Zia Khan

Genetics & Development Dr. Zia Khan
Associate Scientist


Associate Scientist, Division of Genetics & Development, Children's Health Research Institute
Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University
Associate Scientist, Metabolism & Diabetes Research Program, Lawson Health Research Institute

How does my research help children?

Research in my laboratory focuses on understanding how blood vessels form and how this process is disrupted in diseases.  In particular, my research team is studying the role of stem cells in a type of blood vessel formation called 'vasculo-genesis' in cancers of childhood and in diabetes.  The goal of my research is to apply the knowledge gained in the laboratory and help patients with diseases that are dependent on blood vessels.


Current Research

The focus of my research is on understanding the mechanisms of vascular repair and homeostasis with emphasis on vascular stem cell differentiation and postnatal blood vessel formation.  My research team uses in vitro and in vivo model systems to study the biology of primary vascular stem cells and to elucidate the signaling mechanisms.

There are two major research themes in my laboratory:

  1. Understanding the pathogenesis of infantile hemangioma
  2. Understanding the mechanisms of stem cell deficit in chronic diabetic complications

Awards & Grants


Funding in support of "Identifying mechanisms regulating hemangioma stem cell plasticity" - Awarded by Western University (Western Strategic Support for CIHR Success)

Funding in support of "Mechanism of action of current treatments for infantile hemangioma (IRF-46-13)" - Awarded by Lawson Health Research Institute (Lawson Research Fund)

Funding in support of "Vascular stem cells in diabetic complications" - Awarded by the Canadian Diabetes Association

Funding in support of "The effects of curcumin and its synthetic analogues on chronic diabetic complications" - Awarded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Recent Publications


Pathophysiological role of enhanced bone marrow adipogenesis in diabetic complications
Piccinin MA, Khan ZA
Adipocyte 3. 2014; 14-23

Switch from canonical to noncanonical Wnt signaling mediates high glucose-induced adipogenesis
Keats EC, Dominguez JM, Grant MB, Khan ZA
Stem Cells. 2014; 32:1649–1660

Propranolol inhibits growth of hemangioma-initiating cells but does not induce apoptosis
Kum JJY, Khan ZA
Pediatr Res. 2014; 75:381-388

Elevated T-box 2 in infantile hemangioma stem cells maintains an adipogenic differentiation-competent state
Todorovich SM, Khan ZA
Dermatoendocrinol. 2013; 5(3):352-357

Establishing an in vitro model of salivary gland tumors
McArthur K, Darling MR, Khan ZA
The Cutting Edge: a publication of the American Association of Pathologists Assistants. In press

Elevated IGF2 prevents leptin induction and terminal adipocyte differentiation in hemangioma stem cells
Kleiman A, Keats EC, Chan NG, Khan ZA
Exp Mol Pathol. 2013; 94:126-136

Expression of blood-brain barrier-specific antigens in non-brain derived endothelial cells despite lack of astrocyte interactions
MacDonald AJ, Khan ZA
Br J Med Med Res. 2013; 3:29-40



Phone: (519) 661-2111, x81562
Fax: (519) 661-3370
Email: zia [dot] khan [at] schulich [dot] uwo [dot] ca
Website: http://publish.uwo.ca/~zkhan5/index.html

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