Jolene Zheng, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor

Bioactive Screening Laboratory
(225) 763-2880
(225) 763-2847
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Department of Physiology, West Virginia University, USA PhD 1998 Physiology
Department of Physiology, West Virginia University, USA MS 1995 Physiology
Beijing Medical University, Beijing University, China MD 1974 Medicine


Dr. Zheng has conducted multiple projects on physiology and neuroscience, i.e. cardiovascular, pain, neuronal control of GI function, nutrition, and aging related studies utilized rodents and C. elegans models. One of my goals is to use the Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) model system as a preliminary and an intermediate research stage prior to confirmation in a rodent model and human clinical trials. Dr. Zheng has performed novel studies of obesity, insulin resistance, aging and neuronal degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease using C. elegans. These studies addressed areas of important medical need using an innovative cost-effective animal model with the potential to treat and prevent these diseases aiming on improve public health. Dr. Zheng has both a clinical and a basic research background. I have developed methods using C. elegans model organism taking advantage of its extreme suitability for large-scale, high through-put screening programs of bioactive compounds. Dr. Zheng also conducted human clinical trials for body composition and anthropometric studies evaluating proprietary devices, echogenicity for skeletal muscle in aging, and 3D imaging of body composition. These studies aimed on that low-cost, portable, and non-invasive available technologies may be used for assessment of muscle quality and guidance for nutrition. Dr. Zheng has attracted State funding from the LA Board of Regents, from several commercial sources, and from private donors. As a principle investigator, Dr. Zheng has maintained extensive collaboration with colleagues having complimentary skill sets, and Dr. Zheng has supervised graduate students and visiting scholars. Dr. Zheng had practiced medicine as an endocrinologist for ten plus years in China.


eymsfield SB, Ebbeling CB, Zheng J, Pietrobelli A, Strauss BJ, Silva AM, Ludwig DS. Multi-component molecular-level body composition reference methods: evolving concepts and future directions. Obes Rev (7.859). 2015 Apr;16(4):282-94.

Liana Soileau, Daniel Bautista, Callie Johnson, Chenfei Gao, Kang Zhang, Xin Li, Steven B. Heymsfield, Diana Thomas, Jolene Zheng. Automated anthropometric phenotyping with novel kinect-based three-dimensional imaging method. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2015 March; accepted for publication, in revision.

Wenhua Xu, Hatim Chafi, Beibei Guo, Steven B Heymsfield, Kori B Murray, Jolene Zheng, Guang Jia. Quantitative Comparison of Two Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) Systems in Assessing Body Composition and Bone Mineral Measurements. Submitted to Academic Radiology, March 2015

Heymsfield SB, Gonzales MC, Lu JH, Jia G, Zheng J. Skeletal Muscle Mass and Quality: Evolution of Modern Measurement Concepts in the Context of Sarcopenia. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2015 Feb; In press.

C Gao, MJ. Keenan, RJ. Martin, AM. Raggio, WD. Johnson, FM. Enright, and J Zheng. Gut microbiota in wild type Caenorhabditis elegans: Stimulation by media containing dietary fiber from Prowashonupana barley. Submitted to FEMS Microbiology Letters, January 2015

J Zheng, F Greenway, S Heymsfield, J King, M King, C Gao, W Johnson, J Finley. Effect of three intensive sweeteners on fat storage in C. elegans model. Chem Biol Interact. 2014 May 25;215:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2014.02.016. Epub 2014 Mar 13. PMID: 24632416

Jolene Zheng, Nir Barak, Yaffa Beck, Joseph R. Vasselli, and Frank Greenway. Using Caenorhabditis elegans as a Model for Obesity Pharmacology Development. Am J Ther. 2014 May 1. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 24786852

JW Finley, C Sandlin, DL. Holliday, MJ. Keenan, W Prinyawiwatkul, and J Zheng. Legumes Reduced Intestinal Fat Deposition and Increased Pharyngeal Movement in the Caenorhabditis elegans Model System. Journal of Functional Foods, March 2013 accepted. DOI: 10.1016/j.jff.2013.03.007

Zheng J, Sonnier T, Vase A, Korivi N, Ajmera P, Morrison SF, DiLorenzo DJ, Greenway FL. A less invasive surgical approach for splanchnic nerve stimulation to treat obesity. Obesity Surgery. November 2012, Volume 22, issue 11, pp 1783-1784.

Zheng J and Greenway F. Caenorhabditis elegans as a model for obesity research (Invited review article). Int J Obes (Lond). 2011 May 10. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 21556043.

Zheng J, Enright F, Keenan M, Finley J, Zhou J, Ye J, Greenway F, Senevirathne RN, Gissendanner CR, Manaois R, Prudente A, King JM, and Martin R. Resistant starch, fermented resistant starch, and short chain fatty acids reduce intestinal fat deposition in Caenorhabditis elegans.

J Agric Food Chem. 2010, 58, 4744–4748. 2010
Wu XJ, McLaughlin Le, Patrick PJ, Chalasani M, Greenway FL, and Zheng J. A Pilot Study to Evaluate the Effect of Splanchnic Nerve Stimulation on Body Composition and Food Intake in Rats. Obes Surg. DOI 10.1007/s11695-009-9963-y. 2009

Zheng J, DiLorenzo DJ, McLaughlin L, Roberts AT, and Greenway F. Stimulation of the Sympathetic Nervous innervation to the Upper Gastrointestinal Tract as a Treatment for Obesity. Med Hypotheses. 72: 706-710. 2009

Greenway F and Zheng J. Electrical Stimulation as Treatment for Obesity and Diabetes. Journal of diabetes science and technology 1(2):251-259; 2007

Zheng Z and Travagli RA. Dopamine effects on identified rat vagal motorneurons. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 292(4):G1002-8. 2006

Zheng Z, Lewis MW, and Travagli RA. In vitro analysis of the effects of cholecystokinin on rat brain stem motoneurons. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 288(5):G1066-73; 2005

Xian M, Li X, Tang X, Chen X, Zheng Z, Galligan JJ, Kreulen DL, and Wang PG. N-Hydroxyl derivatives of guanidine based drugs as enzymatic NO donors. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 11(17):2377-80, 2001

Zheng ZL, Shimamura K, Anthony TL, and Kreulen DL. Guanethidine evokes vasodilatation in mesenteric artery by acting on sensory nerves. Neurosci Letts 288:231-235, 2000

Zheng ZL, Travagli RA, and Kreulen DL. Patterns of innervation of sympathetic vascular neurons by peptide-containing primary sensory fibers. Brain Res., 827(1-2):113-121, 1999

Zheng ZL, Rogers RC, and Travagli RA. Selective gastric projections of nitric oxide synthase-containing vagal brainstem neurons. Neuroscience. 90(2), 685-694, 1999

Zheng ZL, Shimamura K, Anthony TL, Travagli RA, and Kreulen DL. Nitric oxide is a sensory nerve neurotransmitter in the mesenteric artery of guinea pig. J Auton Nerv Syst 67:137-144, 1997

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