Zhong Huilan was born in Jiaying (now Meixian County), Guangdong Province in 1901. He graduated from Peking Union Medical College in 1929, and got his PhD from the New York State University.
After he returned to China, he held such positions as the president of the Beijing People’s Hospital and Beijing Friendship Hospital, director and research fellow of Beijing Tropical Medicine Research Institute, member of the Biology Department of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, member of the Pharmacopoeia Committee of the Ministry of Health, and the 18th vice-president of All China Medical Society. He was also a member of the British Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, correspondence academician of the Soviet Union Academy of Sciences, member of the Far East Society of Tropical Medicine.
Zhong was engaged for many years in the research of deceases such as kala-azar, lung fluke, relapsing, leptospirosis, schistosomiasis, and rickettsia. His achievement in the research of kala-azar is especially outstanding. In 1939, he was the first to explain the infection links of kala-azar between dogs, men and sand flies. He advocated checking kala-azar Leishmania using marrow puncture, making great contribution to the prevention and early diagnosis and treatment of kala-azar.
Zhong died on February 6, 1987.