Zhenquan Jia

Zhenquan Jia

Bernard-Glickman Dean's Professor

(336) 256-0078
321 Sullivan Building


Free radical toxicology; environmental cardiovascular inflammation and injury; redox signaling; amelioration of vascular dysfunction and toxicity with bioactive compounds.


Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Insitute and State University (Virginia Tech)


Research in my laboratory is focused on investigating environmental chemical-induced vascular inflammation and injury with a special interest on understanding the possible signaling mechanisms involved. The environmental chemicals of interest include the anthracycline quinone (known as doxorubicin), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-derived- quinones, acrolein, and nanoparticles. In line with this research, funded by the NIH, we are also actively investigating the molecular mechanism(s) of action of novel bioactive compounds that target and reduce toxicant-mediated cardiovascular inflammation. Our approaches include cell- and molecular biology techniques, and physiologically relevant animal models.

Recent Publications:

Khan, S; Chavez, J; Zhu, X; Chiu, N.H; Zhang W; Yin, Z; Han, J; Yang, J; Sigler, R; Tian, S.; Zhu, H; Li, Y; Wei, J; Yi, X, Jia, Z (2021). Carbon nanodots inhibit oxidized-LDL-induced injury and monocyte adhesion to endothelial cells through scavenging reactive oxygen species. J Biomed Nanotechnol, in press, 2021.

Fowler, J., Tsui, TK., Chavez., J., Khan, S., Ahmed, H., Smith, L., Jia, Z (2021). Methyl mercury triggers endothelial leukocyte adhesion and increases expression of cell adhesion molecules and chemokines. Experimental biology and medicine 2021; 0: 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1177/15353702211033812.

Dunphy, A.; Patel, K.; Belperain, S.; Pennington, A.; Chiu, N.H.; Yin, Z.; Zhu, X.; Priebe, B.; Tian, S.; Wei, J.; Yi, X, Jia, Z (2021). Modulation of macrophage polarization by carbon nanodots and elucidation of carbon nanodot uptake routes in macrophages. Nanomaterials 2021, 11, 1116:1-16.

Khan, S., A. Dunphy, M. S. Anike, S. Belperain, K. Patel, N. H. L. Chiu and Jia, Z (2021). Recent Advances in Carbon Nanodots: A Promising Nanomaterial for Biomedical Applications. Int J Mol Sci 22(13): 1-31.

Belperain, S.; Kang, Z.Y.; Dunphy, A.; Priebe, B.; Chiu, N.H.; Jia, Z (2021). Anti-Inflammatory Effect and Cellular Uptake Mechanism of Carbon Nanodots in Human Microvascular Endothelial Cells. Nanomaterials 2021, 11, 1247:1-18.

Shukla, H., R. Chitrakar, H. A. Bibi, G. Gaje, A. Koucheki, M. A. Trush, H. Zhu, Y. R. Li and Jia, Z (2020). “Reactive oxygen species production by BP-1,6-quinone and its effects on the endothelial dysfunction: Involvement of the mitochondria.” Toxicol Lett 322: 120-130 

Liu, S., M. T. Tsui, E. Lee, J. Fowler and Jia, Z (2020). “Uptake, efflux, and toxicity of inorganic and methyl mercury in the endothelial cells (EA.hy926).” Sci Rep 10(1): 9023. 

Shukla, H., G. Gaje, A. Koucheki, H. Y. Lee, X. Sun, M. A. Trush, H. Zhu, Y. R. Li and Jia, Z (2020). “NADPH-quinone oxidoreductase-1 mediates Benzo-[a]-pyrene-1,6-quinone-induced cytotoxicity and reactive oxygen species production in human EA.hy926 endothelial cells.” Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 404: 115180 

Shukla, H., H. Y. Lee, A. Koucheki, H. A. Bibi, G. Gaje, X. Sun, H. Zhu, Y. R. Li and Jia, Z (2020). “Targeting glutathione with the triterpenoid CDDO-Im protects against benzo-a-pyrene-1,6-quinone-induced cytotoxicity in endothelial cells.” Mol Cell Biochem 474(1-2): 27-39 

Ji, Z., Z. Yin, Jia, Z and J. Wei (2020). “Carbon Nanodots Derived from Urea and Citric Acid in Living Cells: Cellular Uptake and Antioxidation Effect.” Langmuir 36(29): 8632-8640. 

Tian, S., J. Nakamura, S. Hiller, S. Simington, D. W. Holley, R. Mota, M. S. Willis, S. J. Bultman, J. C. Luft, J. M. DeSimone, Jia, Z, N. Maeda and X. Yi (2020). “New insights into immunomodulation via overexpressing lipoic acid synthase as a therapeutic potential to reduce atherosclerosis.” Vascul Pharmacol 133-134: 106777 

Yi, X., Y. Wang, Jia, Z, S. Hiller, J. Nakamura, J. C. Luft, S. Tian and J. M. DeSimone (2020). “Retinoic Acid-Loaded Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) Nanoparticle Formulation of ApoB-100-Derived Peptide 210 Attenuates Atherosclerosis.” J Biomed Nanotechnol 16(4): 467-480 (Journal Impact Factor: 5.28). 


Complete list of publications in google scholar


Environmental Health Science II (Bio-632)
Current Research in Environmental Health Science (BIO-634)
Molecular Toxicology (Bio-635)
Essentials of Toxicology (BIO-488)
Current Topics in Biology (BIO 449)
Toxicological Research Laboratory (BIO 597)
Molecular Approaches to Research (Bio-482)