pass wisdom and experience on to the next generalizations of public health professionals. This is a rewarding experience that requires critical thoughts in order to create a supportive and open environment that challenges students and advisees to pursue innovative and high-impact ideas.
2017-2019: Postdoc, Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology, Northwestern University
2012-2016: Ph.D., Nutrition (major) & Epidemiology (minor), The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2006-2011: Bachelor of Medicine, Preventive Medicine, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China
Seminar Committee member
Adjunct position at Northwestern University: https://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/faculty-profiles/az/profile.html?xid=45329
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=mscxzvwAAAAJ&hl=en