Doctor Phoebe Zhou

Doctor Phoebe Zhou

Research Support Program Fellow - Natural Products, Cardiovascular Disease and Mental Health,
NICM Health Research Institute


Dr Xian (Phoebe) Zhou is a Research Support Program Fellow at NICM Health Research Institute with a focus on natural products research, cardiovascular disease, and mental health. She joined NICM HRI in 2011 and plays an important role in strengthening the preclinical research program, focusing on synergistic mechanistic actions among constituents in complex herbal formulations.

Dr Zhou has developed several mathematical models that can be applied to quantify interaction (synergy and antagonistic) among bioactive molecules on the therapeutic targets including anti-inflammatory, apoptosis, and angiogenesis. Prior to her current role, Dr Zhou was the main investigator of an ARC project at NICM HRI which investigated the synergistic mechanism of functional foods. Her research demonstrated several herbal interventions with therapeutic potential against acute inflammation with a synergistic approach. The development of novel, optimal, and simplified compound formulations from her research also led to a commercial OTC product with a patented therapeutic claim for inflammatory-related conditions.

Dr Zhou has extended her research field to the development of novel herbal interventions against systemic inflammation related to bacterial and viral infection (human coronavirus). She also established a novel co-culture model that is practical and efficient for the quick drug screening for their anti-neuroinflammatory and neuroprotective activities. Dr Zhou is also interested in the mechanistic actions of herbal formulations for the prevention and treatment of post-stroke and diabetic-induced cognitive dysfunction through their action in reducing neuroinflammation and the regulation of gut microbiota via the gut-brain crosstalk.

She has been actively involved in numerous collaborative projects on quality control of herbal medicines, nomenclature compendium of Chinese herbal medicines, and development of drug-herb interaction online database.

This information has been contributed by Doctor Zhou.


  • PhD Western Sydney University


  • 2021 Research Support Program Fellowship, Western Sydney University 2021-06-22
  • 2021 Researcher Development Awards, Western Sydney University 2021-09-30
  • 2019 Improving Cardiovascular Outcome Network Early Career Researchers Program Award Recipient 2019-06-24

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • NICM Health Research Institute


Phone: (02) 9685 4741
Location: J.1.33

PLEASE NOTE: obtaining information from this Directory must be for the legitimate purposes of doing business with and within Western Sydney University, and must not be used for unsolicited bulk e-mailing (spamming) or similar purposes.


Chapters in Books

  • Bhuyan, D., Perera, S., Kaur, K., Alsherbiny, M., Low, M., Seto, S., Li, C. and Zhou, X. (2020), 'Synergistic effects of Chinese herbal medicine and biological networks', Approaching Complex Diseases: Network-Based Pharmacology and Systems Approach in Bio-Medicine, Springer 9783030328566.
  • Li, G., Wong, K., Kam, A., Zhou, X., Omar, E., Alqahtani, A., Li, K., Razmovski-Naumovski, V. and Chan, K. (2012), 'Anti-inflammatory nutraceuticals and herbal medicines for the management of metabolic syndrome', Chronic Inflammation: Molecular Pathophysiology, Nutritional and Therapeutic Interventions, CRC Press 9781439872116.
  • Li, G., Kam, A., Wong, K., Zhou, X., Omar, E., Alqahtani, A., Li, K., Razmovski-Naumovski, V. and Chan, K. (2012), 'Herbal medicines for the management of diabetes ', Diabetes : an Old Disease, a New Insight, Springer 9781461454403.

