Zhengqing Hu, M.D., Ph.D.

Zhengqing Hu, M.D., Ph.D.

Office: 313 577 0594Lab: 313-577-0675


Zhengqing Hu, M.D., Ph.D.

Position Title

Tenure, Research Educator Track, Full time

Office Address

252.1 Lande Bldg.
550 E. Canfield
Detroit, MI 48201

Links of Interest

Wayne State research may help pave the way to treat hearing loss

Otolaryngology’s Dr. Hu wins $1.6 million R01 grant for stem cell hearing restoration

Researcher wins grant for stem cell-based hearing restoration project


Narrative Bio

Dr. Zhengqing Hu is tenured Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Wayne State University School of Medicine.  He received his M.D. from Shanghai Medical University, Shanghai, China, followed by residency and fellowship training, together with a Ph.D. program focusing on neurotology and hearing research in HuaShan Hospital and EENT Hospital in Shanghai Medical University.  Dr. Hu became a facutly member and Attending Doctor in RenJi Hospital, Shanghai Second Medical University, Shanghai, China.  He went to Karolinksa Institute, Sweden for his second Ph.D. program focusing on cell replacement therapy for the inner ear, which was supported by the fellowships from Swedish Institute and Karolinska Institute-Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.  Dr. Hu attended University of Virginia for his postdoctoral training after completing his second PhD study.

Other Information

Ongoing Research Support

DoD grant Role: Zhengqing Hu, PhD - Principal Investigator
Title: Developing Therapeutic Approaches Targeting Spiral Ganglion-Cochlear Nucleus Synaptopathy Sponsor Name: Department of Defense
09/2023 - 08/2025
Total Award: $ 385,000 total award, Federal

VA SPiRE grant, Role: Zhengqing Hu, PhD - Principal Investigator,
Title: Regeneration of Auditory Synapses.
Sponsor Name: Veterans Affairs Merit Review (Parent I21)
07/2023 - 06/2025
Total Award: $ 230,000 direct cost, Federal

VA Merit grant (NIH R01 equivalent) Role: Zhengqing Hu, PhD - Principal Investigator,
Title: Developing novel stem cell-based approaches to treat hearing loss
Sponsor Name: Veterans Affairs Merit Review (Parent I01)
04/2023 - 03/2027
Total Award: $ 1,200,000 direct cost, Federal

Role: Principal Investigator, Percent Effort: 0 %
Title: Developing novel stem cell-based epigenetic approaches to treat hearing loss , WSU grant boost program, PI efforts not allowed
Sponsor Name: Wayne State University OVPR
07/2022 - 12/2023
Total Award: $ 35,000 , Institutional (Wayne State University)

2015-2023 Funded Grants

Role: Principal Investigator, Percent Effort: 16 % 5 R01 DC013275
Title: Regeneration of Auditory Synaptic Contacts Using Stem Cell Based Approaches
Sponsor Name: NIH & National Institute of Deafness & Other Comm. Disor. - NIDCD
05/01/2014 - 04/30/2021
Total Award: $ 1,615,000, Federal

Zhengqing Hu - PI. Developing novel stem cell-based epigenetic approaches to treat hearing loss
Veterans Affairs Merit Review (Parent I01) 10/01/2018-03/31/2023 Total direct cost $1,100,000

Zhengqing Hu - PI. NIDCD/NIH (1R03DC011597) 09/21/2011-08/31/2015 Reconstruction of the ascending neural circuit from the spiral ganglion to the cochlear nucleus in the presence of neurotrophins $456,000

Zhengqing Hu - PI. Wayne State University Grants Plus Grant 01/01/2015-06/30/2016 Generation of functional human hair cells from inner ear progenitors via genome-wide demethylation $100,000

Zhengqing Hu - PI.  Innervation of in vitro-produced hair cell by neural progenitor-derived neurons
The Deafness Research Foundation Year 2 Research Grant.  Direct cost $22,500, indirect cost $2,500

Zhengqing Hu - PI. Regeneration of the central processes of spiral ganglion neurons using a cell-based replacement
The American Hearing Research Foundation Research Grant.  Direct cost $20,000, no indirect cost

