Liang Zhou, Ph.D.

Professor of Immunology

College of Veterinary Medicine

2023 Awardee

Liang Zhou is an innovator and a leader in the field of mucosal immunology, where he focuses on the biology of lymphocytes, which are crucial for host defense against pathogens and help maintain health.

“The importance of a healthy gut, which represents the largest immune organ in the body, has gained increasing appreciation in recent years,” Zhou said. “Study of the development, regulation and function of lymphocytes in that organ has accordingly become an area of intense research focus and one I am passionate about pursuing.”

Specifically, Zhou’s work focuses on environmental impact, e.g. microbes and dietary components, on host immunity, especially in mucosal tissues. Most of his research uses mouse genetic models, molecular and cellular immunological approaches and genome-based technologies.

Zhou’s meticulous methodological approaches and substantive contributions have advanced our understanding of these cells in the healthy and diseased gut, and have positioned him as a leader in this field, as evidenced by the many prestigious national awards he has received. Those honors include the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Award and Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences Award.

He has also published more than 58 peer-reviewed articles in his career, which have garnered more than 18,000 citations. Most of his papers are in high-impact journals. The 22 papers he has published since the beginning of 2018 have been cited 545 times. Additionally, Zhou has attracted more than $6 million in extramural funding since 2018. He presents regularly at scientific conferences nationally and internationally.

“Dr. Zhou is an accomplished researcher whose contributions to immunology, and the scientific community in general, cannot be overstated,” said Julie M. Moore, chair of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology. “Since joining UF, he has maintained a rigorous, high-quality research program that has produced published works of the highest caliber. He has also supported our university’s teaching mission through his expert instruction and mentoring.”