Zhen Zhang, Ph.D.

Headshot of Zhen Zhang
  • Associate Director, Center for Biomarker Discovery and Translation
  • Associate Professor of Pathology

Research Interests

Ovarian neoplasms; Cancer; Proteomics; Biomarker development; Biomarker discovery; Mathematical algorithms; Biostatistics; Bioinformatics ...read more


Dr. Zhen Zhang is an associate professor of pathology and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Zhang’s research focus on the design of large-scale discovery studies for biomarkers and other molecular targets, and their translation into clinical applications. He was trained as a quantitative and computational scientists working in pattern recognition, image processing, and artificial intelligence. Through his many years as a faculty member in the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Systems Science at MUSC and then at JHU working on developing biomarkers and clinical tests for cancer detection, he has developed a diverse portfolio of research interests and expertise ranging from the development of statistical/computational methods for integrated omics data analysis to design and conducting web-lab experiments to discover, characterize and verify molecular functions of biomarkers and other targets. He designed and conducted a large-scale multi-center discovery study and successfully applied these algorithms and tools to the generated proteomic data and discovered/validated a panel of biomarkers. He then derived a classification algorithm using these biomarkers as part of its input. The result had become the first (with his colleague Daniel Chan) in vitro diagnostic multivariate index assay (IVDMIA) of proteomic biomarkers ever cleared by FDA for clinical use.

At JHU, he is the Associate Director of the Center for Biomarker Discovery and Translation (CBDT). He has been responsible for study design and experimental design in clinical proteomics studies and helped to develop a basic discovery workflow and quality control/assurance requirements that have been used for all discovery work at the Center. Dr. Zhang is a PI of the NCI funded CPTAC (Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium) Center at JHU and the contact PI of the NCI’s Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) Biomarker Development Laboratory. He has been a co-investigator on multiple NCI/EDRN BDL and BRL and a previous CVC.

Dr. Zhang has published over 130 scholarly articles, particularly in the field of bioinformatics and the development of biomarkers and multivariate approaches to improve disease detection.

...read more


  • Associate Director, Center for Biomarker Discovery and Translation
  • Associate Professor of Pathology

Departments / Divisions

  • Pathology - Clinical Chemistry

Centers & Institutes

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Zhang’s research interests are in the development and application of bioinformatics tools for biomarker research and clinical diagnoses.

What used to be considered as a single diagnosis may actually consist of a number of different phenotypes with distinguished disease pathways and varying genomic and proteomic expression patterns.

Dr. Zhang’s team is working to derive new mathematical and computational algorithms to identify such patterns for biomarker discovery—and to use them to establish predictive models for the diagnosis and management of diseases.

Researchers currently are focused on tumor marker discovery using high-throughput proteomics approaches.

Technology Expertise Keywords

Bioinformatics, Biomarkers, Ovarian Cancer, Proteomics, IVDMIA, in vitro diagnostic multivariate index

Selected Publications

Zhang Z, Bast RC, Jr., Yu Y, Li J, Sokoll LJ, Rai AJ, Rosenzweig JM, Cameron B, Wang YY, Meng XY, Berchuck A, Van Haaften-Day C, Hacker NF, de Bruijn HW, van der Zee AG, Jacobs IJ, Fung ET, Chan DW. Three biomarkers identified from serum proteomic analysis for the detection of early stage ovarian cancer. Cancer Res. 2004;64(16):5882-90. PMID: 15313933

Zhang H*, Liu* T, Zhang Z*, Payne SH*, Zhang B, McDermott JE, Zhou J-Y, Petyuk VA, Chen L, Ray D, Sun S, Yang F, Chen L, Wang J, Shah P, Cha SW, Aiyetan P, Woo S, Tian Y, Gritsenko MA, Choi C, Monroe ME, Thomas S, Moore RJ, Yu K-H, Tabb DL, Fenyö D, Bafna V, Wang Y, Rodriquez H, Boja ES, Hiltke T, Rivers RC, Sokoll L, Zhu H, Shih I-M, Pandey A, Zhang B, Snyder MP, Levine DA, Smith RD, Chan DW, Rodland KD. (2016) Integrated proteogenomic characterization of human high grade serous ovarian cancer. Cell. 2016 Jul 28;166(3):755-765. *Equal contributions. #corresponding authors. PMID: 27372738

Zhang B, Tian Y, Zhang Z, Network biology in medicine and beyond, Circ Cardiovasc Genet, 2014 7(4), 536-47. PMID: 25140061

Zhang Z, Barnhill SD, Zhang H, Xu FJ, Yu YH, Jacobs I, Woolas RP, Berchuck A, Madyastha KR, and Bast RC. Combination of multiple serum markers using an artificial neural network to improve specificity in discriminating malignant from benign pelvic masses. Gynecologic Oncology, 1999; 73(1): p. 56-61. PMID: 10094881

Ueland FR, Desimone CP, Seamon LG, Miller RA, Goodrich S, Podzielinski I, Sokoll L, Smith A, Nagell JR van, Zhang Z. Effectiveness of a Multivariate Index Assay in the Preoperative Assessment of Ovarian Tumors, Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2011 Jun 117(6):1289-1297. PMID: 21606739

Contact for Research Inquiries

Phone: 410-502-7871

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Clinical Chemistry

Patient Ratings & Comments

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