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May Xiong

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Associate Professor

My research draws on advanced material and preclinical translational drug development. I have sought training in each of these areas during my graduate studies and postdoctoral training. During my graduate studies, I was trained in polymer synthesis where I investigated and synthesized novel polymers for gene delivery. To that end, I went to Japan to train in the internationally known lab of Dr. Kazunori Kataoka to improve on polymer chemistry. During my postdoctoral training, I sought further training in chemistry and biology in the lab of Dr. Mark Davis at Caltech, who successfully transitioned two products from the workbench to human clinical trials for the treatment of cancer. My current research is focused on developing nanomaterials for 1) iron chelation therapy, 2) tackling drug resistance in bacteria, and 3) developing metal sensors for chelation and imaging applications in vivo. My career goal is to improve on therapeutic and diagnostic treatments for a variety of aggressive and life-threatening diseases in humans via novel biomaterials and drug delivery systems with transformative and translational potential.


Postdoctoral Fellow, Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

Ph.D., Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

B.S., Biomedical Engineering, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI

Research Interests:

Research in the Xiong Lab focuses on advanced material development and preclinical translational drug development to address unmet or challenging drug delivery areas in the pharmaceutics field. Current research is focused on improving treatments for iron chelation therapy through design and evaluation of new nanomaterials, biological metal sensors for chelation and imaging applications, and strategies addressing antimicrobial drug resistance in bacteria.

Research Keywords: Hemochromatosis; Nanochelator; Iron Chelation; Deferoxamine or Desferrioxamine; Antimicrobial; Bacteria; Sensor

Selected Publications:

Click here to access publications (Pubmed)

(*indicates corresponding author, +indicates equal contribution)

Liu Z, Simchick GA, Qiao J, Nagy T, Purro M, Zhao Q, Xiong MP*. ROS-degradable polyrotaxane nanochelation therapy for safely restoring systemic and hepatic iron to normal (submitted), 2019

Purro M, Qiao J, Liu Z, Ashcraft MM, Xiong MP*. Desferrioxamine:gallium-pluronic micelles increase outer membrane permeability and potentiate antibiotic activity against pseudomonas aeruginosa, Chem Comm, 2018; 54: 13929-13932. PMID: 30430161.

Qiao J, Liu Z, Purro M, Xiong MP*. Antibacterial and potentiation properties of charge-optimized polyrotaxanes for combatting opportunistic bacteria, J Mater Chem B, 2018; 6: 5353-5361. PMID: 30386619

Qiao J, Purro M, Liu Z, Xiong MP*. Terpyridine-micelles for inhibiting biofilm development, ACS Infect Dis, 2018; 4(9): 1346-1354. PMID: 29974746

Liu Z, Qiao J, Nagy T, Xiong MP*. ROS-triggered degradable iron-chelating nanogels: safely improving iron elimination in vivo, J Control Rel, 2018; 283:84-93. PMID: 29792889

He M, Han Z, Qiao J, Xiong MP, Zheng YG*. Bioorthogonal turn-on fluorescence strategy for the detection of lysine acetyltransferase activityChem Comm 2018; 54(44) 5594-5597. PMID: 29766153

Simchick GA+, Liu Z+, Nagy T, Xiong M*, Zhao Q*. Assessment of MR-based R2* and quantitative susceptibility mapping for the quantification of liver iron concentration in a mouse model at 7TMagn Reson Med, 2018; 80(5) 2081-2093. PMID: 29575047

Wang Y, Liu Z, Lin T-M, Chanana S, Xiong MP*. Nanogel-DFO conjugates as a model to investigate pharmacokinetics, biodistribution and iron chelation in vivo, Int J Pharm, 2018; 538(1-2) 79-86. PMID: 29341909

Liu Z, Purro M, Qiao J, Xiong MP*. Multifunctional polymeric micelles for combining chelation and detection of iron in living cells, Adv Healthc Mater, 2017; Sept 6(17). PMID: 28661064

Liu Z, Lin TM, Purro M, Xiong MP*. Enzymatically biodegradable-polyrotaxane deferoxamine conjugates for iron chelation, ACS Appl Mater & Interfaces, 2016; 8(39) 25788-25797. PMID: 27623539

Liu Z, Wang Y, Purro M, Xiong MP*. Oxidation-induced degradable nanogels for iron chelation. Sci Rep, 2016; 6:20923. PMID: 26868174

Kapur A, Felder M, Fass L, Kaur J, Czarnecki A, Rathi K, Zeng S, Osowski KK, Howell C, Xiong MP, Whelan RJ, Patankar MS*. Modulation of oxidative stress and subsequent induction of apoptosis and endoplasmic reticulum stress allows citral to decrease cancer cell proliferation. Sci Rep, 2016; 6:27530. PMID: 27270209

Zeng S, Kapur A, Patankar M, Xiong MP*. Formulation, characterization and antitumor properties of trans- and cis-citral in the 4T1 breast cancer xenograft mouse model. Pharm Res, 2015; 32(8) 2548-2558. PMID: 25673043

Wang Y, Sheng T, Steffen D, Xiong MP*. Iron complexation to histone deacetylase inhibitors SAHA and LAQ824 in PEGylated liposomes can considerably improve pharmacokinetics in rats. J Pharm Pharm Sci 2014; 17(4):583-602. PMID: 25579435

Wang Y, Zeng S, Lin T-M, Krugner-Higby L, Lyman D, Steffen D, Xiong MP*. Evaluating the anticancer properties of liposomal copper in a nude mouse xenograft model of human prostate cancer: formulation, in vitro and in vivo, histology and tissue distribution studies. Pharm Res 2014; 31(11): 3106-3119. PMID: 24848339

Wang Y, Sheng T, Anatoly PN, Xiong MP*. Active drug encapsulation and release kinetics from hydrogel-in-liposome nanoparticles. J Colloid and Int Sci. 2013; 406:247-255. PMID: 23809875

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Head of Chemistry: Prof. Jason Locklin