Dr. Zheng is a Professor of Toxicology and University Faculty Scholar at Purdue University. Dr. Zheng is a researcher in the fields of metal-induced neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and essential tremors. Dr. Zheng received his B.S. and M.S. from Zhejiang University and his Ph.D. from University of Arizona. He held a joint appointment as an Assistant Professor (1993-2000) and later Associate Professor (2000-2003) in School of Public Health and College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York City. He came to Purdue University in 2003 and became a Full Professor in 2006. On Sept 1, 2008, Dr. Zheng assumed the leadership as the Head of the School of Health Sciences, an academic unit that comprises more than 25 faculty and staff, 550 undergraduate majors, and 40 graduate students, in West Lafayette, Indiana, USA.
During his tenure at Columbia and now at Purdue, his research team has conducted a pioneer investigation exploring contributions of the brain barrier system, especially the blood-CSF barrier, in chemical-induced neurodegenerative disorders. He is specialized in manganese (Mn) - induced parkinsonism, lead (Pb) - induced learning defects, brain clearance of beta-amyloids in Alzheimer's disease, and chelating therapy of metal toxicities. His research investigates the molecular mechanism by which iron (Fe) and copper (Cu) are transported by the brain barriers and how environmental exposure to toxic metal Mn may alter these processes and lead to neurodegenerative injury. Since 2004, Dr. Zheng has translated his research to human population aiming at discovery of biomarkers for Mn-induced parkinsonism and the therapeutic treatment for manganism parkinsonian patients. He has authored one book, 135 original research papers, book chapters, and review articles, with more than 155 accepted research abstracts and meeting proceedings. His research has been supported by National Institute of Health (NIH) grants, U.S. Dept of Defense (DOD) contracts, and other awards from pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly.
Dr. Zheng has been serving as the member of the Editorial Board of Experimental Biology and Medicine, Journal of Toxicology, Fluids and Barriers of CNS, and Toxicology Letters (2004-2008). He was a standing member of NIH/Environmental Health Sciences Review Committee (2003-2007) and currently is a standing member of NIH/Neurotoxicology and Alcohol study section (2008-2012), two expert panels that evaluate and recommend federal research funds. He also serves as a neurotoxicology consultant to both pharmaceutical industry and law firms for brain bioavailability of neurotoxicants or drugs. He is active in the Society of Toxicology (SOT), the Society for Neurosciences (SFN), and the International Association of Neurotoxicology (INA).