Zhengqing Hu - PI. Innervation of In Vitro-produced Hair Cell by Neural Progenitor-derived Glutamatergic Neurons”
The Deafness Research Foundation Year 1 Research Grant.  Direct cost $22,500, indirect cost $2,500     

Zhengqing Hu - PI. Implantation of inner ear-derived neural stem cell into the adult inner ear
The American Academy of Audiology.  Direct cost $10,000, no indirect cost

Zhengqing Hu - PI. Regeneration of auditory synapses for the treatment of hearing loss in children
The Carls Endowment Trust.  Direct cost $40,000, no indirect cost

Zhengqing Hu - PI. Generation of inner ear hair cell progenitors via epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition
Wayne State University Grants Plus.  Direct cost $100,000, no indirect cost

Zhengqing Hu - Co-PI. A flexible cochlear implant for high-resolution functional stimulation and for tissue regeneration (PI: Cheng, Engineering)
Wayne State University Grants Plus.  Direct cost $100,000, no indirect cost

Grant Support:
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Deafness Research Foundation
American Hearing Research Foundation
American Academy of Audiology
National Organization for Hearing Research Foundation  www.nohrfoundation.org
Grant Plus Program, Wayne State University
The Carls Foundation

Courses taught:
IBS7015 Interdisciplinary Molecular and Cellular Biology - Graduate course
PSL7700 Stem Cell Biology - Graduate course
PSL 6300 Biotechnology: Techniques and Applications - Graduate course
PSL 7640 Cell and Molecular Physiology - Graduate course
IBS7020 Cell Biology - Graduate course
PSL7996 Arranged Research - PhD student rotation
PSL5010 Undergraduate Student Rotation

Courses Directed:
PSL7700 Stem Cell Biology - Graduate course

Service (Study section and grant review committee member):
2011 Action on Hearing Loss, UK, ad hoc member
2012 Medical Research Council, UK, ad hoc member
2016 NIH/AUD, US, ad hoc member
2017 NIH/AUD, US, ad hoc member
2017 Medical Research Council, UK, ad hoc member
2018 Medical Research Council, UK, ad hoc member
2018 NIH/AUD, US, ad hoc member
2018 NIH/NIDCD Member Conflict Special Review Panel, US
2019 NIH/AUD, US, ad hoc member (February and October)
2019 Austrian Science Fund, Austria, ad hoc member
2020 HRRP, CDMRP, DoD, US, scientific reviewer
2020 NIH/NIDCD Member Conflict Special Review Panel, US
2021 HRRP, CDMRP, DoD, US, Scientific reviewer 
2022 VA, US, ad hoc member
2022 Medical Research Council, UK, ad hoc member
2022 NIH/AUD, US, ad hoc member



(last five years)

Deng X, Hu Z. Hearing Recovery Induced by DNA Demethylation in a Chemically Deafened Adult Mouse Model. Front Cell Neurosci. 2022;16:792089. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2022.792089. eCollection 2022. PubMed PMID: 35250483; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8891629.

Hu Z, Komal F, Singh A, Deng M. Generation of a Spiral Ganglion Neuron Degeneration Mouse Model. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021;9:761847. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2021.761847. eCollection 2021. PubMed PMID: 34778272; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8578993.

Hu Z, Singh A, Bojrab D 2nd, Sim N. Insights into the molecular mechanisms regulating mammalian hair cell regeneration. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021 Oct 1;29(5):400-406. doi: 10.1097/MOO.0000000000000752. Review. PubMed PMID: 34374666.

Hu Z, Tao L, Deng M. Postnatal Changes of Neural Stem Cells in the Mammalian Auditory Cortex. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Feb 4;22(4). doi: 10.3390/ijms22041550. PubMed PMID: 33557044; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7913836.

Deng X, Hu Z. Generation of Cochlear Hair Cells from Sox2 Positive Supporting Cells via DNA Demethylation. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(22). PubMed PMID: 33212773; PMCID: PMC7696585.

