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  8. Xuefei Cao
  1. Science & Research (NCTR)

Xuefei Cao Ph.D.

Research Pharmacologist — Division of Genetic and Molecular Toxicology

Xuefei Cao
Xuefei Cao, Ph.D.

(870) 543-7121

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About Publications  |  Lab Members


Dr. Xuefei Cao received her Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Southern California (USC) School of Pharmacy in 2005. She continued with her postdoctoral training at USC from 2006 to 2009. In October 2009, she joined NCTR as an FDA commissioner’s fellow. Upon completion of her commissioner’s fellowship, she was retained as a research pharmacologist.  

Research Interests

Dr. Cao’s research interests primarily focus on developing innovative in vitro approaches for regulatory assessments of FDA-regulated products. In line with her research interests, current projects include:

  • development of in vitro tissue models
  • adaptation of biochemical/biological assays for evaluating physiologically relevant responses
  • extrapolation between in vivo and in vitro responses using computational modeling tools.

She has established a human air-liquid-interface airway epithelial-tissue model that has comparable tissue architectures and functions to in vivo airway epithelium. In combination with a test battery of disease-related endpoints, her team developed a novel in vitro testing platform capable of more accurately recapitulating pathologically relevant tissue responses to inhaled toxicants.

Dr. Cao is currently working with collaborators from NCTR, FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences/National Toxicology Program to comprehensively characterize and evaluate the value of the in vitro testing platform in predicting the respiratory-disease potential of inhaled toxicants that have raised regulatory concerns, such as tobacco smoke constituents, whole cigarette smoke, environmental pollutants, and ingredients of FDA-regulated consumer products. Dr. Cao’s laboratory is equipped with a state-of-the-art cigarette smoking machine, and vapor and aerosol systems for generating inhalant toxicants in forms similar to those humans are exposed to. The laboratory is also equipped with in vitro exposure modules capable of diluting and delivering test articles at concentrations relevant to in vivo exposures.

As a critical step to demonstrate the predictive values of in vitro testing platform, she recently started a collaborative study with computational fluid dynamics and physiologically based pharmacokinetics modelers to better understand the correlation between in vitro and in vivo responses. She expects that the outcomes of her work will not only facilitate the understanding of the public-health impact of the test articles under investigation, but also provide scientific support for developing better strategies for conducting human risk assessment.                  

Professional Societies/National and International Groups

American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists
2004 – Present 

Institute For In Vitro Sciences (IIVS) Technical Working Group
2015 – Present

Society of Toxicology
2011 – Present

Select Publications

Publication titles are linked to text abstracts on PubMed.

Tight Junction Disruption by Cadmium in an In Vitro Human Airway Tissue Model.
Cao X., Lin H., Muskhelishvili L., Latendresse J., Richter P., and Heflich R.
Respir Res. 2015, 16: 30.

Quantitative Dose-Response Analysis of Ethyl Methanesulfonate Genotoxicity in Adult gpt-delta Transgenic Mice.
Cao X., Mittelstaedt R., Pearce M., Allen B., Hernandez L., Johnson G., Bigger A., and Heflich R.
Environmental & Molecular Mutagenesis. 2014, 55: 385.

Lab Members

Contact information for all lab members:
(870) 543-7121

Qin Qin, Ph.D.
ORISE Fellow

Yiying Wang, Ph.D.
Staff Fellow

Rui Xiong, Ph.D.
ORISE Fellow

Contact Information
Xuefei Cao
(870) 543-7121
Technology & Discipline
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