Hanrui Zhang is one of the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research's new Herbert and Florence Irving Scholars

Announcing the 2021-2024 Irving Scholars

The Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research is honored to announce four new Herbert and Florence Irving Scholars for the 2021-2024 cohort., including CSCI's own affiliate member Hanrui Zhang, MB, PhD

In the late 1980’s, Herbert and Florence Irving created a generous endowment to support clinical and translational research at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC). Part of this endowment supports the Florence and Herbert Irving clinical research career awards (“Irving Scholars”) program for junior faculty members involved in clinical and translational research. Each scholar receives $60,000 unrestricted funds annually for three years and joins a prestigious alumni group of over 140 outstanding scientists and physician scientists!

 Hanrui Zhang, MB, PhD

Herbert Irving Assistant Professor of Medical Sciences (in Medicine) 
Project title: Targeting Macrophage Proliferation and Efferocytosis in Atherosclerosis.

Dr. Zhang’s research seeks to understand the dynamic role of macrophages in cardiometabolic diseases with the aim of finding new treatments. Her expertise lies in human iPSC differentiation, CRISPR gene editing, and high throughput CRISPR screening. Dr. Zhang’s goals to elucidate the mechanisms and therapeutic implications of macrophage heterogeneity and plasticity in cardiometabolic diseases underline her ability to conduct novel, high-quality translational research. Her current R01 focuses on Wdfy3, a novel positive regulator of macrophage efferocytosis discovered by an innovative genome-wide CRISPR screen and supported by human PheWAS, in atherosclerosis. Her two proposals (one R01 as the contact PI and one U01 as the MPI) and one pending R01 as a co-Investigator also build on her expertise in human iPSC-macrophages and functional genomic screens in macrophages. With her Irving Scholars proposal, entitled “Targeting Macrophage Proliferation and Efferocytosis in Atherosclerosis,” Dr. Zhang reflects a clear control of innovative and translational research processes by building on her previous research expertise in this field. With funding from the Irving Scholars proposal she will be able to pursue more external funding building on this proposal’s potential of targeting macrophage proliferation and efferocytosis for residual risk reduction in atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases.

As an academic research scientist, Dr. Zhang has excelled at building a strong and independent research laboratory and participates and leads in many national AHA- Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (ATVB) programs. This includes several academic service positions serving to promote and enhance Women in Science in AHA and the scientific workforce. In recognition of her efforts, in 2020 Dr. Zhang received the prestigious Irvine H. Page Junior Faculty Research Award sponsored by the AHA ATVB Council, which recognizes early-career investigators who have the potential to become future leaders in cardiovascular research. Her trainees in the Zhang lab have received competitive fellowship support from internal and external sources and reflect an exceptional mentor relationship and dedication.  Dr. Zhang serves as a mentor for several graduate programs across the Columbia University campuses and is an active member of the Columbia Stem Cell Initiative as well as the Cardiometabolic Precision Medicine Program. She is well-known in the Department of Medicine and beyond for her collegiality, organizational skills, and scientific innovation.

Dr. Zhang joined CUIMC in 2017 as an Associate Research Scientist and moved to the Assistant Professor (tenure-track) in 2018. Since joining our CUIMC faculty, Dr. Zhang has been remarkably productive academically and scientifically in the field of atherosclerosis research. Prior to Columbia, Dr. Zhang completer her MB (Chinese Medicine) MSc (Herbal Pharmacology) at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and completed her PhD in Physiology and Pharmacology in 2011 at the University of Missouri. She then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Cardiovascular Institute of the University of Pennsylvania where she continued on her trajectory towards independence including her move to Columbia University. She has demonstrated an outstanding track record in obtaining external funding including a National Institute of Health (NIH) R90 training grant, American Heart Association (AHA) Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowship, a NIH NHLBI K99/R00 Career Development award. Dr. Zhang submitted her first R01 and received a 2nd percentile at first submission within one year of establishing her independent research laboratory. Additionally, she successfully completed several career development programs at the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research including the Reach for the R01 course, several workshops and Irving Institute research services, as well as funding from the Irving Institute and Clinical Trials Office pilot awards. She is an outstanding translational scientist and we are thrilled to announce her award.


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