Xianghong Arakaki MD, PhD

Xianghong Arakaki MD, PhD

Neurosciences, Research Scientist, Electrophysiology

Research Focus

Dr. Arakaki joined HMRI with Dr. Michael Harrington after her Ph.D. in 2007, led by her interests in neurophysiology and clinical disease. Xianghong received her MD from the Medical College of Tongji University and her MS in Neurobiology from the Medical Center of Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Xianghong got her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Dept. of Anatomy & Neurobiology of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN.

Since joining HMRI in 2007, Xianghong has developed a great interest in migraine research. She improved her skills in electrophysiology and molecular biology in migraine research and in collaboration with her colleagues. Specifically, she has cultured primary rat hippocampal pyramidal cells and carried out patch clamp studies to provide supportive evidence for Dr. Harrington’s sodium theory of migraine. NEURON simulation together with Dr. Harrington’s MRI sodium imaging gave further proof for sodium-related neuronal hyperexcitability in migraine. Brainstem auditory evoked potential (BAEP) studies in rat migraine model fuel her passion for translational research between animal models and humans. Her ongoing animal project includes the somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) and high-frequency oscillations (HFOs) in the rat migraine model with her colleagues Dr. Harrington and collaborator Dr. Shoaran.

Xianghong is now exploring human neurophysiological studies with great enthusiasm, including evoked potentials (EPs), event-related potentials (ERPs), electroencephalography (EEG), and magnetoencephalography (MEG) (together with Thao Tran and Dr. Kevin King), to investigate the underlying mechanisms of migraine, mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), and other conditions. Specifically, using EEG time-frequency analysis developed at HMRI and with her colleagues Dr. Harrington, Dr. Fonteh, and Dr. King, as well as with collaborator Dr. Zouridakis, Xianghong is identifying EEG spectral power signatures during brain challenge testing or functional EEG that are potential indicators of mTBI or pre-symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease. The goal of her research would be to develop and apply non-invasive neurophysiological skills to clinic neurological conditions, including migraine, mTBI, and Alzheimer’s disease.

In October 2019, Xianghong was elected for a two-year term to serve as a Steering Committee Member of the Electrophysiology PIA Executive Committee of the Alzheimer’s Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment (ISTAART).