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Menghang Xia, Ph.D.

Leader (Systems Toxicology)

Division of Preclinical Innovation

Chemical Genomics Branch

Contact Info

Menghang Xia, Ph.D.


Menghang Xia leads systems toxicology activities for the Toxicology in the 21st Century (Tox21) initiative within NCATS’ Division of Preclinical Innovation. Since 2005, she has played a key leadership role in multiple projects, including novel modulator identification for targets and pathways (e.g., AChE, BChE, CAR, CREB, ELG1, HIF-1, NFkB, and PXR), and compound/drug screening for rare diseases (e.g., chordoma, and flavivirus infection). Xia led the effort to develop and validate a battery of in vitro toxicological assays in a quantitative high-throughput screening platform. She and her colleagues have developed and screened more than 100 assays, and profiled hundreds and thousands of environmental chemicals on various pathways and targets, such as AChE, p53 signaling, Nrf2/ARE signaling, mitochondria function, and nuclear receptors.

Xia is the author or inventor for over 200 peer-reviewed research articles, book chapters and patents. She conducted over 60 scientific seminars, short courses in assay development for high-throughput screening and in vitro toxicology and has chaired scientific sessions in national and international scientific conferences. Her work has been highlighted in several top toxicological journals, including Chemical Research in Toxicology, Environmental Health Perspectives and Toxicological Sciences.

Xia received her Bachelor of Medicine degree from Shanghai Medical University in China and her doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. She completed her postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco. Before joining NCGC, Xia identified and validated several targets for drug development at Merck Research Laboratories.

Research Topics

Xia is interested in studying the mechanism of action of drugs and chemicals in cellular targets and pathways, including hypoxia/HIF-1, p53, Nrf2/ARE, NFkB, PXR, AChE and mitochondrial toxicity. She has developed numerous assays in a HTS format using advanced technologies. These assays include a thallium influx assay measuring hERG channel activity; several beta-lactamase and luciferase reporter assays for cellular pathways and nuclear receptor signaling; several GPCR assays measuring intracellular calcium and cAMP; a mitochondrial membrane potential assay; homogenous assays measuring cytokines; AChE inhibition assay incorporated with metabolism capability; and high-content assays for measuring angiogenesis, neurite outgrowth, LC3, micronucleus, and phospholipidosis.

Last updated on March 12, 2024