Team Overview

With the notion of science above everything else, a strong tumor research team has been formed, combined with the academic background and interests of the scientists, and concentrated on tackling key tumor science and clinical core issues.

Zemin Zhang

Senior Principal Investigator; SZBL ICR Convener


Research Areas

We aim to help advance cancer immunotherapies and targeted therapies by applying cutting-edge genomic and informatics technologies to solve important problems in cancer biology. Our laboratory combines computational (dry) and experimental (wet) approaches to uncover both systematic trends and specific elements influencing oncogenic processes, tumor microenvironment, and drug responses. First, we use single cell sequencing technologies and spatial transcriptomics to delineate the detailed composition as well as functional status of the tumor microenvironment, to fully address the distinct cell-type signatures, cell-cell interactions and their dynamic changes during drug response, eventually developing potential therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment. Second, we develop innovative bioinformatics tools to analyze, integrate and visualize single cell genomics data as well as large-scale cancer genomics data so that such data can effectively serve the wide research community. Ultimately, we hope to bring innovative cancer immunotherapy strategies through our cancer immunogenomics advances.


  • 2021, Best of Cell 2020

  • 2020, Cell Press Paper of the Year Award (2019) in China

  • 2019, Top 10 Advances of Bioinformatics in China (selected in 2020)

  • 2019, Bayer Investigator Award

  • 2018, Cell Press Paper of the Year Award (2017) in China

  • 2018, Top 10 Advances of Bioinformatics in China (selected in 2019)

  • 2018, Scientific Chinese Person of the Year (Biology)

  • 2017, Top 10 Advances of Biological Sciences in China (selected in 2018)

  • 2017, Top 10 Biomedical Advances in China (selected in 2018)

  • 2017, The Boehringer Ingelheim Investigator Award

  • 2017, Peking University Translational Research Individual PI Award

  • 2014, Cheung Kong Scholar, awarded by the Ministry of Education and Li Ka Shing Foundation

Pictorial View

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  • 2019- Present

    Senior Principal Investigator, Institute of Cancer Research, Shenzhen Bay    Laboratory, Shenzhen, China

  • 2014- Present
    Tenured Full Professor, School of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China
  • 2014- Present
    Senior Principal Investigator, Peking University-Tsinghua University Center of Life       Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 2014- Present
    Principal Investigator, BIOPIC, Peking University, Beijing, China
  • 1998-2014
    Principal Scientist, Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, CA
  • 1995-1998

     Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Francisco, CA Howard Hughes Medical Institute

  • 1989-1995
     Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Pennsylvania State University,       University Park, PA
  • 1988-1989
     CUSBEA (China-US Biochemistry Exchange Program) training program
  • 1984-1988
    B.S. in Genetics, Nankai University, Tianjin, China


Dr. Zemin Zhang is a senior principal investigator at SZBL, a Professor of Peking University, and a principal investigator at BIOPIC. He previously spent over 16 years at Genentech/Roche, leading the cancer genomics and bioinformatics group to discover anticancer targets and biomarkers using new technologies such as machine learning and high throughput sequencing. He has pioneered multiple research directions in computational cancer biology and cancer genomics including the first ever whole genome tumor sequencing. He is also an inventor for 60 issued US patents, and has directly contributed to the initial finding of the molecular targets of multiple cancer therapeutic agents in clinical trials. He is on the editorial boards for journals including Cell, Cell Systems, and Genome Medicine. He is a CUSBEA Scholar and also a Cheung Kong Scholar.

Dr. Zhang is a pioneer in applying single cell technologies in understanding the tumor microenvironment. His laboratory has identified multiple immune cell subtypes that are preferentially enriched in various types of tumor, and has characterized their unique features including their lineage and cell-cell interaction potentials (Cell 169:1342; Nature 564:268; Nature Medicine 24:978; Cell 179:829). Such deep understanding of tumor-infiltrating immune cells can provide novel insights into drug response or resistance mechanisms, as well as opportunities for finding new immunotherapy targets (Cell 181:442; Annual Review of Immunology 39:583). More recently, his lab has produced a pan-cancer single-cell transcriptional atlas of tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells, shedding light on the molecular basis of pro- versus anti-tumor effect of several immune cell types (Cell 184:792).