Journal Articles

  • Mathew, S., Zhang, K., Zhou, X., Muench, G., Bodkin, F., Li, F. and Raju, R. (2023), 'Myrtinols A-F : new anti-inflammatory peltogynoid flavonoid derivatives from the leaves of Australian Indigenous plant Backhousia myrtifolia', Molecules, vol 28, no 5 .
  • Wang, P., Li, C., Zhou, X. and Ding, S. (2022), 'Transcription factor EB enhances autophagy and ameliorates palmitate-induced insulin resistance at least partly via upregulating AMPK activity in skeletal muscle cells', Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, vol 49, no 2 , pp 302 - 310.
  • Zhou, X., Venigalla, M., Raju, R. and Muench, G. (2022), 'Pharmacological considerations for treating neuroinflammation with curcumin in Alzheimer's disease', Journal of Neural Transmission, vol 129, no 5-6 , pp 755 - 771.
  • Zheng, Y., Zhou, X., Wang, C., Zhang, J., Chang, D., Zhuang, S., Xu, W., Chen, Y., Wang, X., Nan, L., Sun, Y., Lin, X., Lin, W., He, C., Dai, L., Zhang, J., Chen, J., Shi, H. and Huang, M. (2022), 'Effect of dendrobium mixture in alleviating diabetic cognitive impairment associated with regulating gut microbiota', Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy, vol 149 .
  • Wang, P., Li, C., Zhou, X., Cui, D., Ouyang, T., Chen, W. and Ding, S. (2022), 'A single bout of exhaustive treadmill exercise increased AMPK activation associated with enhanced autophagy in mice skeletal muscle', Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, vol 49, no 4 , pp 536 - 543.
  • Zhou, X., Afzal, S., Wohlmuth, H., Muench, G., Leach, D., Low, M. and Li, C. (2022), 'Synergistic anti-inflammatory activity of ginger and turmeric extracts in inhibiting lipopolysaccharide and interferon-y-induced proinflammatory mediators', Molecules, vol 27, no 12 .
  • Chen, J., Tian, X., Liu, W., Wu, B., Wu, Y., Zhu, M., Liu, J., Zhou, X., Zheng, Y., Ma, X. and Huang, M. (2022), 'Importance of gedunin in antagonizing rheumatoid arthritis via activating the Nrf2/ARE signaling', Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, .
  • Hossain, S., Yousaf, M., Liu, Y., Chang, D. and Zhou, X. (2022), 'An overview of the evidence and mechanism of drug-herb interactions between propolis and pharmaceutical drugs', Frontiers in Pharmacology, vol 13 .
  • Zhou, X., Muench, G., Wohlmuth, H., Afzal, S., Kao, M., Al-Khazaleh, A., Low, M., Leach, D. and Li, C. (2022), 'Synergistic inhibition of pro-inflammatory pathways by ginger and turmeric extracts in RAW 264.7 cells', Frontiers in Pharmacology, vol 13 .
  • Zheng, Y., Zhou, X., Wang, C., Zhang, J., Chang, D., Liu, W., Zhu, M., Zhuang, S., Shi, H., Wang, X., Chen, Y., Cheng, Z., Lin, Y., Nan, L., Sun, Y., Min, L., Liu, J., Chen, J., Zhang, J. and Huang, M. (2022), 'Effect of Tanshinone IIA on gut microbiome in diabetes-induced cognitive impairment', Frontiers in Pharmacology, vol 13 .
  • Mathew, S., Zhou, X., Muench, G., Bodkin, F., Wallis, M., Li, F. and Raju, R. (2022), 'Tristaenone A : a new anti-inflammatory compound isolated from the Australian Indigenous plant Tristaniopsis laurina', Molecules, vol 27, no 19 .
  • Zhou, X., Razmovski-Naumovski , V., Mendoza, R., Truong, J. and Chan, K. (2022), 'A comparative study of Salvia miltiorrhiza Radix & Rhizoma raw material and granule products using chromatographic analysis and antioxidant activity', Journal of Traditional Chinese Medical Sciences, vol 9, no 3 , pp 311 - 320.
  • Yousaf, M., Chang, D., Liu, Y., Liu, T. and Zhou, X. (2022), 'Neuroprotection of cannabidiol, its synthetic derivatives and combination preparations against microglia-mediated neuroinflammation in neurological disorders', Molecules, vol 27, no 15 .
  • Shahbaz, K., Chang, D., Zhou, X., Low, M., Seto, S. and Li, C. (2022), 'Crocins for ischemic stroke : a review of current evidence', Frontiers in Pharmacology, vol 13 .
  • Yousaf, M., Razmovski-Naumovski, V., Zubair, M., Chang, D. and Zhou, X. (2022), 'Synergistic effects of natural product combinations in protecting the endothelium against cardiovascular risk factors', Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, vol 27 .
  • Zheng, Y., Zhou, X., Chang, D., Bhuyan, D., Zhang, J., Yu, W., Jiang, X., Seto, S., Yeon, S., Li, J. and Li, C. (2021), 'A novel tri-culture model for neuroinflammation', Journal of Neurochemistry, vol 156, no 2 , pp 249 - 261.
  • Bhuyan, D., Alsherbiny, M., Low, M., Zhou, X., Kaur, K., Li, G. and Li, C. (2021), 'Broad-spectrum pharmacological activity of Australian propolis and metabolomic-driven identification of marker metabolites of propolis samples from three continents', Food and Function, vol 12, no 6 , pp 2498 - 2519.
  • Yang, G., Sabag, A., Hao, W., Zhang, L., Jia, M., Dai, N., Zhang, H., Ayati, Z., Cheng, Y., Zhang, C., Zhang, X., Bu, F., Wen, M., Zhou, X., Liu, J., Wayne, P., Ee, C., Chang, D., Kiat, H., Hunter, J. and Bensoussan, A. (2021), 'Tai Chi for health and well-being : a bibliometric analysis of published clinical studies between 2010 and 2020', Complementary Therapies in Medicine, vol 60 .
