Microbiology, immunology professor receives American Physiological Society research award

Huiping Zhou, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology and immunology in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, has won the 2020 Takeda Distinguished Research Award from the American Physiological Society.

The award recognizes an outstanding investigator who is known internationally for contributions to research in gastrointestinal and liver physiology.

Huiping Zhou, Ph.D.
Huiping Zhou, Ph.D.

Zhou, who joined VCU in 1999, studies drug-induced liver injury and bile acid signaling in metabolic diseases. She has published more than 130 peer-reviewed papers in high-impact journals. For the past 13 years, she has received multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, private foundations and industry.

Gianfranco Alpini, Ph.D., a professor in the Indiana University School of Medicine, nominated Zhou for the distinguished research award.

“Based on her excellent research, she is routinely invited to present her research results at national and international meetings as well as other universities and institutes,” Alpini wrote in his nomination letter.

“Dr. Zhou as proved herself to be an exceptional scientist, great mentor and an accomplished investigator who has significantly contributed to the GI/liver pathology area.”

Alpini said he has been following Zhou’s work for many years and got to know her about eight years ago when they served together on a veterans administration merit review committee. Alpini said he has visited VCU and had an opportunity to meet Zhou’s students and fellows. He nominated Zhou for the award because of her outstanding research and her excellence in mentoring students and fellows, Alpini said.

“Since joining the faculty [at VCU], she has mentored more than 40 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists, as well as 20 undergraduate and high school summer students,” Alpini wrote.

“Dr. Zhou has set up an excellent role model for women faculty and students as an outstanding researcher and mentor.”

In 2018, Zhou received a VCU WISDM (Women in Science, Dentistry, and Medicine) Professional Achievement Award and was named an American Gastroenterology Association fellow. She also is the recipient of a Research Career Scientist award from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

She will be recognized at the American Physiological Society’s GI & Liver Section banquet in San Diego, California, in April 2020.