Xiang Xu, PhD
- ASSISTANT PROFESSOR | Diagnostic, Molecular and Interventional Radiology
Research Topics:Blood-Brain Barrier, Brain, Brain Imaging, MRI, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Multiple Sclerosis
Dr. Xiang Xu is an Assistant Professor of Radiology at the BioMedical Engineering and Imaging Institute (BMEII) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She earned her PhD in Physical Chemistry from New York University. Before joining BMEII at Mount Sinai, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship and served as an Assistant Professor at the F.M Kirby Center for Functional Brain Imaging at Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Department of Radiology at the Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Xu’s research career focuses on developing new nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methodologies to study in vitro and in vivo systems. She is particularly interested in chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) MRI. This branch of MRI technique enables one to detect low concentration agents that have exchangeable protons with higher signal sensitivity by exploiting their exchange with water protons. Current projects in Dr. Xu’s lab involve development of novel techniques to improve CEST imaging in terms of speed, sensitivity and motion robustness and translating these techniques to human imaging applications. Currently Dr. Xu is focused on using the CEST effect of glucose to study blood brain barrier functions in multiple sclerosis, brain tumors and other neurodegenerative diseases.
For more details, please visit the lab website at https://labs.icahn.mssm.edu/xiang-xu-lab/
Multi-Disciplinary Training AreasGenetics and Genomic Sciences [GGS], Neuroscience [NEU]
B Eng, Jilin University
PhD, New York University
Postdoctoral fellowship, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Mount Sinai Distinguished Scholar Award
magna cum laude
Golden Hairball Award
summa cum laude
Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer Imaging
The CEST technique is an emerging contrast mechanism that aids in making molecules of biological significance with low concentration more observable using MRI. Conventionally, this technique is very time consuming as multiple spectra/images need to be acquired. I am interested in developing CEST spectroscopy and imaging technique that are fast, motion robust and specific.
Developing the use of D-glucose as an MRI contrast agent
Current clinical MRI contrast agents contain paramagnetic Gadolinium which are not safe for patients with compromised kidney function and a most recent study has shown that these agents leave permanent residues in brain tissues even in people with normal renal function. There is an urgent need in finding new, biocompatible contrast agents. I was one of the first to develop the use of D-glucose as a contrast agent for MRI. Glucose is the simplest form of sugar in our everyday life and it is the fuel for all cell activities. Through careful design and optimization, I was able to create an MRI experiment to dynamically monitor the uptake of glucose. When injecting glucose into mice implanted with a human brain tumor, I observed very good signal enhancements in the tumor region. In addition, the dynamic experiment I designed also provides information regarding how fast glucose is taken up by the tumor therefore reflecting the integrity of the blood brain barrier around the tumor. I am interested in exploiting the physiological origin of glucose contrast enhancement and developing imaging techniques that are sensitive to glucose.