October 8, 2018

Ping-Ching Hsu, Ph.D.

Cancer Institute Member
Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health
UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health

Research Interest Statement

My laboratory has a strong focus on advancing regulatory science by using population-based metabolomics approaches to better understand and predict toxins and metabolite markers in humans as a result of tobacco use. Metabolomic profiling can quantitatively measure perturbations of metabolites (the metabolome) in response to a treatment or disease. Levels of these compounds may be affected by genetics, gender, race, metabolic rate, environmental stimuli and disease, and therefore, represent phenotypic responses for both endogenous processes and exogenous exposures.

I am a member of the NCI Metabolomics Quality Assurance and Quality Control Consortium (mQACC). My team has reported metabolomic profiling in a cross-sectional study of smokers and identified metabolites that were mapped to biological networks not previously linked with tobacco-related carcinogenesis. We also identified a menthol metabolite in blood and demonstrated that its level in the blood is positively related to smoking behavior. My goal is to use our work in metabolomics, along with other omics platforms and collaborative transdisciplinary team science approaches, to reduce health disparities in tobacco-related diseases and to further inform FDA rules and guidelines that aim to reduce the impact of tobacco use on the nation’s health.


Peer-Reviewed Grants

2018 U54

Arkansas Center for Health Disparities Pilot Award 

Understanding the factors influencing exposures from tobacco usage among young adults in the minority communities

9/01/2018 – 8/31/2019

Principal Investigator




Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Component A: Arkansas Proposal to participate in the Birth Defect Study to Evaluate Pregnancy exposureS (BD-STEPS II)

9/01/2018 – 8/07/2023

Co-Investigator, Nembhard (PI)




National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities

Arkansas Center for Health Disparities (ARCHD): An NIMHD COR. Project 1: Reducing Tobacco Smoke Exposures among Low Income Children and Women Caregivers in the Arkansas Delta Region

9/01/2017 – 8/31/2022

Co-Investigator, Raczynski/Cornell (PI)




National Cancer Institute

Models For Tobacco Product Evaluation

1/01/2018 – 8/31/2018

Co-Investigator, Hatsukami/Shields (PI)



UAMS Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences 2017 Pilot Award (FY-ABI Recruitment)

Disparities in Epigenetic Profiles in Arkansas Women with High and Low Poverty Counties: A Validation Study


Principal Investigator



UAMS 2017 Center for the Study of Tobacco Pilot Award

Metabolomic Profiling from the Arkansas Cardiovascular Health Examination Survey (ARCHES)

Investigate metabolic impacts from different tobacco products use (cigarette and smokeless) in human blood


Principal Investigator



Dr. Hsu’s UAMS Collaborators

Joseph Su, Ph.D., MPH

Pebbles Fagan, Ph.D., MPH

Henry Wong, M.D.

Issam Makhoul, M.D.

Susan Kadlubar, Ph.D.

Claudia Barone, D.N.P., Ed.D.

John Arthur, M.D. Ph.D.

Wendy Nembhard, Ph.D., MPH, FACE

Jonathan Laryea, M.D.

Thomas Kieber-Emmons, Ph.D.

Behjatolah Karbassi, Ph.D.

Pearl McElfish, Ph.D.

Reid Landes, Ph.D.

Milan Bimali, Ph.D.

Eric Siegel, M.S.


Dr. Hsu’s External Collaborators

Namvar Zohoori, M.D., Ph.D., MPH (Arkansas Department of Health)

Richard. D. Beger, Ph.D. (National Center for Toxicological Research, FDA)

Valandra Oliver, Ph.D., MPH (University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff)

Naomi Cottoms (Tri County Rural Health Network)

Thomas Wang, Ph.D. (United States Department of Agriculture)

Mario Schootman, Ph.D. (St. Louis University)

Peter Shields, M.D. (The Ohio State University)

Ken Riedl, Ph.D. (The Ohio State University)

David J. Borts, Ph.D. (Iowa State University)

Amrita Cheema, Ph.D. (Georgetown University)

Wallace Pickworth, Ph.D. (Battelle)


Opportunities for Collaboration

Tobacco reporting data in epidemiology studies are based on self-reported tobacco use, which is mostly categorized and subject to reporting biases. Alternatively, blood cotinine levels represent actual nicotine consumption and can be measured. Therefore, knowledge of the intensity of usage and the type of tobacco product used should be utilized to construct a hypotheses-driven metabolomics model related to disease, in order to identify a metabolic pattern that is most predictive of cancer risk.

I am currently a collaborator on the Arkansas Rural Community Health Study and within the Center for the Study of Tobacco. I am passionate about the metabolic impact of tobacco usage, as well as improving the quality assurance and quality control procedures for untargeted metabolomics. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to work together!


You Might not Know that …

My husband and I are members of the Immanuel Baptist Chinese Church. We enjoy serving in our church, spending time with our family and friends, cooking, watching movies and exploring the beautiful sights in Arkansas.


Recent Cancer-Related Publications

  1. Hsu PC, Kadlubar S, Su LS, Acheampong D, Rogers LJ, Runnells G, McElfish PA and Schootman M. “Epigenetic modifications of life expectancy by county poverty levels in women residing in Arkansas: a pilot study” Translational Cancer Research. (In Press)
  2. Hsu PC, Lan RS, Brasky TM, Marian C, Cheema AK, Ressom HW, Loffredo CA, Pickworth WB, Shields PG. “Metabolomic Profiles of Current Cigarette Smokers.” Molecular Carcinogenesis. Feb;56(2):564-606, 2017.
  3. Hsu PC, Lan RS, Brasky TM, Marian C, Cheema AK, Ressom HW, Loffredo CA, Pickworth WB, Shields PG. “Menthol smokers: metabolomic profiling and smoking behavior.” Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Jan;(26)1:51-60, 2017.
  4. Weng DY, Chen J, Taslim C, Hsu PC, Marian C, David S, Loffredo CA, Shields PG. “Persistent Alterations of Gene Expression Profiling of Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells from Smokers.” Molecular Carcinogenesis. Aug 21, 2015.
  5. Hsu PC, Zhou B, Zhao Y, Ressom HW, Cheema AK, Pickworth W, Shields PG. “Feasibility of identifying the tobacco-related global metabolome in blood by UPLC-QTOF-MS.” J Proteome Res. Dec;12(2):679-91, 2012.