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Formal Title:

Sr. Investigator





6100 EXECUTIVE BLVD Room 7B03G, MSC 7510
Bethesda Md 20892-7510
For FedEx use:
Rockville Md 20852



Cuilin Zhang, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., is a senior investigator in the Epidemiology Branch. Dr. Zhang earned both her master of public health degree and Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Washington. She received her postdoctoral training in genetic and nutritional epidemiology at Harvard University. Dr. Zhang's research interest is at the interface of genetic and non-genetic biological markers and potentially modifiable exogenous factors, focusing on their interplay in relation to the development of complex diseases. More specifically, her current research activities focus primarily on the roles of genetic and environmental factors in the pathogenesis of gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and obesity and health consequences of these complications. Dr. Zhang also has long-standing research interests in fetal origins of chronic diseases, life course epidemiology, and modifications of diet and lifestyle to improve reproductive outcomes and child health. Dr. Zhang serves as the Principal Investigator of the Diabetes & Women’s Health Study ( External Web Site Policy), which applies a hybrid design among approximately 4,000 women from U.S. and Denmark who had diabetes in pregnancy and have been followed up for at least 10 years. The study is focusing on the identification of determinants (medical, lifestyle, genetic and their interactions) for the progression from gestational diabetes to type 2 diabetes and its complications such as cardiovascular diseases and the investigation of biochemical markers that may predict the development of these complications among the pre-diabetic population. Dr. Zhang is also the Principal Investigator of the investigation of the risk factors and pathogenesis of gestational diabetes using biospecimens longitudinally collected from prospective pregnancy cohorts. Currently, the study focuses on a comprehensive panel of biochemical markers and epigenetic markers that are putatively implicated in glucose homeostasis, fetal growth, or both. Non-targeted metabolomics will also be analyzed for the discovery of new pathways and/or biochemical markers related to glucose intolerance and subsequent adverse fetal outcomes.

Featured Items:

Diabetes & Women's Health Study: External Web Site Policy

Zhang C. (2010). Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes: from an Epidemiological Standpoint. In Kim & Ferrara (Eds.), Gestational Diabetes During and After Pregnancy (pp.71-81). Springer-Verlag, London.

Zhang C & Hu FB. (2012). Determinants of Obesity. In Gillman & Poston (Eds.), Maternal Obesity. Cambridge University Press.

Song Y, Yeung E, Liu A, Vanderweele TJ, Chen L, Lu C, Liu C, Schisterman EF, Ning Y, Zhang C. (2012). Pancreatic beta-cell function and type 2 diabetes risk: quantify the causal effect using a Mendelian randomization approach based on meta-analyses. Hum Mol Genet. Aug 29 Epub ahead of print. Hum Mol Genet Abstract

Tobias DK, Hu FB, Chavarro J, Rosner B, Mozaffarian D, Zhang C. (2012). Healthful dietary patterns and type 2 diabetes mellitus risk among women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus. Archives of Internal Medicine. Sept 17 Epub ahead of print. Archives of Internal Medicine Abstract

Zhang C, Ning Y. (2011). Effect of dietary and lifestyle factors on the risk of gestational diabetes: Review of epidemiologic evidence. Am J Clin Nutr, 94, 1975S-1979S. Am J Clin Nutr Abstract

Bowers K, Hu G, Yu Z, Yang X, Klebanoff M, Yeung E, Zhang C. (2011). Birth weight, postnatal weight gain and high blood pressure among Chinese children 3-7 years old. Pediatrics, 127, e1272-1279. Pediatrics Abstract

Zhang C, Rexrode KM, van Dam RM, Li TY, Hu FB (2008). Abdominal obesity and the risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality: Sixteen years of follow-up in US women. Circulation, 117, 1658-1667. Circulation Abstract


Publications (PubMed):

Title Authors Publication Date
Adherence to healthy lifestyle and risk of gestational diabetes mellitus: prospective cohort study.Zhang C,Tobias DK,Chavarro JE,Bao W,Wang D,Ley SH,Hu FBBMJ2014 Sep 30
Rationale, design, and method of the Diabetes & Women's Health study - a study of long-term health implications of glucose intolerance in pregnancy and their determinants.Zhang C,Hu FB,Olsen SF,Vaag A,Gore-Langton R,Chavarro JE,Bao W,Yeung E,Bowers K,Grunnet LG,Sherman S,Kiely M,Strøm M,Hansen S,Liu A,Mills J,Fan R,the DWH study teamActa Obstet Gynecol Scand2014 May 14
Physical activity and sedentary behaviors associated with risk of progression from gestational diabetes mellitus to type 2 diabetes mellitus: a prospective cohort study.Bao W,Tobias DK,Bowers K,Chavarro J,Vaag A,Grunnet LG,Strøm M,Mills J,Liu A,Kiely M,Zhang CJAMA Intern Med2014 Jul
Genetic variants and the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus: a systematic review.Zhang C,Bao W,Rong Y,Yang H,Bowers K,Yeung E,Kiely MHum Reprod Update2013 Jul-Aug
Pancreatic beta-cell function and type 2 diabetes risk: quantify the causal effect using a Mendelian randomization approach based on meta-analyses.Song Y,Yeung E,Liu A,Vanderweele TJ,Chen L,Lu C,Liu C,Schisterman EF,Ning Y,Zhang CHum Mol Genet2012 Nov 15
Healthful dietary patterns and type 2 diabetes mellitus risk among women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus.Tobias DK,Hu FB,Chavarro J,Rosner B,Mozaffarian D,Zhang CArch Intern Med2012 Nov 12
Birth weight, postnatal weight change, and risk for high blood pressure among chinese children.Bowers K,Liu G,Wang P,Ye T,Tian Z,Liu E,Yu Z,Yang X,Klebanoff M,Yeung E,Hu G,Zhang CPediatrics2011 May
Increased risk of hypertension after gestational diabetes mellitus: findings from a large prospective cohort study.Tobias DK,Hu FB,Forman JP,Chavarro J,Zhang CDiabetes Care2011 Jul
Vision National Institutes of Health Home BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Storz Lab: Section on Environmental Gene Regulation Home Machner Lab: Unit on Microbial Pathogenesis Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research Home Bonifacino Lab: Section on Intracellular Protein Trafficking Home Lilly Lab: Section on Gamete Development Home Lippincott-Schwartz Lab: Section on Organelle Biology