Xiangya Research Training Program

Biomedical science research training partnership with China's Central South University Xiangya School of Medicine

"We are helping to train the future leaders of medicine in China. These students can return to China to have a huge impact in the field, and the University of Michigan will have played a key role in their training and education."

Eugene Chen, UMMS Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine & Xiangya Training Program director
Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine Eugene Chen addresses a cohort of visiting students from the Xiangya School of Medicine.

The University of Michigan Medical School and Central South University’s Xiangya School of Medicine, located in Changsha, China, formalized their research training program in 2014. Each year, up to 10 of Xiangya’s brightest medical students are selected to travel to U-M to work in the lab of a Michigan Medicine faculty mentor. To date, 68 students have participated in the program.

The Xiangya Training partnership is funded by the Central South University and a generous donation of a Xiangya alum.

Program participants are selected by their institution to spend 24-months in Ann Arbor working in the lab of a Michigan Medicine faculty mentor. Medical education in China begins immediately after high school and requires eight years to complete. Most participating Xiangya students arrive at UMMS following their sixth year of medical school and spend two years at U-M before returning to China to finish their MD degree.

Announced in 2019 and launched in 2021, this training track is a degree-conferring program during which participating students take courses through the UMMS Program in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS) and spend five years in the research lab of a UMMS faculty mentor. Participants earn their PhD from U-M and return to China to complete their MD.  The agreement marks the first-of-its-kind dual-degree program offered through the Xiangya School of Medicine.

By the Numbers

Participating Xiangya trainees to date
Publications co-authored by Xianyga trainees with UMMS colleagues
UMMS training program mentors representing 21 departments


Since their arrival at UMMS research labs in 2014, Xiangya medical students have been engaged in a range of important research across a number of disciplines, from heart and arterial disease to pancreatic cancer. Xiangya students have helped author nearly 100 articles in scientific and medical journals. Select publications are listed below.

Serum citrullinated histone H3 concentrations differentiate patients with septic verses non-septic shock and correlate with disease severity
Journal: Infection
Year: 2021
Xiangya Trainee: Yuzi Tian
UMMS Mentor: Yongqing Li

Transgenic expression of SOD1 specifically in neurons of Sod1 deficient mice prevents defects in muscle mitochondrial function and calcium handling
Journal:  Free Radical Biology & Medicine
Year: 2021
Xiangya Trainee: Yu Su
UMMS Mentor: Susan Brooks

BAF60a Deficiency in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells Prevents Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm by Reducing Inflammation and Extracellular Matrix Degradation
Journal:  Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Year: 2020
Xiangya Trainee: Ziyi Chang
UMMS Mentor: Eugene Chen

The Mitochondrial Fission Regulator DRP1 Controls Post-Transcriptional Regulation of TNF-α
Journal:  Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
Year: 2020
Xiangya Trainee: Fushan Gao
UMMS Mentor: Mary O’Riordan

Adrenergic-Independent Signaling via CHRNA2 Regulates Beige Fat Activation
Journal: Developmental Cell
Year: 2020
Xiangya Trainee: Yingxu Ma
UMMS Mentor: Jun Wu

Potential role of intermittent functioning of baroreflexes in the etiology of hypertension in spontaneously hypertensive rats
Journal: JCI Insight
Year: 2020
Xianya Trainee: Feng Gu
UMMS Mentor: Daniel Beard

BAF60a Deficiency in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells Prevents Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm by Reducing Inflammation and Extracellular Matrix Degradation
Journal: Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology
Year: 2020
Xianya Trainee: Jinjian Sun
UMMS Mentor: Eugene Chen

Trp53 null and R270H mutant alleles have comparable effects in regulating invasion, metastasis, and gene expression in mouse colon tumorigenesis
Journal: Laboratory Investigation
Year: 2019
Xiangya Trainee: Ying Tang
UMMS Mentor: Eric Fearon

Drug-induced lupus erythematosus: An update on drugs and mechanisms
Journal:  Current Opinion in Rheumatology
Year: 2018
Xiangya Trainee: Ye He
UMMS Mentor: Amr Sawalha

CitH3: a reliable blood biomarker for diagnosis and treatment of endotoxic shock
Journal: Scientific Reports
Year: 2017
Xiangya Trainee: Baihong Pan
UMMS Mentor: Yongqing Li

PDX1 dynamically regulates pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma initiation and maintenance
Journal:  Genes & Development
Year: 2016
Xiangya Trainee: Shan Gao
UMMS Mentor: Howard Crawford


Program Mentors

The Xiangya Research Training program owes its success to the dedication and support of the many UMMS mentors who welcome these students into their labs. We thank the following faculty for sharing their time, talents and expertise with our Xiangya trainees.

David A. Antonetti, PhD - Ophthalmology

Daniel Beard, PhD - Molecular & Integrative Physiology

Susan Brooks, PhD - Molecular & Integrative Physiology

Marilia Cascalho, MD, PhD - Surgery

Eugene Chen, MD, PhD - Cardiovascular Medicine

Daniel T. Eitzman, MD - Cellular & Molecular Biology

Eric Fearon, MD, PhD - Human Genetics

Patrice Fort, PhD - Ophthalmology

Sue Hammoud, PhD - Human Genetics

Wenjun Ju, PhD - Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics

Evan Keller, PhD - Urology

Matthias Kretzler, MD - Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics

Yongqing Li, MD, PhD - Surgery

Mats Ljungman, PhD - Radiation Oncology

Mary O'Riordan, PhD - Microbiology & Immunology

Jack Parent, MD - Neurology

Danica Petrovic-Djergovic, MD, PhD - Cardiovascular Center

David J. Pinsky, MD - Cardiovascular Medicine

Ling Qi, PhD - Molecular & Integrative Physiology

Jiaqi Shi, MD, PhD - Pathology

Scott Soleimanpour, MD - Immunology

Michael Sutton, PhD - Molecular & Integrative Physiology

Tony Tong, MD, PhD - Molecular & Integrative Physiology

Zhong Wang, PhD - Cardiac Surgery

Jun Wu, PhD - Molecular & Integrative Physiology

Bo Yang, MD, PhD - Cardiac Surgery

Lei Yin, PhD - Molecular & Integrative Physiology

David Zacks, MD, PhD - Ophthalmology