Xiaoping Pan

Title: Assistant Professor
Area of Study: Biochemistry
Phone: 252-328-5443
Fax: 252-328-4178
E-mail: panx@ecu.edu
Office: 514 Science & Technology Building
Address: Department of Biology
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858

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Research Interests:

Our research of Biochemical Toxicology investigates the mode of action of various substances and materials including crude oil/dispersant system, abused drugs, and metallic nanoparticles, etc. Experimental organisms include Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) and Rattus norvegicus (rat). Ongoing projects include 1) Reproductive toxicity of crude oil/dispersant mixture. The mixture of crude oil and chemical dispersant significantly inhibit brood size and affect embryonic development in C. elegans, current researches focus on the regulation of key players in apoptotic machinery by oil/dispersant system; 2) Molecular mechanism of addiction-related behaviors of nicotine; Nicotine induced addiction behaviors (stimulation, dependence, and withdrawal) has been characterized in C. elegans, we currently investigate the regulation of cholinergic and serotonergic signaling and transmission pathways by nicotine; and 3) Peripheral biomarkers in blast-induced neurotrauma. Developing sensitive diagnostic and prognostic markers using well-controlled experiments on model organism represent a critical basic research topic fundamentally important to neuropsychological health and recovery of TBI and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This project using the SD rat as an animal model to identify circulating miRNAs as a novel biomarker for TBI and related neurological and systemic damages, especially for mild TBI which currently lack effective diagnostic strategy. Identified miRNAs will contribute towards the development of novel non-invasive diagnostic tools and facilitate the evaluation of medical interventions and treatments.


(*: mentored students/post-docs; @: corresponding author).

1. Polli JR*, Zhang Y*, Pan X@. (2014) Dispersed Crude oil amplifies germ cell apoptosis in Caenorhabditis elegans, followed a CEP-1 dependent pathway. Achives of Toxicology (In press). DOI: 10.1007/s00204-014-1198-6.

2. Wu H*. Taki FA, Zhang Y*, Dobbins DL*, Pan X@. (2014) Evaluation and identification of reliable reference genes for toxicological study in Caenorhabditis elegans. Molecular Biology Reports. (In press). DOI: 10.1007/s11033-014-3206-6.

3. Taki FA. Pan X, & Zhang B. (2014) Chronic nicotine exposure systemically alters microRNA expression profiles during post-embryonic stages in Caenorhabditis elegans. Journal of Cellular Physiology 229 (1): 79-89. doi: 10.1002/jcp.24419.

4. Smith MA*, Zhang Y*, Polli JR*, Wu H, Zhang B, Xiao P, Farwell MA, & Pan X@. (2013) Impacts of chronic low-level nicotine exposure on Caenorhabditis elegans reproduction: identification of novel gene targets. Reproductive Toxicology. 40: 69-75. doi:pii: S0890-6238(13)00118-4. 10.1016/j.reprotox.2013.05.007. .

5. Pan X, Ochoa KM*, San Francisco M. Dixon K, Anderson TA, Cobb GP. (2013) Absorption, Distribution, and Biotransformation of Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) in B6C3F1 Mice (Mus musculus). Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 32(6): 1295-303.

6. Zhang Y*, Chen D, Ennis AC*, Polli JR*, Xiao P, Zhang B, Stellwag EJ, Overton A, & Pan X@. (2013) Chemical Dispersant Potentiates Crude Oil Impacts on Growth, Reproduction, and Gene Expression in Caenorhabditis elegans. Achives of Toxicology 87(2): 371-82

7. Pan X@. (2013) Determining Gene Flow in Transgenic Cotton. Methods in Molecular Biology 958: 261-72.

8. Zhang Y*, Chen D, Smith MA*, Zhang B, & Pan, X@. (2012). Selection of Reliable Reference Genes in Caenorhabditis elegans for Analysis of Nanotoxicity. PLoS One. 7(3): e31849. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031849

9. McMurry ST, Jones LE, Smith PN, Cobb GP, Anderson TA, Lovern MB, Cox S, Pan X. (2012). Accumulation and effects of octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX) exposure in the green anole (Anolis carolinensis). Ecotoxicology. 21: 304-314.

10. McConnell JS, McConnell, RM, Pan X, Altfillisch C, Gidda K, McConnell MS, Morgan LR, Mullins BM, Nicioli SM, Pedigo TM, Ribordy KE, Sheppard DR (2011) Suspending Nitrogen Fertilization Reduces Residual Soil Nitrates in Dryland Cotton. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 42, 1223-1235.

11. Shah M, Pan X, Fix L, Farwell M, Zhang B. (2011) 5-Fluorouracil Drug Alters the MicroRNA Expression Profiles in MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells. Journal of Cellular Physiology 226(7):1868-78.

12. Pan X@, Murashov AK, Stellwag EJ, Zhang B. (2010) Monitoring microRNA expression during embryonic stem-cell differentiation using quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). Methods in Molecular Biology 650:213-224.

