Participating Faculty


Hui Zhang

Department:Pharmaceutical Sciences, WSU Spokane
Credentials:1996 - Ph.D., Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.R. China; Genetics
Mailing Address:Pharmaceutical Sciences
College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
PO Box 1495
Spokane, WA 99210-1495
Website:Click here

Research Interests

Tumor immunology and immunotherapy, prenatal alcohol exposure effects on immune system function.

Research Summary


Research in my lab is focused on immunology and cancer biology with a specific emphasis on alcohol-related cancer immunology and immunotherapy. Alcohol consumption causes organ damage and increases the incidence of infectious diseases and cancers. The immune system is severely affected by alcohol consumption. The deterioration of the immune system is known to exacerbate viral infection and decrease the survival of alcoholics with cancer. It is not known how alcohol consumption modulates antiviral and anti-tumor immunity. We discovered that alcohol consumption inhibits NK cell development and maturation through impairing IL-15 production. The paucity of IL-15 also results in CD8+ T cell dysfunction through decreasing IL-15 production and the induction of an immunoinhibitory network. This network includes increased MDSC, decreased circulating B cells, and increased iNKT cells with a Th2-cytokine dominant cytokine profile. In addition, we also discovered that alcohol consumption activates signaling pathways governing cancer-associated cachexia. Impaired immune response and Enhanced cancer-associated cachexia are the major causes of decreased survival of cancer host. We are dissecting the molecular mechanisms governing these immune dysfunction and cancer-associated cachexia, and developing therapeutic approaches for effective treatment of cancer patients. 


Research Publications

Zhang F, Little A, Zhang H*. 2017. Chronic alcohol consumption inhibits peripheral NK cell development and maturation by decreasing the availability of IL-15. J Leukoc Biol. Apr;101(4):1015-1027. doi: 10.1189/jlb.1A0716-298RR. Epub 2016 Nov 11. PMID: 27837016. (*Corresponding author).

Gaither K, Little L, McBride A, Garcia S, Brar K, Zhu Z, Zhang F, Meadows G*, Zhang H*. 2016. The immunomodulatory, antitumor and antimetastatic responses of melanoma-bearing normal and alcoholic mice to Sunitinib and ALT-803: A combinatorial treatment approach. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 65(9):1123-34. doi: 10.1007/s00262-016-1876-8. PMID: 27481107. (*Co-Corresponding author).

Chu D, Zhao Q, Yu J, Zhang F, Zhang H, Wang Z. 2016. Nanoparticle Targeting of Neutrophils for Improved Cancer Immunotherapy. Adv Healthc Mater. 5(9):1088-1093. doi: 10.1002/adhm.201500998. PMID: 26989887.

Meadows, GG. and H. Zhang. 2015. Effects of Alcohol on Tumor Growth, Metastasis, Immune Response, and Host Survival. Alcohol Research: Current Reviews, 37(2): 311-330. PMID: 26695753.

Zhang F, Zhu Z, Meadows, GG, Zhang H*. 2015. Chronic alcohol consumption inhibits melanoma growth, but decreases the survival of mice immunized with tumor cell lysate and boosted with alpha-galactosylceramide. International Immunopharmacology. 28(1):359-368. PMID: 26118634 (* Corresponding author).

Zhang H*, Zhu Z, Zhang F, Meadows GG. 2015. Alcohol consumption and antitumor immunity: dynamic changes from activation to accelerated deterioration of the immune system. Adv Exp Med Biol. 815:313-331, PMID: 25427915 (* Corresponding author).

Zhang H*, Zhang F, Zhu Z, Luong D, Meadows GG. 2015. Chronic alcohol consumption enhances iNKT cell maturation and activation. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol., 282(2):139-150. PMID: 25499027 (*Corresponding author).

Liu C, Zhang F, Munske G, Zhang H, Xian M. 2014. Isotope dilution mass spectrometry for the quantification of sulfane sulfurs. Free Radic Biol Med. 76:200-207, PMID: 25152234.

Park CM, Zhao Y, Zhu Z, Pacheco A, Peng B, Devarie-Baez NO, Bagdon P, Zhang H, Xian M. 2013. Synthesis and evaluation of phosphorodithioate-based hydrogen sulfide donors. Mol Biosyst. 9(10):2430-2434. doi: 10.1039/c3mb70145j. PMID: 23917226.

John Powers, Hui Zhang, Logan Battrell, Gary G. Meadows and Grant D. Trobridge. 2012. Establishment of an immunodeficient alcohol mouse model to study the effects of ethanol on human cells in vivo. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 73(6):933-937. PMID: 23036211.

Hui Zhang*, Zhaohui Zhu, and Gary G. Meadows. 2012. Chronic alcohol consumption impairs distribution and compromises circulation of B cells in B16BL6 melanoma-bearing mice. Journal of Immunology. 189(3):1340-1348. (* Corresponding author). PMID: 22753935.

Hui Zhang, Zhaohui Zhu, Jennifer M. Mckinly, Gary G. Meadows. 2011. IFN-γ is essential for the inhibition of B16BL6 melanoma lung metastasis in chronic alcohol drinking mice. Clinical and Experimental Metastasis. 28(3): 301-307. Epub 2011 Jan. 14. PMID: 21234656.

Hui Zhang, Zhaohui Zhu, and Gary G. Meadows, 2011. Chronic alcohol consumption decreases the percentage and number of NK cells in the peripheral lymph nodes and exacerbates B16BL6 melanoma metastasis into the draining lymph nodes. Cellular Immunology. 266(2):172-179. PMID: 20974468.

Hui Zhang and Gary G. Meadows, 2010. Chronic alcohol consumption enhances myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) in B16BL6 melanoma-bearing mice. Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy. 59(8):1151-1159. PMID: 20229084.


Washington State University