Xiao Appointed Fred Eshelman Distinguished Professor of Gene Therapy
Xiao Xiao, PhD, has been appointed Fred Eshelman Distinguished Professor of Gene Therapy in the Division of Molecular Therapeutics in the UNC School of Pharmacy.
Before coming to the School, Xiao was an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine where he held several joint appointments. He was also an adjunct professor at Huazhong Science and Technology University Tongji Medical College in Wuhan, China, and a guest professor at Fudan University Shanghai Medical College in Shanghai, China.
In 1982 Xiao received a BS in pharmaceutical chemistry from the Shanghai Medical University School of Pharmacy. He received a MS in biochemistry in 1985 from Wuhan University in China and a PhD in biology in 1992 from the University of Pittsburgh.
Xiao’s work on muscular dystrophy, especially Duchenne muscular dystrophy, has received international recognition. DMD is one of the most prevalent types of muscular dystrophy and is characterized by rapid progression of muscle degeneration that occurs early in life. Xiao's paper published in 2000 on gene therapy for DMD was broadly covered by the media, and his groundbreaking work has been developed into the first gene therapy phase I clinical trial for DMD in the United States. In 2005, his paper on systemic gene delivery for muscular dystrophy was recognized by the National Institutes for Health as a major scientific advancement, and was selected as one of the 100 top scientific stories in 2005 by Discover magazine.
As an independent investigator, Xiao has published fifty-eight peer-reviewed papers from 1998 to 2006. He is the inventor or co-inventor of twelve issued or pending U.S. patents, and is also a member of a number of study sections at the National Institutes of Health.
The Eshelman professorships were created as part of Fred Eshelman's ('72 BSPhar) historic $20 million gift to the UNC School of Pharmacy in 2003, which was the third largest gift ever received by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Eshelman is the School's leading benefactor and is founder and chief executive officer of PPD, a leading global contract research organization providing development services, market development expertise, and compound partnering programs to the pharmaceutical industry. PPD is based in Wilmington. Eshelman has created four $1 million endowed professorships at the UNC School of Pharmacy.