  • Huang, Z., Zhou, X., Zhang, X., Huang, L., Sun, Y., Cheng, Z., Xu, W., Li, C., Zheng, Y. and Huang, M. (2021), 'Pien-Tze-Huang, a Chinese patent formula, attenuates NLRP3 inflammasome-related neuroinflammation by enhancing autophagy via the AMPK/mTOR/ULK1 signaling pathway', Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy, vol 141 .
  • Zhou, X., Fu, L., Wang, P., Yang, L., Zhu, X. and Li, C. (2021), 'Drug-herb interactions between Scutellaria baicalensis and pharmaceutical drugs : insights from experimental studies, mechanistic actions to clinical applications', Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy, vol 138 .
  • Adhikari, U., Sakiz, E., Zhou, X., Habiba, U., Kumar, S., Mikhael, M., Senesi, M., Li, C., Guillemin, G., Ooi, L., David, M., David, M., Collins, S., Karl, T. and Tayebi, M. (2021), 'Cross-linking cellular prion protein induces neuronal type 2-like hypersensitivity', Frontiers in Immunology, vol 12 .
  • Zhou, X., Power, D., Jones, A., Acquaviva, A., Dennis, G., Shalliker, R., Li, C. and Soliven, A. (2021), 'Antioxidant profiling of ginger via reaction flow chromatography', Natural Product Communications, vol 16, no 9 , pp 1 - 6.
  • Zhou, X., Afzal, S., Zheng, Y., Muench, G. and Li, C. (2021), 'Synergistic protective effect of curcumin and resveratrol against oxidative stress in endothelial EAhy926 cells', Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol 2021 .
  • Razmovski-Naumovski, V., Zhou, X., Wong, H., Kam, A., Pearson, J. and Chan, K. (2020), 'Chromatographic, chemometric and antioxidant assessment of the equivalence of granules and herbal materials of Angelicae Sinensis Radix', Medicines, vol 7, no 6 .
  • Zhou, X., Afzal, S., Muench, G., Razmovski-Naumovski, V. and Li, C. (2020), 'Combined effect of 2 nutraceuticals, curcumin and resveratrol on the activation of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2', Global Advances in Health and Medicine, vol 9 , pp 49 - 49.
  • Zhou, X., Li, C., Chang, D. and Bensoussan, A. (2019), 'Current status and major challenges to the safety and efficacy presented by Chinese herbal medicine', Medicines, vol 6, no 1 .
  • Zhou, X., Razmovski-Naumovski, V., Kam, A., Chang, D., Li, C., Chan, K. and Bensoussan, A. (2019), 'Synergistic study of a Danshen (Salvia Miltiorrhizae Radix et Rhizoma) and Sanqi (Notoginseng Radix et Rhizoma) combination on cell survival in EA.hy926 cells', BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol 19 .
  • Seto, S., Chang, D., Ko, W., Zhou, X., Kiat, H., Bensoussan, A., Lee, S., Hoi, M., Steiner, G. and Liu, J. (2017), 'Sailuotong prevents hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced injury in EA.hy926 cells', International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol 18, no 1 .
  • Zhou, X., Razmovski-Naumovski, V., Kam, A., Chang, D., Li, C., Bensoussan, A. and Chan, K. (2017), 'Synergistic effects of Danshen (Salvia Miltiorrhizae Radix et Rhizoma) and Sanqi (Notoginseng Radix et Rhizoma) combination in angiogenesis behavior in EAhy 926 cells', Medicines, vol 4, no 4 .
  • Zhou, X., Seto, S., Chang, D., Kiat, H., Razmovski-Naumovski, V., Chan, K. and Bensoussan, A. (2016), 'Synergistic effects of Chinese herbal medicine : a comprehensive review of methodology and current research', Frontiers in Pharmacology, vol 7 .
  • Zhou, X., Razmovski-Naumovski, V., Chang, D., Li, C., Kam, A., Low, M., Bensoussan, A. and Chan, K. (2016), 'Synergistic effects of Danshen (Salvia Miltiorrhiza Radix et Rhizoma) and Sanqi (Notoginseng Radix et Rhizoma) combination in inhibiting inflammation mediators in RAW264.7 cells', BioMed Research International, vol 2016 .
  • Luo, C., Liu, X., Zhou, X., Guo, J., Truong, J., Wang, X., Zhou, H., Li, X. and Chen, Z. (2015), 'Unusual biosynthesis and structure of locillomycins from Bacillus subtilis 916', Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol 81, no 19 , pp 6601 - 6609.
  • Kam, A., Razmovski-Naumovski, V., Zhou, X., Truong, J. and Chan, K. (2015), 'Nucleoside transport inhibition by dipyridamole prevents angiogenesis impairment by homocysteine and adenosine', Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, vol 18, no 5 , pp 871 - 881.
  • Li, X., Zhu, X., Ren, J., Zhou, X., Liu, J. and Bensoussan, A. (2014), 'Impact of Chinese herbal medicine on survival, relapse and metastasis in women with breast cancer : a systematic review of randomized controlled trial', The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol 20, no 5 , pp 62 - 62.
  • Razmovski-Naumovski, V., Zhou, X., Grace, R., Wong, H., Lee, S. and Chan, K. (2014), 'Similarity and difference in chemical profile and antioxidant activity between Chinese materia medica decoction pieces and their aqueous granules : Danggui, Danshen and Sanqi', European Journal of Integrative Medicine, vol 6, no 1 , pp 127 - 128.
  • Truong, J., Razmovski-Naumovski, V., Zhou, X., Khoo, C. and Chan, K. (2014), 'A comparative study on the antioxidant activity of Zingiberis Rhizoma raw herb and granule', European Journal of Integrative Medicine, vol 6, no 6 , pp 733 - 733.

