Xia Laboratory

Zongqi Xia, MD, PhD

Zongqi Xia, MD, PhD

Principal Investigator
Associate Professor of Neurology, Biomedical Informatics, Bioengineering, and Clinical and Translational Science


The Program of Translational and Computational Neuroimmunology addresses the unmet medical needs in the field of clinical neuroimmunology. Through multi-disciplinary collaborative efforts, we aim to bring precision medicine to multiple sclerosis (MS) and related neuroinflammatory disorders.

Currently, there are three ongoing research initiatives.

First, we are conducting a prospective cohort study of individuals at risk for MS with a nationwide scope of enrollment. Investigating the risk factors of MS and mapping the sequence of events leading to the onset of disease will pave the way to ultimately test primary prevention strategies in high-risk individuals.

Second, we are conducting a prospective cohort study of people with MS to investigate the biological and clinical predictors of disease course and treatment response in MS. Insights into the factors that influence the variable treatment response and the diverse trajectories of disease progression in MS will be the key to provide individually tailored therapy.

Third, we are developing computational approaches that leverage real world evidence such as electronic health records data for clinical discovery in MS and other related disorders. Tools that leverage real world clinical data for outcome prediction in chronic neurological disorders have the potential for widespread dissemination at the point of care.

For these initiatives, we harness multi-modal patient-derived data and deploy integrative quantitative science approaches to gain insights into the underlying disease process and translate these findings into the clinical arena to improve individualized risk prediction, prevention, and management in multiple sclerosis and other related disorders of neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration.

We seek highly motivated individuals to join our team:

1. Clinical research assistant
2. Laboratory research scientist
3. Data scientist
4. Post-doctoral fellow: quantitative science, physician-scientist


BA Biology Swarthmore College 1997
PhD Neuroscience Case Western Reserve University 2003
MD Medicine Case Western Reserve University 2005
Internship Internal Medicine University Hospitals of Cleveland 2005-2006
Residency Neurology Brigham and Women's Hospital & Massachusetts General Hospital 2006-2009
Post-doc Translational Neuroimmunology and Genomics Brigham and Women's Hospital 2009-2013
M.M.Sc Clinical Investigation Harvard Medical School 2011-2013

Positions Held

Associated Scientist Broad Institute 2009-
Instructor Harvard Medical School 2010-2013
Assistant Professor Harvard Medical School 2013-2015
Lecturer Harvard Medical School 2016-
Collaborator Scientist Brigham and Women's Hospital 2016-
Assistant Professor University of Pittsburgh 2016-2021
Associate Professor University of Pittsburgh 2021-

Honors and awards

1993-1994 Merit Award (City of Philadelphia)

1993-1997 Senator Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship

1997-2005 National Research Service Award (Medical Scientist Training Program at Case Western Reserve University)

2003 Dean’s Prize for MD/PhD Candidate (Case Western Reserve University)

2005 Benjamin Kean Traveling Fellowship (American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene)

2005 Frederick C. Robbins MD Travel Fellowship (Case Center for Global Health and Diseases)

2005 Neurology Department Graduation Award (Case Western Reserve University)

2009 Board certification (American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology)

2009-2010 National Research Service Award (Harvard Medical School Autoimmunity Training Program)

2010-2013 Clinician Scientist Development Award (National Multiple Sclerosis Society and American Academy of Neurology)

2016 European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, 32nd Congress (London, UK), best poster award

Selected Publications

Xia Z, Liu Q, Berger CT, Keenan BT, Kaliszewska A, Cheney PC, Srivastava G, Wood I, De Jager PL, and Alter G (2012). A 17q12 locus allele is associated with altered natural killer cell subsets and function. Journal of Immunology. 188: 3315-22.

Xia Z, Secor E, Chibnik L, Bove R, Cheng S, Chitnis T, Cagan A, Gainer V, Pei C, Liao K, Shaw S, Ananthakrishnan A, Szolovits P, Weiner H, Karlson E, Murphy S, Savova G, Cai T, Churchill S, Plenge R, Kohane I and De Jager P (2013). Modeling disease severity in multiple sclerosis using electronic health records. PLoS One. 8 (11): e78927.