13. Pan X@, Redding JE*, Wiley PA*, Wen L., McConnell JS, & Zhang B. (2010) Mutagenicity evaluation of metal oxide nanoparticles by the bacterial reverse mutation assay. Chemosphere 79(1): 113-116.

14. Zhang B, Stellwag EJ, & Pan X. (2009) Large-scale genome analysis reveals unique features of microRNAs. Gene 443 (1-2): 100-109.

15. Qiu D, Pan X, Wilson IW, Li F, Liu M, Teng W, Zhang B. (2009). High throughput sequencing technology reveals that the taxoid elicitor methyl jasmonate regulates microRNA expression in Chinese yew (Taxus chinensis). Gene 436(1-2): 37-44.

16. Zhang B, Pan X. (2009) RDX and microRNA expression in B6C3F1 mice. Environmental Health Perspectives 117 (3): A98-A99.

17. Pan X, San Francisco M, Lee C, Ochoa KM*, Xu X, Liu J, Zhang B, Cox SB, and Cobb GP. (2007) Examination of the mutagenicity of RDX and its N-nitroso metabolites using the Salmonella reverse mutation assay. Mutation Research 629(1): 64-69.

18. Zhang B, Wang Q, & Pan X. (2007) MicroRNAs and their regulatory roles in animals and plants. Journal of Cellular Physiology 210 (2): 279-289.

19. Pan X, Zhang B, San Francisco, M, and Cobb GP. (2007). Characterizing viral microRNAs and its application on identifying new microRNAs in viruses. Journal of Cellular Physiology 211(1): 10-18.

20. Pan X, Zhang B, Smith JN, San Francisco M, Anderson TA, Cobb GP. (2007). N-nitroso Compounds Produced in Deer Mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) GI Tract Following Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) Exposure. Chemospere 67(6): 1164-1170.

21. Pan X, Zhang B, Tian K, Jones JE, Liu J, Anderson TA, Wang JS, Cobb GP. (2006) Liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry analysis of octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX). Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 20 (14): 2222-2226.

22. Zhang B, Pan X, Cox SB, Cobb GP, Anderson TA. (2006) Evidence that miRNAs are different from other RNAs. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences (CMLS) 63(2):246-254.

23. Jordan NS, Pan X, Gentles A., Smith EE, Cox SB, Cobb GP. (2006). Reproductive effects of hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitroso-1,3,5-triazine in deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) during a controlled exposure study. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 25: 446-451.

24. Pan X, Zhang B, Cox SB, Anderson TA, Cobb GP. (2006) Determination of N-nitroso derivatives of hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) in soils by pressurized liquid extraction and liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. Journal of Chromatography A 1107: 2-8.

25. Zhang B, Pan X, Wang Q, Cobb GP, Anderson TA. (2006) Computational identification of miRNAs and their targets. Computational Biology and Chemistry 30(6): 395-407.

26. Pan X, Zhang B., Cobb G.P. (2005) Transgenic plants: environmental benefits and risks. Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants. 11:13-32.

27. Mukhi S, Pan X, Cobb GP, Patino R. (2005) Toxicity of hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine to larval zebrafish. Chemosphere 61:178-185.

Courses Taught:

BIOL 4880. Biochemistry I, Intermediary Metabolism

BIOL 4800, Biol 6030. Principles of Toxicology

Laboratory Personnel


Yanqiong Zhang
PhD Candidate


Dorothy LIoyd Dobbins
MS Candidate


Joseph Ryan Polli
Undergraduate Researcher


Brittany O'Donnell
MS Candidate


Zailene Dashawn Flood
MS Candidate


Erin Elizabeth Connolly
Undergraduate Researcher


Dr. Li Qiu
Visiting Scholar

Student Awardees

Michael A. Smith, MS
2010 Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Travel Award

Adrien Ennis, BS, Undergraduate Researcher
2011 East Carolina University (ECU) Undergraduate Research and Creativity Award

Yanqiong Zhang, PhD candidate
2012 American Chemical Society (ACS) Certificate of Merit Award
2013 SETAC Travel Award
2013-14 Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research Award

Dorothy LIoyd Dobbins, MS Candidate
2013 Sigma Xi Student Conference Best Presentation Award
2013-14 Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research Award

Joseph Ryan Polli, Undergraduate Researcher
2012 ECU Undergraduate Research and Creativity Award
2013 Sigma Xi Student Conference Best Presentation Award
2013 ACS Certificate of Merit Award
2013 ACS Undergraduate Research Award
2013 North Carolina Biotechnology Center (NCBC) Undergraduate Research Fellowship
2013 Summer Research with NIDA (NIH) Scholarship

Brittany O'Donnell, MS Candidate
2013 ACS Certificate of Merit Award

Zailene Dashawn Flood, MS Candidate
2014 SETAC Travel Award for Focused Topic Meeting

Erin Elizabeth Connolly, Undergraduate Researcher
2013 Sigma Xi Student Conference Best Presentation Award
2013 ECU Wooten Award