Current Projects

Title: Development of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant cellular extract combinations from Australian native plants via a synergistic approach
  • Native Extracts Pty Ltd
Western Researchers: Phoebe Zhou, Gerald Muench and Dennis Chang
Years: 2022-12-01 - 2023-10-01
ID: P00028398
Title: Annual Review of Nomenclature Compendium
  • Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
Western Researchers: Phoebe Zhou and Chun Guang Li
Years: 2021-12-01 - 2024-12-01
ID: P00027684
Title: The mechanistic study of Nao Xin Qing in regulating insomnia related neurotransmittors
  • Hutchison Whampoa Guangzhou Baiyunshan Chinese Medicine Co. Ltd
Western Researchers: Phoebe Zhou and Dennis Chang
Years: 2021-12-01 - 2023-07-01
ID: P00027729

Previous Projects

Title: Eucalypt bioactivity screening
  • Forico Pty Ltd
Western Researchers: Mitchell Low and Phoebe Zhou
Years: 2017-08-22 - 2019-04-15
ID: P00024575
Title: Annual Update of the Nomenclature Compendium for commonly used Chinese herbal medicines
  • Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
Western Researchers: Chun Guang Li, Phoebe Zhou and Xiaoshu Zhu
Years: 2018-04-30 - 2022-04-30
ID: P00024727
Title: Combined effects of curcumin and resveratrol on endothelial cell survival against oxidative stress
  • NSW Government Health
Western Researchers: Phoebe Zhou and Chun Guang Li
Years: 2019-07-19 - 2022-12-31
ID: P00025954


Current Supervision

Thesis Title: Identification of key contributing compounds for synergistic anti-inflammatory interactions between Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) and Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) in vitro.
Field of Research: Pharmacology; Other Health; Chemical Sciences, N.e.c.; Biochemistry And Cell Biology
Thesis Title: Design and Synthesis of New Metalloligands
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: NICM Bush Medicine Scholarship
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: MRES International coursework
Field of Research:

Western Sydney University

Locked Bag 1797
Penrith NSW 2751

Tel: +61 2 9852 5222

ABN 53 014 069 881
CRICOS Provider No: 00917k