Hu Z, Tao L, Liu Z, Jiang Y, Deng X. Identification of Neural Stem Cells from Postnatal Mouse Auditory Cortex In Vitro. Stem Cells Dev. 2019;28(13):860-70. PubMed PMID: 31038014; PMCID: PMC6602114.

Deng X, Liu Z, Li X, Zhou Y, Hu Z. Generation of new hair cells by DNA methyltransferase (Dnmt) inhibitor 5-azacytidine in a chemically-deafened mouse model. Sci Rep. 2019;9(1):7997. PubMed PMID: 31142766; PMCID: PMC6541592.

Liu Z, Jiang Y, Li X, Hu Z. Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Peripheral Auditory Neurons Form Neural Connections with Mouse Central Auditory Neurons In Vitro via the alpha2delta1 Receptor. Stem Cell Reports. 2018;11(1):157-70. PubMed PMID: 29887365; PMCID: PMC6066995.

Liu Z, Hu Z. Aligned contiguous microfiber platform enhances neural differentiation of embryonic stem cells. Sci Rep. 2018;8(1):6087. PubMed PMID: 29666444; PMCID: PMC5904125.

Bojrab D, 2nd, Zhang B, Jiang H, Zhang L, Cohen DS, Luo X, Hu Z. Expression of Oligodendrocyte Marker during Peripheral-Central Transitional Zone Formation of the Postnatal Mouse Cochlear Nerve. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017;157(3):488-92. PubMed PMID: 28695768.

Hu Z, Liu Z, Li X, Deng X. Stimulation of synapse formation between stem cell-derived neurons and native brainstem auditory neurons. Sci Rep. 2017;7(1):13843. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-13764-8

Hellmer CB, Zhou Y, Fyk-Kolodziej B, Hu Z, Ichinose T. Morphological and physiological analysis of type-5 and other bipolar cells in the Mouse Retina. Neuroscience. 2016;315:246-58. PubMed PMID: 26704635; PMCID: PMC4715942.

Li X, Aleardi A, Wang J, Zhou Y, Andrade R, Hu Z. Differentiation of Spiral Ganglion-Derived Neural Stem Cells into Functional Synaptogenetic Neurons. Stem Cells Dev. 2016;25(10):803-13. PubMed PMID: 27021700; PMCID: PMC4870608.

Zhou Y, Hu Z. Epigenetic DNA Demethylation Causes Inner Ear Stem Cell Differentiation into Hair Cell-Like Cells. Front Cell Neurosci. 2016;10:185. PubMed PMID: 27536218; PMCID: PMC4971107.

Zhou Y, Hu Z. Genome-wide demethylation by 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine alters the cell fate of stem/progenitor cells. Stem Cell Rev Rep. 2015;11(1):87-95. PubMed PMID: 25096638; PMCID: PMC4320036.

Book Chapters

Hu Z. 2015. Inner ear stem cell niche, in “Tissue specific stem cell niche” Turksen K eds. Humana Press. PP45-68.

Hui Jiang, Xiaodong Sun, Lei Zhang, Mats Ulfendahl, Zhengqing Hu. A cell replacement therapy for sensory system, in "Usher syndrome: Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Therapy"


Hu lab explores cell-based biological and translational strategies to replace injured sensory cells to rescue hearing loss, one of the high-impact health problems. The lab focuses on inner ear developmental biology, cell biology, and translational research in the inner ear. Dr. Hu uses in vitro models to understand the mechanism of proliferation and differentiation of inner ear progenitor cells, intracellular pathways regulating ototoxicity and cell fate determination, and the innervation of the newly-generated sensory cells. In the in vivo models, Dr. Hu investigates the survival, differentiation, migration, integration, and function of the transplanted cells/neurons in the inner ear. The lab performs research in stem cell biology, molecular biology, immunocytochemistry, advanced microscopy, electrophysiology, inner ear transplantation, functional evaluation of hearing, and animal behavioral study. The long-term aim of the lab is to establish a new Biological-EAR model, which will provide a new treatment option for hearing loss patients in the future.

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