Yazhen Zhu, M.D., Ph.D.
4310 CNSI (570 Westwood Plaza)
Positions & Affiliations:
Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology
Crump Institute of Molecular Imaging
Dr. Zhu co-directs the liquid biopsy laboratory at UCLA. The primary research interest of the liquid biopsy lab is exploring the unique potentials of liquid biopsy markers, including circulating rare cells and extracellular vesicles (EVs), to facilitate the clinical translation and validation of cancer and prenatal diagnostic platforms. The liquid biopsy lab established translational research programs, which focus on developing and validating liquid biopsy-based diagnostic platforms for noninvasive prenatal diagnosis and cancer diagnosis. The translational research programs involve close collaboration with clinical faculties across many departments at UCLA, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Liver Transplant Surgery, Pancreatic Cancer Surgery, Thyroid Surgery, Medical Oncology, and Maternal Fetal Medicine), and with multiple national and international collaborators.
Dr. Yazhen Zhu is currently an Assistant Professor and Research Pathologist at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She received her MD degree from Wuhan University in 2005 and her PhD degree in Pathology from Fudan University in 2010. In 2012, she completed her residency training in the Pathology Department of Guangdong Provincial Hospital of TCM (China) where she served as an attending pathologist for the next five years. Her clinical practice covered surgical pathology in gastrointestinal cancer, thyroid cancer, and breast cancer. In 2013-2017, she also served as the founding Director of the Molecular Pathology Laboratory of the Pathology Department, where she developed and validated a collection of laboratory-developed tests (LDTs) for detecting oncogenic mutations for targeted cancer therapy. Dr. Zhu’s experience in molecular pathology equipped her with a unique strength for identifying unmet clinical needs in translational research for cancer diagnostics. In 2015, Dr. Zhu joined UCLA Pharmacology as a visiting assistant project scientist. In 2020, she became a faculty member in the Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging and the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology.