UMass Boston


Kai Zou

Exercise & Health Science
Grad Prog Dir/Assoc Professor
Healey Library

Area of Expertise

Skeletal Muscle Physiology, Energy Metabolism, Metabolic Dysfunction Associated with Metabolic Diseases (Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes) and Cancer, The Role of Lifestyle Modification (Diet and Physical Activity) on Metabolic Health


PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Exercise Physiology)

MS, Beijing Sport University (Exercise Biochemistry)

BS, Beijing Sport University (Kinesiology)

Professional Publications & Contributions

Additional Information

* Please note that Dr. Zou will be accepting doctoral students for the Fall 2024 admissions cycle.

Dr. Zou has extensive research training in the field of skeletal muscle physiology and metabolism. His primary research interests lie in elucidating the mechanisms that contribute to dysregulated skeletal muscle metabolism, mitochondrial function and insulin resistance with metabolic diseases (e.g., obesity, type 2 diabetes) and how exercise counteracts with these defects. Dr. Zou's lab utilizes an integrative approach by combining animal models, human primary muscle cells, and human biopsy samples to address these important research questions. His current funded research project focuses on: 1) Investigating the role of mitochondrial dynamics in regulating skeletal muscle glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivity and exercise capacity in obesity and type 2 diabetes; 2) Investigating the effects of exercise training on mitochondrial quality control and the mechanisms behind in various disease models. The ultimate goal of his research program is to develop novel therapeutics in order to treat metabolic diseases and improve metabolic health.

Teaching Expertise

Obesity and Weight Management
Exercise Physiology

Professional Memberships/Affiliations

American College of Sports Medicine
American Physiological Society