Staff Profile: Menghang Xia

Menghang Xia, Ph.D.
Menghang Xia, Ph.D.

Leader (Systems Toxicology)

Division of Preclinical Innovation
Toxicology in the 21st Century

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

National Institutes of Health

Email Menghang Xia


Menghang Xia leads systems toxicology activities for the Toxicology in the 21st Century (Tox21) initiative at NCATS. Since joining the NIH Chemical Genomics Center, now the NCATS Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC), in 2005, she has played a key leadership role in multiple projects, including Tox21. 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 environmental chemicals on various pathways and targets, such as p53 signaling, ARE signaling and nuclear receptors.

Xia is the author or inventor for 92 peer-reviewed research articles, book chapters and patents. Her work has been highlighted in several top toxicological journals, including Chemical Research in Toxicology and Toxicological Sciences. Xia received her bachelor of medicine degree from Shanghai Medical University in China and her Ph.D. 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 multiple cellular signaling pathways, including hypoxia/HIF-1, CREB, p53 and NFkB. She also has developed and converted numerous assays into a high-throughput screening format using advanced technologies. These assays include a bioluminescent cytotoxicity assay for assessment of membrane integrity; several beta-lactamase and luciferase reporter gene assays for cellular pathways and nuclear receptor signaling; a membrane potential assay for mitochondrial function assessment; homogenous assays for measuring human tumor necrosis factor alpha and other cytokines; and high-content assays for measuring LC3, micronucleus and phospholipidosis.

Selected Publications

  1. Identification of approved and investigational drugs that inhibit hypoxia-inducible factor-1 signaling
  2. Identification of HDAC Inhibitors Using a Cell-Based HDAC I/II Assay
  3. Identification of known drugs targeting the endoplasmic reticulum stress response
  4. Profiling of the Tox21 chemical collection for mitochondrial function to identify compounds that acutely decrease mitochondrial membrane potential
  5. Identification of compounds that potentiate CREB signaling as possible enhancers of long-term memory