Zhiming Zhang, MD

Department of Neuroscience, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY, USA

Dr. Zhiming Zhang is an Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of Neuroscience in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. His research has been focusing on aging and age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases and works on three fronts to battle those age-related disease: to develop non-invasive imaging methods like pharmacological MRI for early detection, to develop behavioral testing apparatus for preclinical and translational research in nonhuman primates, which can translate to clinic for diagnosis of diseases and monitoring of therapeutic effects, and to develop medical devices for preclinical and clinical research.  

During his tenure at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, he has involved and led several major preclinical research to develop new treatment strategies including 1) testing the glial line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) as a promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD) (Gash and Zhang et al, Nature 1996); 2) in working with his Ph.D students to develop new nonhuman primate models of PD (Ding et al., 2008), MRI-based biomarker for early detection of PD (Zhang et al., 2008,) and monitoring treatment (Luan et al., 2008, Zhang et al., 2017). Lately, he worked with his colleagues to use phMRI as non-invasive tool for differentiating diagnosis of PD (Andersen, Zhang et al., 2015). As a chief neurosurgeon, he also involved several preclinical studies of Huntington’s disease (HD by locally delivery of drug to silence Htt with RNA interference (Stiles and Zhang et al., 2012; Richard and Zhang et al., 2012). Recently, he shifts part of research interest to preclinical studies in Alzheimer’s disease (Yue et al., 2014), and type II diabetes mellitus (Yue et al., 2016). Furthermore, he has trained many neurosurgeons, Ph.D students and visiting scientists during his tenure at the University of Kentucky.

Over the past 25 years, he has authored numerous original publications in the field, some of which have been published in the most prestigious journals such as Nature and PNAS. His research has resulted in the development of a Phase I and II clinical trial on the use of GDNF in patients with advanced Parkinson's disease.