Phoebe Zhou

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PhD, MHM, BPharma
Research Support Program Fellow - Natural Products, Cardiovascular Disease and Mental Health
International Engagement Coordinator

Dr. Xian (Phoebe) Zhou, a Research Support Program Fellow at NICM Health Research Institute, specializes in natural products, cardiovascular health, and mental well-being. Since joining in 2011, she has enhanced preclinical research, particularly in complex herbal formulations' synergistic mechanisms.

The complex and multi-component nature of herbal medicine poses significant challenges for the study of their safety, efficacy and mechanisms of action. Dr Zhou’s research is dedicated to tackling these scientific issues. She has established herself as one of leading researchers in the area of herbal medicine synergy research by developing cellular models and computer programs that can be applied to characterise interactions (synergy or antagonistic) among bioactive molecules on the therapeutic targets including anti-inflammatory, apoptosis, and angiogenesis.

Dr Zhou is an industry fellow who has demonstrated strong leadership in industry engagement, actively developing and maintaining collaborations with the numerous national and international industry partners. Her research guide industry partners in their R&D efforts to explore new therapeutic claims and strengthen scientific evidence for existing herbal and natural products. 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.

Dr Zhou has also played a leadership role within NICM HRI in developing international partnerships. In her role as the NICM HRI’s International Engagement Coordinator, she has been dedicated to building and strengthening international partnerships and have successfully established several productive collaborations mainly in China and Indonesia.

Research focus

  • Pharmacological activity of natural products
  • Synergistic mechanisms
  • Drug-herb interaction
  • Acute and systemic inflammation
  • Neuroinflammation and neuroprotection
  • Gut-brain axis

Awards and recognitions

  • 2023 ISCMR Scientific Article Prize for the best article in the filed of Traditional, Complementary, and Integrative Medicine in 2020 to 2021
  • 2023 Inaugural Western Ventures Award, 2023 WSU Research Impact Competition
  • 2023 NSW Cardiovascular Research Network (CVRN) Professional Development Award, NSW CVRN
  • 2022 Young Achiever of the Year Award, Complementary Medicines Australia
  • 2022 Industry Fellowship, Western Sydney University & Soho Flordis International
  • 2021 Research Support Program Fellowship, Western Sydney University
  • 2021 ECR Researcher Development Awards, Western Sydney University
  • 2019 Improving Cardiovascular Outcome Network Early Career Researchers Program Award Recipient
  • 2014 Best Publication Award, NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University
  • 2015 Best Publication Award, NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University
  • 2013-2016 International Postgraduate Research Scholarships, Western Sydney University
  • 2007 3rd Class Scholarship, Chinese Pharmaceutical University

Projects and grants

Dr Zhou's research has been supported by numerous external funding agencies including federal and state governments, local and international industry, and professional associations. Over the last five years she has attracted successful internal and external research grants with totalling value over 900K.

See a full list of past and current projects.


  • 2017 PhD, Western Sydney University, Australia
  • 2011 Masters of Herbal Medicines (Honours), The University of Sydney, Australia
  • 2009 Bachelor of Pharmacy, Chinese Pharmaceutical University, China


For a full list of publications please see: