Biography

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I am a practicing neuropathologist and assistant professor in the Pathology Department at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX. I received my medical degree from Beijing Medical University, Beijing, China, PhD degree from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and pathology residency and fellowship training at Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO.

My main areas of clinical expertise and research focus on the diagnosis of brain tumors and peripheral muscle and nerve diseases. UTSW Medical Center is the largest referring center for muscle and nerve biopsies in Texas and receives biopsies specimens from over 100 institutions over a 6-state area. My research focuses on the development of novel immunohistochemical tools to improve the diagnostic yield of muscle and nerve biopsies. We are the first and only clinical laboratory in the United States that has validated Morin stain for the diagnosis of macrophagic myofasciitis, a treatable, vaccine related inflammatory condition. More recently, we published distinguishing features of diabetic neuropathy using C5b-9 immunostain in peripheral nerve biopsies, this immunostain may significantly increase the diagnostic yield of peripheral nerve biopsies.

Meningioma is another area of my key research interest. Meningioma arises from the covering of the brain and is the most common central nervous system tumor. Most are benign. However, approximately 5-10% fail surgery and radiation therapy and undergo treatment refractory progression. There is currently no effective chemotherapy for meningioma. We have identified tumor necrosis as the dominant predictor for post radiation recurrence in meningioma, and propose using carbonic anhydrase IX as a marker for radioresistant cells. Current research focuses on mechanism and new therapeutic approaches for meniningioma with radiorefractory progression.

Education

Medical School
Beijing Medical University, China (2001)
Graduate School
Wesleyan University (2008), Biology
Postdoctoral Fellowship
University of Connecticut Health Center (2010), Neuroscience
Residency
Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine (2014), Anatomic/neuropathology
Fellowship
Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine (2015), Surgical Pathology

Research Interest

  • Meningioma
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Tumor ischemia and radio-resistance

Publications

Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Management of atypical cranial meningiomas, part 2: predictors of progression and the role of adjuvant radiation after subtotal resection.
Sun SQ, Cai C, Murphy RK, DeWees T, Dacey RG, Grubb RL, Rich KM, Zipfel GJ, Dowling JL, Leuthardt EC, Leonard JR, Evans J, Simpson JR, Robinson CG, Perrin RJ, Huang J, Chicoine MR, Kim AH Neurosurgery 2014 Oct 75 4 356-63; discussion 363
Management of atypical cranial meningiomas, part 1: predictors of recurrence and the role of adjuvant radiation after gross total resection.
Sun SQ, Kim AH, Cai C, Murphy RK, DeWees T, Sylvester P, Dacey RG, Grubb RL, Rich KM, Zipfel GJ, Dowling JL, Leuthardt EC, Leonard JR, Evans J, Simpson JR, Robinson CG, Perrin RJ, Huang J, Chicoine MR Neurosurgery 2014 Oct 75 4 347-54; discussion 354-5; quiz 355
Fatal human herpesvirus 6-associated encephalitis in two boys with underlying POLG mitochondrial disorders.
Al-Zubeidi D, Thangarajh M, Pathak S, Cai C, Schlaggar BL, Storch GA, Grange DK, Watson ME Pediatr. Neurol. 2014 Sep 51 3 448-52
Keratinizing-type squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx: p16 overexpression is associated with positive high-risk HPV status and improved survival.
Cai C, Chernock RD, Pittman ME, El-Mofty SK, Thorstad WL, Lewis JS Am. J. Surg. Pathol. 2014 Jun 38 6 809-15
In myofibroblastic sarcomas of the head and neck, mitotic activity and necrosis define grade: a case study and literature review.
Cai C, Dehner LP, El-Mofty SK Virchows Arch. 2013 Dec 463 6 827-36
Teratocarcinoma formation in embryonic stem cell-derived neural progenitor hippocampal transplants.
Germain ND, Hartman NW, Cai C, Becker S, Naegele JR, Grabel LB Cell Transplant 2012 21 8 1603-11
Primary Ewing's sarcoma of cranial bones: analysis of ten patients.
Salunke PS, Gupta K, Malik V, Kumar N, Henke LE, Cai C, Chen WS, Pfeifer JD Acta Neurochir (Wien) 2011 Jul 153 7 1477-85
Hedgehog serves as a mitogen and survival factor during embryonic stem cell neurogenesis.
Cai C, Thorne J, Grabel L Stem Cells 2008 May 26 5 1097-108
Directing the differentiation of embryonic stem cells to neural stem cells.
Cai C, Grabel L Dev. Dyn. 2007 Dec 236 12 3255-66

Honors & Awards

  • Keifer Graduate Research Award, Wesleyan University
  • Leadership Emerging in Academic Department (LEAD)
    Junior Faculty LEAD Program for Physician &Scientists
  • Outstanding Student Award, Beijing Medical University

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • Chinese American Pathologists Association (CAPA) (2018)
  • Texas Medical Association (2017)
  • College of American Pathologists (CAP) (2015)
  • American Board of Pathology (ABP) (2014)
  • Member of American Association of Neuropathologists (AANP) (2014)
  • Member of United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) (2014)