Xiaohua Chen, MD, PhD

  • Research Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

After completing medical training in Beijing, Chen attended a PhD program at John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University. In collaboration with other investigators, she was able to demonstrate that the cells with immunosuppressive effects were generated during fetal life to maintain homeostasis in healthy individuals, rather than induced only in a status of pathogenesis. 

At her time at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital (SJCRH) and later at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), University of Pennsylvania, she joined clinical trials of chemotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). She established several sensitive, reliable methods, including sjTREC qPCR, TCRbspectratyping, TCRb microarray, NK-KIR spectratyping, and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) real-time PCR to test low level chimerism. The methods were applied to estimate immune reconstitution in clinical trials including those supported by NIH funding.

With all of the above expertise, she moved to Pittsburgh and joined the Pitt Pediatrics Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapies. Her focus is to explore the mechanisms leading to long-term immune tolerance after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, and its application in organ transplants. In collaborating with other investigators, they found that donor-recipient lymphocytes recognize each other on a T cell clonal level predominantly through central and central-directed clonal deletion mechanisms. Her ongoing projects will continuously focus on immune tolerance with centering on gene profiling and signal pathway analysis at single-cell level. The roles of Treg, anergy and antigen-presenting cells in clonal deletion will be examined along with transplant rejection. 

Professional and Scientific Society Memberships

  • Australasian Society for Immunology, 1994-1997
  • American Society of Hematology, 2001-2019
  • Association of Clinical Research Professional, 2008-2009
  • International Society of Cell Therapy, 2008-2011
  • American Association of Immunologist, 2014-Present
  • Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies, 2017-Present

Education & Training

  • MD, Shanxi Medical University/Capital Medical University (China), 1984
  • PhD, Immunology/Immune Tolerance, Australian National University, 1995
  • Residency and Fellowship in Internal Medicine and Clinical Immunology, Capital Medical University/Peking Union Medical College (China), 1984-1990
  • Postdoctoral Research in Immunology and Hepatitis, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, 1995-1997
  • Postdoctoral Research in Molecular Immunology, BMT, and Hematology-Oncology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 1997-2002

Selected Publications

Xiaohua Chen, Memphis Hill, Mark Vander Lugt, Zhou Fang, Wei Chen, Paul Szabolcs. Rapid reconstitution of Treg subsets is associated with reduced rates of acute GvHD and absence of viremia after cord blood transplantation in children with reduced-intensity conditioning utilizing alemtazumab. Cytotherapy.2020;22:149-157

Rohtesh S Mehta, Xiaohua Chen, Jeyaraj Antony, Michael Boyiadzis, Paul Szabolcs. Generating peripheral blood derived lymphocytes reacting against autologous primary AML blasts. Journal of Immunotherapy.2016;39(2):71-80

Szabolcs P, Buckley R, Duane Davis R, Moffet J, Voynow J, Alexander B, Jeyaraj A, Chen X, Sempowski, GD and Zaas DW. Tolerance and immunity after sequential lung and bone marrow transplantation from an unrelated cadaveric donor. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2014;135:567-570 PMID#25262460

Anna Caselli, Timothy S Olson, Satoru Otsuru, Xiaohua Chen, Ted J Hofmann, Hyun-Duck Nah, Giulla Grisendi, Paolo Paolucci, Massimo Dominici, Edwin M Horwitz. IGF-1-mediated osteoblastic niche expansion enhances long-term hematopoietic stem cell engraftment after murine bone marrow transplantation. Stem Cells. 2013;31:2193-2204.

Chen X, Hofmann TJ, Otsuru S, Jethva R, Lind C, Monos D, Horwitz EM. A strategy for single nucleotide polymorphism analysis of chimerism for somatic cell therapy. Cytotherapy. 2010;12(8):1035-43
Stow P, Key L, Chen X, Pan Q, Neale G, Coustan-Smith E, Mullighan C, Zhou Y, Pui C. Clinical significance of low levels of minimal residual disease at the end of remission induction therapy in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Blood. 2010;115:4657-4663. 

Massimo Dominici, Valeria Rasini, Rita Bussolari, Xiaohua Chen, Ted J Hofmann, Carlotta Spano, Daniela Bernabei, Elena Veronesi, Filippo Bertoni, Paolo Paolucci, PierFranco Conte and Edwin M Horwitz. Restoration and reversible expansion of the osteoblastic hematopoietic stem cell niche after marrow radioablation. Blood. 2009;114 (11):2333-43

Chen X, Knowles J, Barfield RC, Kasow KA, Madden R, Woodard P, Srivastava DK, Horwitz EM, Handgretinger R, Hale GA. A novel approach for quantification of KIR expression in healthy donors and pediatric recipients of hematopoietic SCTs. Bone Marrow Transplantation. 2008;1-8.

Chen X, Handgretinger R, Hale G. Molecular monitoring of immune-reconstitution in haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Invited review article for Current Stem Cell Research & Therapy2008;3(2):75-78
Handgretinger R, Chen X, Pfeiffer M, Mueller I, Feuchtinger T, Hale G, Lang P. Feasability and outcome of reduced intensity conditioning in haploidentical transplantation. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2007;

Academic and Research Interests

  • Immune Tolerance
  • Immune Reconstitution
  • Blood and Marrow Transplantation
  • Organ Transplantation