Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineNational Heart & Lung Institute

Professor of Experimental Medicine



+44 (0)20 7594 6823l.zhao




531ICTEM buildingHammersmith Campus





Lan Zhao is Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial College London. She is Academic Director of the Imperial College Biological Imaging Centre (BIC). Employing innovative experimental approaches, she leads a research programme directed at identifying novel drug targets for pulmonary hypertension and developing biomarkers for assessing response to therapy.  

She is recognized for establishing the importance of the cGMP signaling pathway in pulmonary vascular homeostasis which contributed to the identification of phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) as a key therapeutic target for pulmonary hypertension, as well as more recently her work has provided insight on roles of SOX17 (Circulation 2023), HDAC inhibitors, iron supplementation, metabolic modulators and autoimmune impact (ERJ, 2023). Most importantly, her research has led to a groundbreaking observation that zinc transporter, ZIP12, has a fundamental role in mammalian pulmonary vascular homeostasis and offers a new drug target for pulmonary hypertension (Nature 2015). To overcome the challenge of evaluating interventions for pulmonary hypertension on the pathology of the disease, Dr Zhao has applied cutting edge PET and MRI imaging methodology. Recently, she has established an AI research scheme to combine the MRI-based cardiac and computational metrics into a machine learning algorithm in parallel to clinical investigation, which has tremendous potential in developing personalized therapeutic strategies.

Professor Zhao leads a collaborative biomarker research program on pulmonary hypertension with China, supported by the Royal society, Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute (PVRI), Chinese National Program and Natural Science Foundation, as well as the ECCPS Tibet High Altitude Research Program. Since 2006, she has organized an education program every year with Chinese Medical Society and Chinese Thoracic Society to promote pulmonary hypertension research in China.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Zhao L, Oliver E, Maratou K, et al., 2015, The zinc transporter, ZIP12, regulates the pulmonary vascular response to chronic hypoxia, Nature, Vol:524, ISSN:0028-0836, Pages:356-360

Zhao L, 2015, Iron homeostasis and pulmonary hypertension: iron deficiency leads to pulmonary vascular remodelling in the rat, Circulation Research, Vol:116, ISSN:1524-4571, Pages:1680-1690

Wilkins MR, Ghofrani H-A, Weissmann N, et al., 2015, Pathophysiology and Treatment of High-Altitude Pulmonary Vascular Disease, Circulation, Vol:131, ISSN:0009-7322, Pages:582-590

Francis BN, Hale A, Channon KM, et al., 2014, Effects of tetrahydrobiopterin oral treatment in hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension in rat, Pulmonary Circulation, Vol:4, ISSN:2045-8932, Pages:462-470

Iannone L, Zhao L, Dubois O, et al., 2014, <i>miR</i>-<i>21</i>/DDAH1 pathway regulates pulmonary vascular responses to hypoxia, Biochemical Journal, Vol:462, ISSN:0264-6021, Pages:103-112

Wojciak-Stothard B, Abdul-Salam VB, Lao KH, et al., 2014, Aberrant chloride intracellular channel 4 expression contributes to endothelial dysfunction in pulmonary arterial hypertension, Circulation, Vol:129, ISSN:0009-7322, Pages:1770-1780

George PM, Oliver E, Dorfmuller P, et al., 2014, Evidence for the Involvement of Type I Interferon in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, Circulation Research, Vol:114, ISSN:0009-7330, Pages:677-688

Zhao L, Ashek A, Wang L, et al., 2013, Heterogeneity in lung 18FDG uptake in PAH: potential of dynamic 18FDG-PET with kinetic analysis as a bridging biomarker for pulmonary remodeling targeted treatments, Circulation

Chen C-N, Watson G, Zhao L, 2013, Cyclic guanosine monophosphate signalling pathway in pulmonary arterial hypertension, Vascular Pharmacology, Vol:58, ISSN:1537-1891, Pages:211-218

Hameed AG, Arnold ND, Chamberlain J, et al., 2012, Inhibition of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) reverses experimental pulmonary hypertension, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Vol:209, ISSN:0022-1007, Pages:1919-1935

Zhao L, Chen C-N, Hajji N, et al., 2012, Histone Deacetylation Inhibition in Pulmonary Hypertension Therapeutic Potential of Valproic Acid and Suberoylanilide Hydroxamic Acid, Circulation, Vol:126, ISSN:0009-7322, Pages:455-+

Zeng W-J, Xiong C-M, Zhao L, et al., 2012, Atorvastatin in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (APATH) study, European Respiratory Journal, Vol:40, ISSN:0903-1936, Pages:67-74

