Dr. Hasan Zaki studies molecular mechanism of inflammatory disorders. Dr. Zaki obtained BS and MS degrees from the Department of Microbiology at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. In 2002, obtaining Japanese Govt. Scholarship for PhD, he moved to Kumamoto University, Japan,  where he investigated the role of nitric oxide in host defense against bacterial infection under the supervision of Professor Takaaki Akaike, MD, PhD. For postdoctoral training, he joined Dr. Thirumala-devi Kanneganti's laboratory at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, in 2008. His postdoctoral studies were focused on understanding the role of NOD-like receptors (NLR), a group of cytosolic pathogen recognition receptor, in intestinal inflammatory disorders. Dr. Zaki became a tenure accruing Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at UT Southwestren Medical Center, Dallas, TX, in 2013 and has been promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure in 2022. 

Research in Dr. Zaki’s lab aims to explore the complex interplay between host immune system, diet, and gut microbiota in regulating inflammatory disorders including cancer. He made major contribution in understanding the physiological functions of several pattern recognition receptors (PRR) in health and diseases. He demonstrated that the inflammasome forming NOD-like receptors (NLRs) such as NLRP3 and AIM2 play a central role in maintaining intestinal homeostasis. Some other NLRs such as NOD2 and NLRP12 are critical regulators of intestinal inflamamtion and tumorigenesis, and their defects are associated with increased susceptibility to coltiis, colorectal tumorigenesis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. His laboratory made a seminal discovery that high sugar diet predisposes and enhances pathogenesis of colitis via modulaiton of gut microbiota composition. More recently, he discovered the mechanism of cytokine storm during COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2.  



Graduate School
Kumamoto University - Japan (2007), Microbiology

Research Interest

  • Cell Signaling
  • Diet and Metabolic Disorders
  • Gastrointestinal Inflammation and Cancer
  • Gut Microbiome
  • Host Pathogen Interaction
  • NOD-Like Receptors


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Honors & Awards

  • American Cancer Society (ACS) Research Scholar Award (2021)
  • Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Individual Investigator Award (2019)
  • Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Individual Investigator Award (2016)
  • Career Development Award, Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (2012)
  • Careers in Immunology Fellowship, American Association of Immunologists (AAI) (2018)
  • MEXT Scholarship (2002)
  • NIDDK, National Institute of Health (NIH), R01 Award (2021)
  • NIDDK, National Institute of Health (NIH), R01 Award (2022)
  • Trainee Award, American Association for Immunologists (2011)
  • Travel Award, Keystone Meeting (2012)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Association for Advancement of Schience (2012)
  • American Association of Immunologists (2012)
  • Chron's and Colitis Foundation of America (2012)