Wen Xie, MD, PhD, has received an 8-year NIH Revolutionizing Innovative, Visionary Environmental Health Research (RIVER) Award. The prestigious grant is intended to provide sustained support to outstanding investigators to allow them the freedom to pursue their research in novel directions in order to achieve a greater impact.

Xie’s research focuses on receptors that can bind xenobiotics, which come from outside the body, such as drugs and environmental chemicals. The same receptors can also bind endogenous substances that exist naturally inside the body, or endobiotics. Once activated, xenobiotic receptors can control the production of genes encoding drug metabolizing enzymes and drug transporters. In addition to breaking down and transporting drugs and environmental chemicals, the same enzyme and transporter systems are responsible for the production and elimination of endobiotics. Therefore, gene regulation by xenobiotic receptors can impact the course of many human diseases, such liver diseases, endocrine disorders, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. The goal of Xie’s research program is to better understand the effect of exposure to xenobiotics and the formation of human diseases.

Xie’s collaborators include Dr. Robert Gibbs from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, Dr. Ramon Bataller from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Dr. Robert Schwabe from Columbia University, and Dr. John Pinter from UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Xie is Chairman of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Joseph Koslow Endowed Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the School of Pharmacy, and Professor of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology at the School of Medicine.

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