Dr. Jia Zhu
I am currently a third-year clinical fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital, and I am excited to join the faculty as an attending physician as of July 1, 2021! My journey started at MIT where I discovered biology and genetics and wanted to apply science to medicine. In medical school at Harvard, I had the opportunity to work on a project investigating the genetics of delayed puberty, which inspired my interest in the genetics of endocrine disorders and solidified my plans to pursue a pediatrics residency at the Boston Combined Residency Program. Naturally, endocrinology fellowship followed my residency training and brings me to my current position!
My research interest is in the genetics of common endocrine disorders, in particular polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and dissecting the underlying biological pathways and molecular mechanisms through computational genetic methods. Clinically, I am interested the care and prevention of PCOS and the potential pediatric antecedents of PCOS (i.e., premature adrenarche). Medical student and residency education through interactive media is also an interest of mine, with my ultimate goal to inspire the next generation of pediatric endocrinologists! I have been very fortunate to have many mentors who inspired my current career path and were instrumental to help me develop the knowledge and skills for success! Dr. Stephanie Seminara introduced me to genetics and endocrinology in medical school. Drs. Laurie Cohen and Lori Laffel helped me build a strong statistical foundation through clinical research in residency. Drs. Joel Hirschhorn and Yee-Ming Chan introduced me to the field of complex trait genetics and computational analysis of biobank-level datasets in fellowship. Finally, Dr. Joseph Majzoub has provided career advice and support for a path in academic pediatric endocrinology since I was in medical school.
My inspiration for choosing pediatric endocrinology as a career was happiness! Whether it is thinking through a tough clinical case, seeing patients in clinic, or planning a research project to tackle an unknown question, I feel happy at the end of the day doing this work. And the most formative experiences that have led me to my current career path were challenges that I initially did not think I could overcome. Tackling the questions without answers (i.e., what causes PCOS?) or breaking into a completely new field or fields as a fellow (i.e., computational genetics) can feel daunting and even impossible. BUT, giving it a try and succeeding (or not) has always been a worthwhile learning experience and shaped where I am now.