School of Pharmacy

Qingcheng Mao

Associate Professor

Department of Pharmaceutics, OPRU, Pharmaceutics Faculty, School Faculty, UWPKDAP

Telephone: (206) 685-0355


Website: PubMed

Accepting Students to Lab: Yes


  • BS, East China University of Science and Technology
  • MS, East china University of Science and Technology
  • PhD, University of Bern, Switzerland

Research Interests

  1. ABC protein-mediated transport of endogenous substances, drugs and xenobiotics
  2. Expression and activity of drug transporters and metabolizing enzymes in the feto-placental unit and their impact on maternal and fetal exposure to drugs and xenobiotics
  3. Regulation of ABC transporters in human placenta by hormones and xenobiotics
  4. Placental and fetal toxicity of drugs and xenobiotics
  5. Structure and function of ABC drug transporters

Courses Taught

  • PCEUT531: Pharmaceutical Formulation: Principles and Dosage Forms
  • PCEUT503: Drug Transport and Delivery


His primary research interests center on ABC transporter-mediated drug disposition; structure, function and transport mechanism of ABC transporters; and mechanisms by which pregnancy affects drug/xenobiotic disposition including fetal exposure to drugs and xenobiotics through regulating drug disposition genes (drug metabolizing enzymes and transporters). Currently, his lab is interested in structure and function of the Human Breast Cancer Resistance Protein (BCRP/ABCG2), one of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) efflux transporters important for drug disposition. His lab is one of the first to demonstrate that BCRP in the placental barrier limits fetal exposure to drugs routinely used by pregnant women such as glyburide and nitrofurantoin using pregnant mouse models. His research interests have now extended to investigate how ABC efflux transporters in the placental barrier influence fetal exposure to cannabinoids which are being increasingly used by pregnant women as well as placental and fetal toxicity of cannabinoids. In addition, he is investigating the mechanisms by which pregnancy alters drug disposition through changing expression of drug disposition genes. In this regard, he found that the magnitude of change in drug disposition by pregnancy observed in humans could be replicated in mice, indicating that pregnant mice are appropriate animal models to study the mechanisms of changes in drug disposition by pregnancy which are difficult to study in humans due to ethical challenges. Using the mouse models, he has shown that the systemic exposure to various drugs is significantly altered by pregnancy through induction of drug-metabolizing enzymes such as Cyp3a and Ugt genes. Recently, he is expanding his research to examine how the gut microbiome affects drug disposition during pregnancy. Such studies are important for mechanistic understanding of how drugs can be safely and effectively used during pregnancy.

Selected Publications

Zhou L, Naraharisetti SB, Wang H, Unadkat JD, Hebert MF, Mao Q. The breast cancer resistance protein (Bcrp1/Abcg2) limits fetal distribution of glyburide in the pregnant mouse: an Obstetric-Fetal Pharmacology Research Unit Network and University of Washington Specialized Center of Research Study. Mol Pharmacol. 73(3):949-959, 2008

Shuster DL, Bammler TK, Beyer RP, Macdonald JW, Tsai JM, Farin FM, Hebert MF, Thummel KE, Mao Q. Gestational age-dependent changes in gene expression of metabolic enzymes and transporters in pregnant mice. Drug Metab Dispos. 41(2):332-342, 2013

Shuster DL, Risler LJ, Liang CK, Rice KM, Shen DD, Hebert MF, Thummel KE, Mao Q. Maternal-fetal disposition of glyburide in pregnant mice is dependent on gestational age. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 350(2):425-434, 2014

Shuster DL, Risler LJ, Prasad B, Calamia JC, Voellinger JL, Kelly EJ, Unadkat JD, Hebert MF, Shen DD, Thummel KE, Mao Q. Identification of CYP3A7 for glyburide metabolism in human fetal livers. Biochem Pharmacol. 92(4):690-700, 2014

Neradugomma NK, Liao MZ, Mao Q. Buprenorphine, Norbuprenorphine, R-Methadone, and S-Methadone Upregulate BCRP/ABCG2 Expression by Activating Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor in Human Placental Trophoblasts. Mol Pharmacol. 91(3):237-249, 2017

Liao MZ, Gao C, Shireman LM, Phillips B, Risler LJ, Neradugomma NK, Choudhari P, Prasad B, Shen DD, Mao Q. P-gp/ABCB1 exerts differential impacts on brain and fetal exposure to norbuprenorphine. Pharmacol Res. 119:61-71, 2017

Liao MZ, Gao C, Phillips BR, Neradugomma NK, Han LW, Bhatt DK, Prasad B, Shen DD, Mao Q. Pregnancy Increases Norbuprenorphine Clearance in Mice by Induction of Hepatic Glucuronidation. Drug Metab Dispos. 46(2):100-108, 2018

Neradugomma NK, Drafton K, O’Day DR, Liao MZ, Han LW, Glass IA, Mao Q. Marijuana use differentially affects cannabinoid receptor expression in early gestational human endometrium and placenta. Placenta 66: 36-39, 2018

Neradugomma NK, Drafton K, Mor GG, Mao Q. Marijuana-derived cannabinoids inhibit uterine endometrial stromal cell decidualization and compromise trophoblast-endometrium cross-talk. Reprod Toxicol. 87:100-107, 2019