Directory Profile

Dr. Ma is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and a member of the Center for Pharmacogenetics, University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. He obtained his Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2003. From there, he went to National Institutes of Health (NIH) and completed his postdoctoral training in Dr. Frank J. Gonzalez’s laboratory in 2008. Afterward, he worked as an Assistant Professor at University of Kansas Medical Center, until he joined the University of Pittsburgh in 2013.

Dr. Ma’s research interests include drug metabolism, drug-induced liver injury, toxicometabolomics, and safety-based precision medicine. He welcomes graduate students and post-doctoral fellows who have interests in these research areas to contact him about training opportunities.

Selected Publications

(1). Wang P, Sachar M, Lu J, Shehu AI, Zhu J, Chen J, Liu K, Anderson KE, Xie W, Gonzalez F J, Klaassen CD, Ma X. The essential role of the transporter ABCG2 in the pathophysiology of erythropoietic protoporphyria. Science Advances 2019 Sep 18. Vol. 5, no. 9, eaaw6127. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw6127.
(2). Shehu AI, Lu J, Wang P, Zhu J, Wang Y, Yang D, McMahon D, Xie W, Gonzalez FJ, Ma X. Pregnane X receptor activation potentiates ritonavir hepatotoxicity. J Clin Invest. 2019 Apr 30;130. pii: 128274. doi: 10.1172/JCI128274. PubMed PMID: 31039134.
(3). Wang P, Shehu AI, Lu J, Joshi RH, Venkataramanan R, Sugamori KS, Grant DM, Zhong XB, Ma X. Deficiency of N-acetyltransferase increases the interactions of isoniazid with endobiotics in mouse liver. Biochem Pharmacol. 2017 Dec 1;145:218-225. Epub 2017 Sep 6. PubMed PMID: 28888949; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5681379.
(4). Li F, Wang P, Liu K, Tarrago MG, Lu J, Chini EN, Ma X. A High Dose of Isoniazid Disturbs Endobiotic Homeostasis in Mouse Liver. Drug Metab Dispos. 2016 Nov;44(11):1742-1751. Epub 2016 Aug 16. PubMed PMID: 27531952; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5074471.
(5). Sachar M, Ma X. Role of ABCG2 in liver injury associated with erythropoietic protoporphyria. Hepatology. 2015 Sep 24. doi: 10.1002/hep.28249. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26403458.
(6). Liu K, Li F, Lu J, Gao Z, Klaassen CD, Ma X. Role of CYP3A in isoniazid metabolism in vivo. Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 2014; 29(2):219-22. PMID: 24172716.
(7). Li F, Lu J, Cheng J, Wang L, Matsubara T, Csanaky I, Klaassen CD, Gonzalez FJ, Ma X. Human PXR modulates hepatotoxicity associated with rifampicin and isoniazid co-therapy. Nat Med. 2013; 19(4):418-20. PMID: 23475203.
(8). Wang L, Li F, Lu J, Li G, Li D, Zhong XB, Guo GL, Ma X. The Chinese herbal medicine Sophora flavescens activates pregnane X receptor. Drug Metab Dispos. 2010 Dec;38(12):2226-31. PubMed PMID: 20736322; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2993459.
(9). Ma X, Cheung C, Krausz KW, Shah YM, Wang T, Idle JR, Gonzalez FJ. A double transgenic mouse model expressing human pregnane X receptor and cytochrome P450 3A4. Drug Metab Dispos. 2008 Dec;36(12):2506-12. PubMed PMID: 18799805; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2678901.
(10). Ma X, Shah YM, Guo GL, Wang T, Krausz KW, Idle JR, Gonzalez FJ. Rifaximin is a gut-specific human pregnane X receptor activator. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2007 Jul;322(1):391-8. PubMed PMID: 17442842.

• 2007 Fellows Award for Research Excellence, sponsored by NIH
• 2007 Postdoctoral Scientist Award in Toxicology (1st place), sponsored by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET)
• 2008 Fellows Award for Research Excellence, sponsored by NIH
• 2018 The ASPET 2018 Junior Investigator Award, sponsored by the Toxicology Division, ASPET.

• "Metabolomic Analysis Reveals Novel Mechanisms of Drug Toxicity". Drug Metabolism, Gordon Research Conferences. Holderness, New Hampshire. 2012.
• “The Role of Xenobiotic Nuclear Receptors in Drug Metabolism and Metabolism-Mediated Liver Injury”. 2nd Mitigation Strategies for Reactive Metabolites. Boston, Massachusetts. 2012.
• “Humanized mouse models and drug toxicity” 10th International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics (ISSX) Meeting. Toronto, Canada, 2013.
• “Human PXR models provide novel insights into adverse drug reactions associated with anti-TB and anti-HIV drugs”. Therapeutics Research Program, Division of AIDS, NIAID, NIH, 2013.
• “The opportunities and challenges of metabolomics in drug safety evaluation”. 19th North American ISSX Meeting / 29th JSSX Meeting. San Francisco, California, 2014.
• “Genetically Engineered Mouse Models in Preclinical Studies of Drug Metabolism & Toxicity”. The Delaware Valley Drug Metabolism Discussion Group. West Chester, Pennsylvania, 2015.
• “PXR-humanized Mouse Models for Drug Testing”. The Liver Meeting, Special Interest Group (SIG) on Hepatotoxicity. San Francisco, CA, 2015.
• “Metabolomic applications to guide the mechanistic understanding of drug-induced liver injury (DILI)”. The 21st International Symposium on Microsomes and Drug Oxidations. Davis, CA, 2016.
• “The Gut-liver Axis in Eythropoietic Protoprophyria”. ASPET Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology. Chicago, IL, 2017(16).
• “Role of Human Pregnane X Receptor in DILI: Drug Metabolism and Beyond”. ASPET Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology. Orlando, FL, 2019.

• R01AI131983, NIAID/NIH, 2017-2022. Pharmacoenhancers for antiretroviral therapy: safety and future development. PI: Xiaochao Ma.
• R01GM118367, NIGMS/NIH, 2016-2020. Short- or long-term impacts of drug exposure at early life on drug metabolism, therapeutic efficacy, and drug-induced toxicity. PI: Xiaobo Zhong. Role of Xiaochao Ma: Co-I.