Rochester, Minnesota




Using bioinformatics and epidemiological approaches, Zhifu Sun, M.D., is exploring how cancer develops and what contributes to varied clinical outcomes in patients.

Dr. Sun mostly studies lung, breast and prostate cancers.

Focus areas

  • Lung cancer etiology and outcome research. Genetic susceptibility to lung cancer, molecular diagnostic and prognostic makers for lung cancer using gene expression microarray, genome-wide association studies, and next-generation sequencing (mRNA-seq and exome-seq).
  • Breast cancer genomics. Integrated next-generation sequencing data analysis of multiple genomic features (gene expression, methylation, copy number, single nucleotide variants) for their association with patient outcomes.
  • Epigenomics. Translational epigenomics research for biomarker identification, mainly DNA methylation and microRNA markers.
  • Algorithms and data processing. Algorithm and data preprocessing pipeline development for methylation and miRNA sequencing.

Significance to patient care

The identification of genetic or genomic markers will help to diagnose a disease early and potentially prevent its development. A deep understanding of a tumor's genetic makeup will also help treat patients differently for optimal outcomes.


See my publications


Primary Appointment

  1. Consultant, Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, Department of Health Sciences Research

Academic Rank

  1. Assistant Professor of Epidemiology
  2. Professor of Biomedical Informatics


  1. Completed 10 classes for the Master Degree in Clinical Research Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science
  2. MS - Heath Informatics University of Minnesota Medical School
  3. Resident - Anatomic Pathology Shandong Provincial Qianfoshan Hospital, China
  4. MS - Pathology Hebei Medical University, China
  5. Resident - Anatomic Pathology Shandong Provincial Qianfoshan Hospital, China
  6. MD College of Medicine, Qingdao University

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