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Bei B Zhang

Vice President, Metabolic Research


Bei B. Zhang is Vice President of Metabolic Research at Pfizer Worldwide Research, Development & Medical in Cambridge, MA. Since joining the Internal Medicine Research Unit in May 2017, she has been leading the research effort ranging from diabetes, cardiometabolism, and cachexia to technology platforms. In 2010 – 2017, Dr. Zhang was Vice President at Eli Lilly & Company and the founding General Manager and Site Head of the Lilly China Research and Development Center (LCRDC) in Shanghai, where she led the site to develop strategic vision and a pipeline of innovative drug candidates. Prior to joining Lilly, Dr. Zhang was the Franchise Site Lead of diabetes discovery research in Merck Research Laboratories in Rahway, New Jersey. Dr. Zhang played a key role in the discovery, development, and global launches of sitagliptin (JANUVIA®) as a novel blockbuster for diabetes. She led teams to bring numerous drug candidates from the laboratory to clinical testing and human proof-of-concept during her tenure at Merck.

Dr. Zhang has an excellent track record of scientific accomplishment, illustrated by lectures at numerous scientific conferences and over 140 original articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Science, Nature Medicine, Cell Metabolism, and the Journal of Clinical Investigation. She is regarded as a leading expert in the field of metabolism and in drug discovery and development. Dr. Zhang was elected to the Board of Directors of Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology in 2013, and she also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of Keystone Symposia. Dr. Zhang received her Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Indiana University School of Medicine. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University School of Medicine. She is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program (AMP187) of Harvard Business School.


Various disease areas with metabolic derangements as underlying causes, including cachexia, diabetes, CVD


  • Bei Zhang, Gino Salituro, Deborah Szalkowski, Zhihua Li, Yan Zhang, Inmaculada Royo, Dolores Vilella, Maria Teresa Díez, Fernando Pelaez, Caroline Ruby, Richard L. Kendall, Xianzhi Mao, Patrick Griffin, Jimmy Calaycay, Juleen R. Zierath, James V. Heck, Roy G. Smith, David E. Moller. Discovery of a Small Molecule Insulin Mimetic with Antidiabetic Activity in Mice. Science 284, 974-977 (1999)
  • James Mu, Aleksandr Petrov, George J. Eiermann, John Woods, Yun-Ping Zhou, Zhihua Li, Emanuel Zycband, Yue Feng, Lan Zhu, Ranabir Sinha Roy, Andrew D. Howard, Cai Li, Nancy A. Thornberry, Bei B. Zhang. Inhibition of DPP-4 with sitagliptin improves glycemic control and restores islet cell mass and function in a rodent model of type 2 diabetes. Eu. J. Pharmacology. 25:148-54 (2009)
  • Mu J, Qureshi SA, Brady EJ, Muise ES, Candelore MR, Jiang G, Li Z, Wu MS, Yang X, Dallas-Yang Q, Miller C, Xiong Y, Langdon RB, Parmee ER, Zhang BB. Anti-Diabetic Efficacy and Impact on Amino Acid Metabolism of GRA1, a Novel Small-Molecule Glucagon Receptor Antagonist. PLoS One. 7(11):e49572 (2012)
  • Emmerson PJ, Wang F, Du Y, Liu Q, Pickard RT, Gonciarz MD, Coskun T, Hamang MJ, Sindelar DK, Ballman KK, Foltz LA, Muppidi A, Alsina-Fernandez J, Barnard GC, Tang JX, Liu X, Mao X, Siegel R, Sloan JH, Mitchell PJ, Zhang BB, Gimeno RE, Shan B, Wu X. The metabolic effects of GDF15 are mediated by the orphan receptor GFRAL. Nature Medicine 10:1215-1219, (2017)
  • Patel S, Alvarez-Guaita A, Melvin A, Rimmington D, Dattilo A, Miedzybrodzka EL, Cimino I, Maurin AC, Roberts GP, Meek CL, Virtue S, Sparks LM, Parsons SA, Redman LM, Bray GA, Liou AP, Woods RM, Parry SA, Jeppesen PB, Kolnes AJ, Harding HP, Ron D, Vidal-Puig A, Reimann F, Gribble FM, Hulston CJ, Farooqi IS, Fafournoux P, Smith SR, Jensen J, Breen D, Wu Z, Zhang BB, Coll AP, Savage DB, O'Rahilly S. GDF15 Provides an Endocrine Signal of Nutritional Stress in Mice and Humans. Cell Metab. 5;29(3):707-718 (2019)


Fudan University, B.S.
Indiana University, Ph.D.
Stanford University, Postdoctoral Fellowship
Harvard Business School, Advanced Management Program (AMP187)

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Kendra K. Bence, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Metabolism

William C. Sessa, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Internal Medicine Research Unit