Nasim MT, Ogo T, Chowdhury HM, et al., 2012, BMPR-II deficiency elicits pro-proliferative and anti-apoptotic responses through the activation of TGF-TAK1-MAPK pathways in PAH, Human Molecular Genetics, Vol:21, ISSN:0964-6906, Pages:2548-2558

Wojciak-Stothard B, Zhao L, Oliver E, et al., 2012, Role of RhoB in the Regulation of Pulmonary Endothelial and Smooth Muscle Cell Responses to Hypoxia, Circulation Research, Vol:110, ISSN:0009-7330, Pages:1423-+

Francis BN, Wilkins MR, Zhao L, 2010, Tetrahydrobiopterin and the regulation of hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction, European Respiratory Journal, Vol:36, ISSN:0903-1936, Pages:323-330

Harrington LS, Moreno L, Reed A, et al., 2010, The PPARβ/δAgonist GW0742 Relaxes Pulmonary Vessels and Limits Right Heart Hypertrophy in Rats with Hypoxia-Induced Pulmonary Hypertension, PLOS One, Vol:5, ISSN:1932-6203

Zhao L, Sebkhi A, Ali O, et al., 2009, Simvastatin and sildenafil combine to attenuate pulmonary hypertension, European Respiratory Journal, Vol:34, ISSN:0903-1936, Pages:948-957

Baliga RS, Zhao L, Madhani M, et al., 2008, Synergy between natriuretic peptides and phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors ameliorates pulmonary arterial hypertension, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Vol:178, ISSN:1073-449X, Pages:861-869

Zhao L, Bahaa F, Wilkins M, 2007, Tetrarydrobiopterin and pulmonary hypertension, Problems of High Altitude Medicine and Biology, ISSN:1874-6489, Pages:69-+

Khoo JP, Zhao L, Alp NJ, et al., 2005, Pivotal role for endothelial tetrahydrobiopterin in pulmonary hypertension, Circulation, Vol:111, ISSN:0009-7322, Pages:2126-2133

Zhao L, Mason NA, Strange JW, et al., 2003, Beneficial effects of phosphodiesterase 5 inhibition in pulmonary hypertension are influenced by natriuretic peptide activity, Circulation, Vol:107, ISSN:0009-7322, Pages:234-237

Zhao L, Mason NA, Morrell NW, et al., 2001, Sildenafil inhibits hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension, Circulation, Vol:104, ISSN:0009-7322, Pages:424-428

Zhao L, Sebkhi A, Nunez DJR, et al., 2001, Right ventricular hypertrophy secondary to pulmonary hypertension is linked to rat chromosome 17 - Evaluation of cardiac ryanodine Ryr2 receptor as a candidate, Circulation, Vol:103, ISSN:0009-7322, Pages:442-447

Sebkhi A, Zhao L, Lu L, et al., 1999, Genetic determination of cardiac mass in normotensive rats - Results from an F344 x WKY cross, Hypertension, Vol:33, ISSN:0194-911X, Pages:949-953

Zhao L, Long L, Morrell NW, et al., 1999, NPR-A-deficient mice show increased susceptibility to hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension, Circulation, Vol:99, ISSN:0009-7322, Pages:605-607

Zhao L, Brown LA, Owji AA, et al., 1996, Adrenomedullin activity in chronically hypoxic rat lungs, American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology, Vol:271, ISSN:0363-6135, Pages:H622-H629

Zhao L, Hughes JM, Winter RJ, 1994, Reversal of pulmonary vascular remodelling following hypoxic exposure: no effect of infusion of atrial natriuretic factor and neutral endopeptidase inhibitor., Cardiovascular Research, Vol:28, ISSN:0008-6363, Pages:519-523

Zhao L, Crawley DE, Hughes JM, et al., 1993, Endothelium-derived relaxing factor activity in rat lung during hypoxic pulmonary vascular remodeling., Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol:74, ISSN:8750-7587, Pages:1061-1065

Zhao L, Hughes JM, Winter RJ, 1992, Effects of natriuretic peptides and neutral endopeptidase 24.11 inhibition in isolated perfused rat lung., The American Review of Respiratory Disease, Vol:146, ISSN:0003-0805, Pages:1198-1201


Winter RJ, Zhao L, Krausz T, et al., 1991, Neutral endopeptidase 24.11 inhibition reduces pulmonary vascular remodeling in rats exposed to chronic hypoxia., The American Review of Respiratory Disease, Vol:144, ISSN:0003-0805, Pages:1342-1346

Zhao L, Winter RJ, Krausz T, et al., 1991, Effects of continuous infusion of atrial natriuretic peptide on the pulmonary hypertension induced by chronic hypoxia in rats., Clinical Science, Vol:81, ISSN:0143-5221, Pages:379-385

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