Tongzhang Zheng, D.Sc., has been named the Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health. Zheng studies environmental pollution and human health, particularly in cancer epidemiology and etiology related to environmental hormone disruptors, genetic susceptibility, and the interaction of genes and the environment.
Zheng’s research emphasizes the role of organochlorine compounds—such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), and other pesticides—in the etiology of several major cancers in the United States, including breast, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, multiple myeloma, and testicular cancer.
Zheng has shown that immunosuppression due to increasing exposure to ultraviolet radiation and hair dye use may be partly responsible for a worldwide increase in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In addition, he has examined the relationship between circadian rhythm disruption and the risk of female breast cancer, and found evidence that exposure to a higher level of light at night increases risk of the disease.
Zheng has worked with numerous Chinese government officials and scientists to develop educational and research programs in China that have benefited Yale faculty and students. He helped develop three major cohort studies and a case-control study of liver cancer in China.
He is also the co-scientific director of two summer programs that train epidemiologists and biostatisticians worldwide. In 1992 he was chosen as Teacher of the Year by students at the School of Public Health.
Zheng received his doctorate from Harvard University.