Twenty years ago, Zijian Xie, Ph.D., director of the Marshall Institute for Interdisciplinary Research and professor in the department of biomedical sciences at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, discovered the scaffolding/signaling function of the Na/K-ATPase sodium pump, a significant research finding that has had tremendous applications in both biology and medicine.

In honor of this milestone and the impact of Xie’s discovery on cell biology, the International Journal of Molecular Sciences has released a special issue featuring articles related to this scaffolding/signaling function. The special issue is co-edited by Joseph I. Shapiro, M.D., dean and professor of medicine at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, and V. Gustavo Blanco, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at University of Kansas Medical Center.

“This special issue is a marvelous tribute to a truly seminal discovery by my dear friend and colleague of more than 20 years,” Shapiro said.

Xie’s work during the last 35 years has been dedicated to understanding the behavior of cellular pathways and their relationship to cancer, renal disease and cardiac failure. Xie came to Marshall in 2013 from the University of Toledo, where his discovery of the scaffolding/signaling function was made. Xie holds international patents and patent applications on seven medical inventions resulting from his research. He has served as principal investigator, project leader and co-investigator on National Institutes of Health-funded projects and has established active international collaborations. He is the author or co-author of more than 100 articles published in scientific journals and has authored a number of book chapters.

“Dr. Xie’s pioneering observations of the scaffolding and signaling function of Na,K-ATPase had a great impact on our understanding of cell biology and opened a new area of research,” Blanco said. “The articles in this special issue are a testimony of the expansion of this novel and exciting field of study.”

The International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI. View the complete special issue at

Originally from Sheanna Spence for Marshall University Communications