Associate Professor

E-mail: jzheng@shsmu.edu.cn


Jiali Zheng is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine (SJTUSM) which is located in the business center of Shanghai in China. Dr. Zheng is a member of Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health since 2019, and active member of American Society for Nutrition and American Association for Cancer Research. In 2019, she was nominated as MD Anderson Cancer Center Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow in Cancer Prevention after she completed her 2-year postdoc training, and she has previously been awarded several US national-level scholarships and student fellowships in cancer prevention.

Dr. Zheng received her PhD degree in Epidemiology from University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina, USA (2013-2017) and completed her postdoctoral training in Nutrition and Cancer prevention at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas before she joined SJTUSM in 2020. Before going abroad for graduate study, Jiali had her Bachelor degree in Nutrition from SJTUSM, a top-five university in the whole nation. Starting from graduate school, she has been keeping her research area in dietary patterns (especially dietary inflammatory index, DII) and its interaction with other inflammation related lifestyle factors with digestive cancer risk, and explored the underlying pathways through various perspectives, including gut microbiome, biomarker mediators as well as gene-diet interaction. Previously she investigated DII and pancreatic cancer in two US national level cancer cohorts (NIH-AARP study and Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial), and identified different directions of associations compared to previous case-control studies on this topic, so far these two studies have been cited for more than 50 times, she also investigated post-diagnostic DII and mortality outcomes in different types of cancer survivors. The paper entitled “Association between post-cancer diagnosis dietary inflammatory potential and mortality among invasive breast cancer survivors in the Women’s Health Initiative” got heated attentions by several conferences and medias. She was interviewed by AICR conference in 2016 and awarded top abstract among junior investigators in the American Society of Preventive Oncology conference. This paper was also commented as one of the most read papers in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention in 2018. After Dr. Zheng joined SJTUSM, she incorporated more lifestyle factors into study, including psychological factors, and investigated how diet may interact with other inflammatory lifestyles to increase digestive disease and cancer risk. She has secured two grants on the national and provisional level to investigate inflammatory dietary patterns in relation to esophagitis and esophageal cancers, as well as non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases.

Research areas

  • Inflammation-related Dietary patterns and entire lifestyle pattern in relation to chronic inflammation and inflammation-related cancers or precancerous diseases or stages, with a primary focus on digestive cancers.

  • Exploration of molecular pathways underlying dietary patterns and NAFLD/other liver diseases in the NAFLD-To-HCC pathway, including intermediate metabolomics, gut microbiome, blood/urine biomarkers and inflammatory SNPs

  • Diet and mental health relationship and how dietary factors mitigate or promote the psychological effect on digestive diseases


  1. Zheng J#, Zhu T#, Yang G, Zhao L, Li F, Park YM, Tabung FK, Steck SE, Li X*, Wang H*. 2022. The isocaloric substitution of plant-based and animal-based protein in relation to aging-related health outcomes: A systematic review. Nutrients. 14(2): 272

  2. Zheng J, Daniel CR, Hatia RI, Stuff J, Abdelhakeem AA, Rashid A, Chun YS, Jalal PK, Kaseb AO, Li D, Hassan, MM. 2021. Dietary N-Nitroso Compounds and Risk of Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A US-Based Study. Hepatology. 74(6):3161-3173. doi:10.1002/hep.32046

  3. Zheng J#, Li J#, Pei T, Zhu T, Cheong IH, Li S, Wang X, Hall BJ, Li X*, Wang H*. 2022. Depressive symptoms and chronic lung disease in middle-aged and older Chinese adults: prospective bidirectional association and mediation analysis. J Affect Disord. 297:283-293. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2021.10.023.

  4. Spencer CN, McQuade JL, Gopalakrishnan V, McCulloch JA, Vetizou M, Cogdill AP, Khan AW, Zhang X, White MG, Peterson C, Wong MC, Morad G, Rodgers T, Badger JH, Helmink BA, Andrews MC, Rodrigues RR, Morgun A, Kim YS, Roszik J, Hoffman KL, Zheng J, et al. 2021. Dietary fiber and probiotics impact the gut microbiome and melanoma immunotherapy response. Science. 374 (6575):1632-1640

  5. Li D*, Zheng J, Hatia R, Hassan M, Daniel CR*. 2022. Dietary intake of fatty acids and risk of pancreatic cancer: a case-control study. Journal of Nutrition. 152 (2): 439-447. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxab372

  6. Zheng J, Hoffman KL, Chen JS, Shivappa N, Sood A, Browman GJ, Dirba DD, Hanash S, Wei P, Hebert J, Petrosino JF, Schembre SM, Daniel-MacDougall CR. 2020. Dietary inflammatory potential in relation to the gut microbiome: results from a cross-sectional study. Br J Nutr. 124(9):931-942. doi: 10.1017/S0007114520001853. PMCID: PMC7554089

  7. Zheng J, Wirth MD, Merchant AT, Zhang J, Shivappa N, Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ, Hebert JR, Steck SE. 2019. Inflammatory potential of diet, inflammation-related lifestyle factors and risk of pancreatic cancer: results from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 28(7):1266-1270. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-0250. PMC6606345

  8. Zheng J, Tabung FK, Zhang J, Murphy EA, Shivappa N, Ockene JK, Caan B, Kroenke CH, Hébert JR, Steck SE. 2020. Post-cancer diagnosis dietary inflammatory potential is associated with survival among women diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the Women’s Health Initiative. Eur J Nutr. 59(3): 965–977. doi: 10.1007/s00394-019-01956-z/. PMC6778721

  9. Zheng J, Stuff J, Tang H, Hassan MM, Daniel CR, Li D. 2019. Dietary N-nitroso compounds and risk of pancreatic cancer: results from a large case-control study. Carcinogenesis. 40(2):254-262. https://doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgy169. PMC6487678

  10. Zheng J, Tabung FK, Zhang JJ, Shivappa N, Ockene JK, Caan B, Kroenke CH, Hebert JR, Steck SE. 2018. Association between post-cancer diagnosis dietary inflammatory potential and mortality among invasive breast cancer survivors in the Women’s Health Initiative. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 27(4):454-463. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-17-0569. PMC29358225

  11. Zheng J, Merchant AT, Wirth MD, Zhang J, Antwi SO, Shoaibi A, Shivappa N, Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ, Hebert JR, Steck SE. 2018. Inflammatory potential of diet and risk of pancreatic cancer in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial. International Journal of Cancer. 142(12):2461-2470.  doi: 10.1002/ijc.31271. PMC29355939

  12. Zheng J, Guinter MA, Merchant AT, Wirth MD, Zhang J, Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ, Steck SE. 2017. Dietary patterns and risk of pancreatic cancer: A systematic review. Nutr Rev. 75(11):883-908. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nux038. PMC5914454

  13. Zheng J, Tabung FK, Zhang  JJ, Shivappa N, Ockene JK, Caan B, Kroenke C, Hebert JR, Steck SE. 2016. Association between post-cancer diagnosis dietary inflammatory potential and survival in WHI Observational Study and Dietary Modification Trial. (Abstract)