I’ve always had a strong interest in biology and helping others in need. When I was a child, my grandfather was diagnosed with, and eventually passed from, advanced pancreatic cancer. Even at a young age, that experience left lasting memories and ultimately influenced my interest in cancer. In college, I found conducting cancer research intellectually stimulating. It gave me the ability to advance scientific knowledge that could lead to important discoveries for treating cancer patients. But what really solidified my passion for pursuing oncology as a career was the deep and long-term personal relationships I could develop with each patient. I felt then, and still do, that it’s quite unique and what is most rewarding about the field of oncology compared to other fields of medicine.
I strive to serve as an advocate for my patients, ensuring you understand your diagnosis and all your available treatment options. My goal is to develop a personalized treatment plan that incorporates and respects your values. I strongly believe in a multidisciplinary approach to your care. I’m also involved in research that primarily focuses on investigating novel therapies for pancreatic cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers through clinical trials. My hope is that we’ll be able to develop better methods for earlier detection of cancer, more effective therapies, and strategies to better predict which treatments are more likely to work for an individual patient. This all leads to improved outcomes and also to avoiding side effects from therapies that are not likely to be as effective.
Area of clinical practice
I’m a medical oncologist and a UW assistant professor of medicine. I specialize in treating all types of gastrointestinal cancers, with a clinical interest in cancers of the stomach, esophagus and pancreas. I also conduct clinical trials that evaluate novel therapies, investigate strategies for the early detection of cancer and explore ways to better predict which therapies are likely to be beneficial for individual patients. My research is a collaborative endeavor between Fred Hutch and the University of Washington.
University of Michigan
Wayne State University School of Medicine
Mayo Clinic, Internal Medicine
University of Michigan Medicine, Hematology-Oncology
Internal Medicine, 2014; Medical Oncology, 2017, American Board of Internal Medicine
Seattle Met's 2023 Top Doctors award
Dr Zhen has received this peer-nominated award for exceptional patient care.
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