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Lin Zou, MD, PhD

Academic Title:

Associate Professor

Primary Appointment:



HH, 598

Phone (Primary):

(410) 706-2547


(410) 706-2410

Education and Training

1997-2002: M.D., Medicine, Xiangya School of Medicine, Central South University, China
2006-2010: Ph.D., Ultrasound Medicine, Xiangya School of Medicine, Central South University, China
2008-2012: Postdoc Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
2012-2016: Instructor, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Highlighted Publications


  1. Williams B, Zhu J, Zou L, Chao W. Innate immune TLR7 signaling mediates platelet activation and platelet-leukocyte aggregate formation in murine bacterial sepsis. Platelets. 2022 Aug 3:1-9. doi: 10.1080/09537104.2022.2107627. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 3592058
  2. Huang H, Zhu J, Gu L, Hu J, Feng X, Huang W, Wang S, Yang Y, Cui P, Lin SH, Suen A, Shimada BK, Williams B, Kane MA, Ke Y, Zhang CO, Birukova AA, Birukov KG, Chao W, Zou L. TLR7 Mediates Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in Sepsis by Sensing Extracellular miR-146a. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2022 Jun 9. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2021-0551OC. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35679261. (Editorial Article).
  3. Williams B, Neder J, Cui P, Suen A, Tanaka K, Zou L, Chao W. Toll-like receptors 2 and 7 mediate coagulation activation and coagulopathy in murine sepsis. J Thromb Haemost. 2019 Oct;17(10):1683-1693. doi: 10.1111/jth.14543. Epub 2019 Jul 23. PubMed PMID: 31211901.
  4. Jian W, Gu L, Williams B, Feng Y, Chao W, Zou L. Toll-like Receptor 7 Contributes to Inflammation, Organ Injury, and Mortality in Murine Sepsis. 2019 Jul;131(1):105-118. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000002706. PubMed PMID: 31045897; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6822621.
  5. Xu J, Feng Y, Jeyaram A, Jay SM, Zou L, Chao W. Circulating Plasma Extracellular Vesicles from Septic Mice Induce Inflammation via MicroRNA- and TLR7-Dependent Mechanisms. J Immunol. 2018 Dec 1;201(11):3392-3400. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1801008. Epub 2018 Oct 24. PubMed PMID: 30355788; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6240609.
  6. Ding R, Xu G, Feng Y, Zou L, Chao W. Lipopeptide PAM3CYS4 Synergizes N-Formyl-Met-Leu-Phe (fMLP)-Induced Calcium Transients in Mouse Neutrophils. 2018 Oct;50(4):493-499. doi: 10.1097/SHK.0000000000001062. PubMed PMID: 29176405; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6464634.
  7. Xu G, Feng Y, Li D, Zhou Q, Chao W, Zou L. Importance of the Complement Alternative Pathway in Serum Chemotactic Activity During Sepsis. 2018 Oct;50(4):435-441. doi: 10.1097/SHK.0000000000001031. PubMed PMID: 29040213; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6462261.
  8. Feng Y, Zou L, Yan D, Chen H, Xu G, Jian W, Cui P, Chao W. Extracellular MicroRNAs Induce Potent Innate Immune Responses via TLR7/MyD88-Dependent Mechanisms. J Immunol. 2017 Sep 15;199(6):2106-2117. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1700730. Epub 2017 Aug 2. PubMed PMID: 28768728; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6462263.
  9. Li D, Zou L, Feng Y, Xu G, Gong Y, Zhao G, Ouyang W, Thurman JM, Chao W. Complement Factor B Production in Renal Tubular Cells and Its Role in Sodium Transporter Expression During Polymicrobial Sepsis. Crit Care Med. 2016 May;44(5):e289-99. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000001566. PubMed PMID: 26757165; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4833616.
  10. Zou L, Feng Y, Xu G, Jian W, Chao W. Splenic RNA and MicroRNA Mimics Promote Complement Factor B Production and Alternative Pathway Activation via Innate Immune Signaling. J Immunol. 2016 Mar 15;196(6):2788-98. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1502106. Epub 2016 Feb 17. PubMed PMID: 26889043; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6464635.
  11. Zou L, Chen HH, Li D, Xu G, Feng Y, Chen C, Wang L, Sosnovik DE, Chao W. Imaging Lymphoid Cell Death In Vivo During Polymicrobial Sepsis. Crit Care Med. 2015 Nov;43(11):2303-12. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000001254. PubMed PMID: 26335111; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6889962.
  12. Feng Y, Chen H, Cai J, Zou L, Yan D, Xu G, Li D, Chao W. Cardiac RNA induces inflammatory responses in cardiomyocytes and immune cells via Toll-like receptor 7 signaling. J Biol Chem. 2015 Oct 30;290(44):26688-98. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M115.661835. Epub 2015 Sep 11. PubMed PMID: 26363072; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4646323.
  13. Zeng X, Zou L, Levine RA, Guerrero JL, Handschumacher MD, Sullivan SM, Braithwaite GJC, Stone JR, Solis J, Muratoglu OK, Vlahakes GJ, Hung J. Efficacy of polymer injection for ischemic mitral regurgitation: persistent reduction of mitral regurgitation and attenuation of left ventricular remodeling. JACC Cardiovasc Interv. 2015 Feb;8(2):355-363. doi: 10.1016/j.jcin.2014.09.016. Epub 2015 Jan 14. PubMed PMID: 25596792; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5645299.
  14. Liu Y, Asnani A, Zou L, Bentley VL, Yu M, Wang Y, Dellaire G, Sarkar KS, Dai M, Chen HH, Sosnovik DE, Shin JT, Haber DA, Berman JN, Chao W, Peterson RT. Visnagin protects against doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy through modulation of mitochondrial malate dehydrogenase. Sci Transl Med. 2014 Dec 10;6(266):266ra170. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3010189. PubMed PMID: 25504881; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4360984
  15. Gong Y, Zou L, Feng Y, Li D, Cai J, Chen D, Chao W. Importance of Toll-like receptor 2 in mitochondrial dysfunction during polymicrobial sepsis. 2014 Dec;121(6):1236-47. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000000470. PubMed PMID: 25272245; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4237710.
  16. Feng Y, Zou L, Chen C, Li D, Chao W. Role of cardiac- and myeloid-MyD88 signaling in endotoxin shock: a study with tissue-specific deletion models. 2014 Dec;121(6):1258-69. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000000398. PubMed PMID: 25089642; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4237623.
  17. Zhang M, Zou L, Feng Y, Chen YJ, Zhou Q, Ichinose F, Chao W. Toll-like receptor 4 is essential to preserving cardiac function and survival in low-grade polymicrobial sepsis. 2014 Dec;121(6):1270-80. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000000337. PubMed PMID: 24937074; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4237617.
  18. Chen C, Feng Y, Zou L, Wang L, Chen HH, Cai JY, Xu JM, Sosnovik DE, Chao W. Role of extracellular RNA and TLR3-Trif signaling in myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury. J Am Heart Assoc. 2014 Jan 3;3(1):e000683. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.113.000683. PubMed PMID: 24390148; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3959703.
  19. Zou L, Feng Y, Li Y, Zhang M, Chen C, Cai J, Gong Y, Wang L, Thurman JM, Wu X, Atkinson JP, Chao W. Complement factor B is the downstream effector of TLRs and plays an important role in a mouse model of severe sepsis. J Immunol. 2013 Dec 1;191(11):5625-35. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1301903. Epub 2013 Oct 23. PubMed PMID: 24154627; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3906719.
  20. Sips PY, Irie T, Zou L, Shinozaki S, Sakai M, Shimizu N, Nguyen R, Stamler JS, Chao W, Kaneki M, Ichinose F. Reduction of cardiomyocyte S-nitrosylation by S-nitrosoglutathione reductase protects against sepsis-induced myocardial depression. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2013 Apr 15;304(8):H1134-46. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00887.2012. Epub 2013 Feb 15. PubMed PMID: 23417863; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3625910.
  21. Yang W, Yamada M, Tamura Y, Chang K, Mao J, Zou L, Feng Y, Kida K, Scherrer-Crosbie M, Chao W, Ichinose F, Yu YM, Fischman AJ, Tompkins RG, Yao S, Kaneki M. Farnesyltransferase inhibitor FTI-277 reduces mortality of septic mice along with improved bacterial clearance. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2011 Dec;339(3):832-41. doi: 10.1124/jpet.111.183558. Epub 2011 Aug 26. PubMed PMID: 21873557; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3226365.
  22. Zou L, Feng Y, Zhang M, Li Y, Chao W. Nonhematopoietic toll-like receptor 2 contributes to neutrophil and cardiac function impairment during polymicrobial sepsis. 2011 Oct;36(4):370-80. doi: 10.1097/SHK.0b013e3182279868. PubMed PMID: 21701420; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3178725.
  23. Li Y, Si R, Feng Y, Chen HH, Zou L, Wang E, Zhang M, Warren HS, Sosnovik DE, Chao W. Myocardial ischemia activates an injurious innate immune signaling via cardiac heat shock protein 60 and Toll-like receptor 4. J Biol Chem. 2011 Sep 9;286(36):31308-19. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.246124. Epub 2011 Jul 20. PubMed PMID: 21775438; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3173057.
  24. Feng Y, Zou L, Zhang M, Li Y, Chen C, Chao W. MyD88 and Trif signaling play distinct roles in cardiac dysfunction and mortality during endotoxin shock and polymicrobial sepsis. 2011 Sep;115(3):555-67. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e31822a22f7. PubMed PMID: 21792053; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3162066.


Research Interests

My research interest has been inflammation and organ injury in sepsis. During the past few years, I have gained extensive experience in studying the role of innate immune signaling, such as Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and complements, in the development of cardiac and renal injury during sepsis (Zou, et al., 2010, Zou, et al., 2013; Li, et al., 2016). Most recently, we demonstrate that extracellular RNAs/miRNAs are released during tissue ischemia or polymicrobial sepsis, are capable of activating the innate immune TLR7 signaling, and mediate a robust cytokine/complement production in cardiac cells and macrophages (Feng, et al., 2015, Zou, et al., 2016, Feng et al., 2017). My recent research funded by NIH R35 and R01 is focusing to study the role of extracellular miRNA in acute lung injury and encephalopathy in sepsis model.        

Grants and Contracts

Project 1: Function and Mechanisms of extracellular microRNAs in sepsis-induced lung injury.

R35 GM124775 (NIH/NIGMS) (09/01/2017-08/31/2022)

Role: PI

Project 2: Targeting brain inflammation and neurocognitive dysfunction in sepsis.

R01 NS110567 (05/01/2019-02/24/2024)

Role: MPI