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VCU Pauley Heart Center

Physicians and staff

Lei Xi, MDLei Xi, MD. F.A.H.A.


Born in Chengdu, China, Dr. Lei Xi earned his M.D. degree from Chengdu Institute of Physical Culture and served as team physician at the Chinese National Athletes Training Center of the State Commission of Physical Culture and Sports in Beijing, China. He completed postgraduate studies in cardiopulmonary and exercise physiology at University of Geneva Medical School, Switzerland from 1988 to 1990. Dr. Xi immigrated to the United States in 1990 as postdoctoral fellow in respiratory physiology at University of Wisconsin Medical School. He came to Virginia Commonwealth University in 1996 for his second postdoctoral fellowship in experimental cardiology, as a trainee on two NIH National Research Service Awards. Dr. Xi subsequently joined the faculty of Department of Internal Medicine (Cardiology) in 2000 as Instructor and was promoted to Assistant Professor in 2005 and Associate Professor in 2011.

The longstanding research interests of Dr. Xi include cardiopulmonary response and adaptation to systemic hypoxia, hyperthermia, and physical exercise in healthy and diseased individuals. He has been taking a comprehensive approach to study the pathophysiological mechanisms of cardiovascular ischemic or hypoxic injury and adaptation at the whole body, intact organ, and cellular/molecular levels. His most recent research focus includes the use of inorganic nitrate and nitrite for protecting heart against severe toxicity caused by cancer chemotherapy drugs. Dr. Xi has authored or co-authored over 60 research articles in peer-reviewed biomedical journals such as Circulation, Circulation Research, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Journal of Biological Chemistry, American Journal of Physiology, Journal of Applied Physiology, Journal of Physiology (London), Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and Nitric Oxide. Dr. Xi is the editor of 2 books on intermittent hypoxia, which were published in 2009 by Nova Science Publishers (ISBN 9781608761272) and in 2012 by Springer (ISBN 9781447129066) and have been collected by over 200 academic libraries worldwide. As a principal investigator, Dr. Xi has been funded by several research grants from the American Heart Association since 1998, including a National Scientist Development Grant (1/2005 to 12/2008).

Dr. Xi holds the memberships of American Physiological Society, American Heart Association (with Silver Heart recognition), and Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. Since 2006 he has been appointed to a number of study sections and peer-review committees of the American Heart Association. Dr. Xi has also served as a reviewer for 36 international biomedical journals, including Circulation, Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, British Journal of Pharmacology, Pharmacological Research, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, American Journal of Physiology (Heart & Circulatory Physiology), Journal of Applied Physiology, Experimental Biology and Medicine, Brain Research, Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology, and Life Sciences. Currently he is serving on the editorial board of 4 international biomedical journals - Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, Experimental Biology and Medicine, Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, and Scientifica. In addition, Dr. Xi received Young Investigator Travel Award from the 2nd International Meeting on Pathophysiology of Preconditioning, Hibernation, and Stunning (1998) and Research Career Enhancement Award from American Physiological Society (2002). In 2012, Dr. Xi was elected as a Fellow of American Heart Association (FAHA). He is also a co-inventor for a new method using a sensitive and low-cost luminescence assay for rapid detection of acute cardiac or cerebral ischemia in near real-time (United States patents No. 8,343,731 and 8,609,360, which were issued in 2013).


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