During the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Zemin Zhang has cooperated with more than 40 hospitals and research institutes from over 10 provinces in China to form the new Consortium for COVID-19 in China (SC4) to reveal the molecular and immunological characteristics of COVID-19. The epic and historical effort by SC4 has produced the most comprehensive immune landscape in the lung and peripheral blood of COVID patients across different regions in China at the single-cell level. The data and findings have important implications for understanding and controlling COVID-19 (Cell 184:1895).

Selected Publications

S. Cheng, Z. Li, R. Gao, B. Xing, Y. Gao, Y. Yang, S. Qin, L. Zhang, H. Ouyang, P. Du, L. Jiang, B. Zhang, Y. Yang, X. Wang, X. Ren, J. Bei, X. Hu, Z. Bu*, J. Ji*, and Z. Zhang*. (2021) A pan-cancer single-cell transcriptional atlas of tumor infiltrating myeloid cells. Cell, 184(3):792-809

X. Ren, W. Wen, X. Fan, W. Hou, B. Su, P.i Cai, J. Li, Y. Liu, F. Tang, F. Zhang, Y. Yang, J. He, W. Ma, J. He, P. Wang, … P. Zhou*, Q. Jiang*, Z. Huang*, J-X Bei*, L. Wei*, X-W Bian*, X. Liu*, T Cheng*, X. Li*, P. Zhao*, F-S Wang*, H. Wang*, B. Su*, Z. Zhang*, K. Qu*, X. Wang*, J. Chen*, R. Jin*, and Z. Zhang*, (2021) COVID-19 immune features revealed by a large-scale single cell transcriptome atlas, Cell, 184:1895-1913

L. Zhang, Z. Li, K. M. Skrzypczynska, Q. Fang, W. Zhang, S. A. O’Brien, Y. He, L. Wang, Q. Zhang, A. Kim, R. Gao, J. Orf, T. Wang, D. Sawant, J. Kang, D. Bhatt, D. Lu, C-M Li, A. Rapaport, K. Perez, Y. Ye, S. Wang, X. Hu, X. Ren, W. Ouyang, Z. Shen*, J. G. Egen*, Z Zhang*, and X. Yu*. (2020) Single-cell analyses inform mechanisms of myeloid-targeted therapies in colon cancer. Cell, 181:442-459

Q. Zhang, Y. He, N. Luo, S. J. Patel, Y. Han, R. Gao, M. Modak, S. Carotta, C. Haslinger, D. Kind, G. W. Peet, G. Zhong, S. Lu, W. Zhu, Y. Mao, M. Xiao, M. Bergmann, X. Hu, S. P. Kerkar, A. B. Vogt, S. Pflanz, K. Liu*, J. Peng*, X. Ren*, and Z. Zhang* (2019) Landscape and dynamics of single immune cells in hepatocellular carcinoma. Cell, 179:829-845.

L. Zhang, X. Yu, L. Zheng, Y. Zhang, Y. Li, Q. Fang, R. Gao, B. Kang, Q. Zhang, J.Y. Huang, H. Konno, X. Guo, Y. Ye, S. Gao, S. Wang, X. Hu, X. Ren, Z. Shen*, W. Ouyang*, and Z. Zhang*. (2018) Lineage tracking reveals dynamic relationships of T cells in colorectal cancer. Nature, 564:268-272

C. Zheng, L. Zheng, J.-K. Yoo, H. Guo, Y. Zhang, X. Guo, B. Kang, R. Hu, J. Y. Huang, Q. Zhang, Z. Liu, M. Dong, X. Hu, W. Ouyang*, J. Peng*, and Z. Zhang*. (2017) Landscape of infiltrating T cells in liver cancer revealed by single-cell sequencing. Cell, 169(7), 1342–13