Xia Z, White C, Owen E, von Korff A, Clarkson S, McCabe C, Cimpean M, Winn P, Hoesing A, Steele S, Cortese I, Chitnis T, Weiner H, Reich D, Chibnik L and De Jager P (2016). Genes and Environment in Multiple Sclerosis (GEMS) Project: a platform to investigate multiple sclerosis risk. Annals of Neurology. 79: 178-89.

Bargiela D, Bianchi M, Westover B, Chibnik L, Healy B, De Jager P and Xia Z (2017). Selection of first-line therapy in multiple sclerosis using risk-benefit decision analysis. Neurology. 88: 677-684.

Xia Z, Steele S, Bakshi A, Clarkson S, White C, Schindler M, Dewey B, Price L, Nair G, Ohayon J, Chibnik L, Cortese I, De Jager P and Reich D (2017). Assessment of early evidence of multiple sclerosis in a prospective study of asymptomatic high-risk first-degree family members. JAMA Neurology. 74: 293-300.

Xia Z and Friedlander RM (2017). Minocycline in multiple sclerosis – compelling results but too early to tell. New England Journal of Medicine. 376: 2191-2193.

Dhand A, White C, Johnson C, Xia Z and De Jager P (2018). A scalable online tool for quantitative social network assessment reveals potentially modifiable social environmental risks (in Multiple Sclerosis). Nature Communication. 9: 3930.

Zhang Y, Cai T, Yu S, Cho K, Hong C, Sun J, Huang J, Ho YL, Ananthakrishnan AN, Xia Z, Shaw SY, Gainer V, Castro V, Link N, Honerlaw J, Huang S, Gagnon D, Karlson EW, Plenge RM, Szolovits P, Savova G, Churchill S, O'Donnell C, Murphy SN, Gaziano JM, Kohane I, Cai T, Liao KP (2019). High-throughput phenotyping with electronic medical record data using a common semi-supervised approach (PheCAP). Nature Protocol. 14: 3426-3444.

Levin S, White C, Dhand A, Xia Z* and De Jager P* (2020). Association of social network structure and physical function in patients with multiple sclerosis. Neurology. 95: e1565-e1574. * Co-Senior Authors.

Zhang T, Goodman M, Zhu F, Healy B, Carruthers R, Chitnis T, Weiner H, Cai T, De Jager P, Tremlett H and Xia Z (2020). A phenome-wide examination of comorbidity burden and multiple sclerosis disease severity. Neurology Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation. 7: e864.

Ahuja Y, Kim N, Liang L, Cai T, Dahal K, Seyok T, Lin C, Finan S, Liao K, Savovoa G, Chitnis T, Cai T, Xia Z. Leveraging electronic health records data to predict multiple sclerosis disease activity. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 8: 800-810.

Levin SN, Venkatesh S, Nelson KE, Li Y, Aguerre I, Zhu W, Masown K, Rimmer KT, Diaconu CI, Onomichi KB, Leavitt VM, Levine LL, Strauss-Farber R, Vargas WS, Banwell B, Bar-Or A, Berger JR, Goodman AD, Longbrake EE, Oh J, Weinstock-Guttman B, Thakur KT, Edwards KR, Riley CS, Xia Z * and De Jager PL* (2021). Manifestations and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in neuroinflammatory diseases. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 8: 918-928. * Co-Senior Authors.

Mani A, Santini T, Puppala R, Dahl M, Venkatesh S, Walker E, DeHaven M, Isitan C, Ibrahim TS, Wang L, Zhang T, Gong E, Barrios-Martinez J, Yeh FC, Krafty R, Mettenburg JM, Xia Z. (2021) Applying Deep Learning to Accelerated Clinical Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Multiple Sclerosis. Front Neurol. 12: 685276.

Le TT, Gutiérrez-Sacristán A, Son J, Hong C, South AM, Beaulieu-Jones BK, Loh NHW, Luo Y, Morris M, Ngiam KY, Patel LP, Samayamuthu MJ, Schriver E, Tan ALM, Moore J, Cai T, Omenn GS, Avillach P, Kohane IS, Visweswaran S, Mowery DL, Xia Z. (2021) Multinational characterization of neurological phenotypes in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Sci Rep. 11:20238.

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Lab Members