Zhengming Chen - Biography#

Professor Chen has conducted some of the world’s most influential clinical trials and cohort studies, with major public health and clinical importance. His 20,000 patient trial demonstrated the benefits of early aspirin in acute stroke. His 46,000 patient trial showed dual-antiplatelet therapy superior to aspirin in acute MI, leading to new FDA labelling for clopidogrel. The MI trial also showed the beneficial and harmful effects of early beta-blockade, leading to better clinical use. These trials changed international guidelines, saving many lives worldwide.

He was among the first to argue for aggressive cholesterol lowering. His earlier cohort study in China showed a continuous positive association of CHD risk with blood cholesterol, even well below “normal” levels in the West. This informed the design of subsequent statin trials (eg, HPS, ASCOT) which went to demonstrate benefit of LDL-C lowering at all Western levels. His nationwide studies documented the growing epidemic of tobacco-attributed male deaths in China, influencing tobacco legislation. His recent work on COVID-19 has informed WHO’s investigation into the origin of pandemic.

Most notably, he initiated, designed and leads the China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB) of 512,000 adults, which has attracted >800 researchers globally through open data access and contributed to >60 consortia. This and UK Biobank (which was partly modelled on CKB) are among the world’s best such studies. CKB is now yielding many novel findings about causes of major diseases. Using genetic approaches, his work was the first in the world to reliably refute any apparent causal protective effects of moderate alcohol intake against stroke, a policy-relevant finding. His genetic work also found that increased HDL-C does not necessarily imply decreased CVD risk. He demonstrated the substantial adverse effects of poorly-managed diabetes on many conditions, leading WHO’s then Director-General to call editorially for improved diabetes care.

He leads >100 people with a broad range of research activities. He has published >475 papers, with 270 since 2017. His 10 selected papers (5 Lancet, 1 JAMA, 1 NEJM, 1 Nature Med, 2 BMJ) have been cited 6685 times. His expertise and achievements are recognised internationally, with membership of many committees, invited talks, and honorary professorships.

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