Vanderbilt University
Institute of Imaging Science

Ping Zhao

Research Assistant III

Contact Information
(615) 343-2530


I am a molecular biologist with extensive experience in preclinical mouse models of cancer. For more than a decade, my research has supported the directions of what is now termed the Vanderbilt Center for Molecular Probes and I am happy to be a part of this exciting initiative and research program.


I am very interested in validating molecular imaging biomarkers of cancer and other diseases and frequently work as part of large, multi-investigator teams, such as Vanderbilt?s SPORE in GI Cancer. I am also interested in understanding how molecular imaging can be used to identify actionable events, as well as how imaging in general can be used to predict response to precision medicine early in the course of therapy.


McKinley ET, Zhao P, Coffey RJ, Washington MK, Manning HC. 3'-Deoxy-3'-[18F]-Fluorothymidine PET imaging reflects PI3K-mTOR-mediated pro-survival response to targeted therapy in colorectal cancer. PLoS One. 2014 Sep 23;9(9):e108193.

Powell AE, Vlacich G, Zhao ZY, McKinley ET, Washington MK, Manning HC, Coffey RJ. Inducible loss of one Apc allele in Lrig1-expressing progenitor cells results in multiple distal colonic tumors with features of familial adenomatous polyposis. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2014 Jul 1;307(1):G16-23.

Hight MR, Cheung YY, Nickels ML, Dawson ES, Zhao P, Saleh S, Buck JR, Tang D, Washington MK, Coffey RJ, Manning HC. A peptide-based positron emission tomography probe for in vivo detection of caspase activity in apoptotic cells. Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Apr 15;20(8):2126-35.

McKinley ET, Liu H, McDonald WH, Luo W, Zhao P, Coffey RJ, Hanks SK, Manning HC. Global phosphotyrosine proteomics identifies PKC? as a marker of responsiveness to Src inhibition in colorectal cancer. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 8;8(11):e80207.

McKinley ET, Ayers GD, Smith RA, Saleh SA, Zhao P, Washington MK, Coffey RJ, Manning HC. Limits of [18F]-FLT PET as a biomarker of proliferation in oncology. PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e58938.