Zhichao Zhou

Zhichao Zhou

Principal Researcher | Docent
Visiting address: Norrbacka S1:02, Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset Solna, 17176 Stockholm
Postal address: K2 Medicin, Solna, K2 Kardio Pernow J, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • I am currently Associate Professor and PI at Division of Cardiology in the
    Department of Medicine Solna at Karolinska Institutet. I graduated from a Medical school in China in 2007 and obtained
    my Ph.D. degree from the Department of Cardiology, Erasmus University Medical
    Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands in 2013. I had my postdoc trainings at
    West Virginia University and Karolinska Institutet, respectively (2014-2018). My research
    focus is on the elucidation of novel disease mechanisms underlying
    cardiovascular complications and identification of effective therapeutic
    strategies for patients with cardiometabolic disease suffering from
    cardiovascular complications.

    My research has been supported by a series of grants from the following funders:
    * Swedish Research Council (2023)
    * EFSD/Novo Nordisk Foundation Future Leaders Award (2022)
    * Swedish Heart and Lung Foundation (2019, 2020, 2022 and 2023)
    * Karolinska Institutet KID Funding (2021 and 2023)
    * Eva and Oscar Ahréns Foundation (2021)
    * Loo and Hans Ostermans Foundation (2018 and 2020)
    * Lars Hiertas Minne Foundation (2018)
    * Karolinska Institutet Grant (2018, 2020, 2020 and
    * Sigurt and Elsa Goljes Memorial Foundation (2017)
    * Olaussons Fund 2016

    Commission of trust:
    * Editorial board: Front Cardiovasc Med
  • Front Pharmacol
  • Purinergic
  • ATVB (early career editorial board)

    * Coordinator of KIRCNET (2020-2023) [1]

    * Committee member: KIRCNET (2023-present), KiiM (2021-2023) [2] and Cardiovascular Research Seminar Series (2022-present)

    * Member of Swedish Cardiometabolic Research Network (SCAMN) (2023-present)

    * The SRP Diabetes PI group (2022-present) [3]

    * Guest editor: Front Cardiovasc Med 2022
  • Int J Hypertens 2019

    * Grant evaluation task for: UK Medical Research Council (MRC)
  • Polish National Science Center and Health Research Council of New Zealand

    * Journal reviewer for: J Am Coll Cardiol
  • Eur Heart J
  • Circ Res
  • Cardiovasc Res
  • Hypertension
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Br J Pharmacol
  • J Appl Physiol
  • Am J Hypertens
  • JACC Asia
  • Mol Cell Life Sci
  • J Diabetes
  • J Diabetes Res
  • Front Cardiovasc Med
  • Front Pharmacol
  • Purinergic Signal etc.

    [1] https://ki.se/en/research/kircnet-ki-respiration-and-circulation-network
    [2] https://ki.se/en/research/kiim-ki-inflammation-and-immunology-network
    [3] https://ki.se/en/srp-diabetes/strategic-research-programme-in-diabetes-srp-diabetes


  • Cardiovascular complications are major clinical problems in various
    cardiometabolic diseases (e.g. diabetes and obesity) that leads to high
    morbidity and mortality worldwide. The underlying mechanisms are poorly
    understood, and specific therapy targeting cardiovascular injury is lacking.
    In recent years, we have identified that red blood cells (RBCs) undergo
    dysfunction which acts as disease mediator of development of vascular
    dysfunction in diabetes and COVID-19, and targeting dysfunctional RBCs could
    serve as a potential strategy for the treatment of vascular injury.
    RBCs contain abundant and diverse non-coding (nc) RNAs. Using high throughput
    profiling followed by functional validations in samples from
    well-characterized clinical cohorts of patients and genetically modified and
    disease animal models, my study explores the expression and function of
    ncRNAs in RBCs and the implications of alteration of RBC-derived ncRNAs for
    the development of cardiovascular complications. In addition, RBCs serve as
    ATP pool and release of ATP from RBCs is impaired in several disease
    conditions. Another research interest of mine is to investigate the
    functional interaction between the RBC and cardiovascular wall through
    activation of ATP-mediated purinergic signaling in cardiometabolic disease.
    The ultimate research goal is to elucidate altered RBC-derived factors as
    novel disease mechanisms of cardiovascular complications and identify key
    RBC-derived factors as potential diagnostic markers and therapeutic


All other publications



  • Principal Researcher, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, 2022-

Degrees and Education

  • Docent, Karolinska Institutet, 2024

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