Download Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Xu obtained Ph.D. at University of Southern California in 2008, where he worked with Dr. Michel Baudry studying the interaction between glutamate receptors and calpain and its implications in brain functions. He then conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Tom Südhof at HHMI and Stanford University where he started to develop molecular tools for exploring brain circuits and used the tools to address questions related to memory. He joined the department of Neuroscience at UT Southwestern in Dec. 2014.

Dr. Xu is interested in the neuronal mechanisms underlying the basic cognitive processes. He focuses on the circuit level with the goal of bridging cellular and synaptic phenomena to high-level brain functions. The specific questions include the encoding, retrieval and generalization of memories and the brain’s executive control over the selection of behavioral programs. 

Research Interest

  • Behavior
  • Brain Connectivity
  • Neuronal integration
  • Synaptic activity and plasticity
  • Technology development


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Conditional neuroligin-2 knockout in adult medial prefrontal cortex links chronic changes in synaptic inhibition to cognitive impairments.
Liang J, Xu W, Hsu YT, Yee AX, Chen L, Südhof TC Mol. Psychiatry 2015 Mar
Synaptotagmin-1 and synaptotagmin-7 trigger synchronous and asynchronous phases of neurotransmitter release.
Bacaj T, Wu D, Yang X, Morishita W, Zhou P, Xu W, Malenka RC, Südhof TC Neuron 2013 Nov 80 4 947-59
Rapid single-step induction of functional neurons from human pluripotent stem cells.
Zhang Y, Pak C, Han Y, Ahlenius H, Zhang Z, Chanda S, Marro S, Patzke C, Acuna C, Covy J, Xu W, Yang N, Danko T, Chen L, Wernig M, Südhof TC Neuron 2013 Jun 78 5 785-98
Candidate autism gene screen identifies critical role for cell-adhesion molecule CASPR2 in dendritic arborization and spine development.
Anderson GR, Galfin T, Xu W, Aoto J, Malenka RC, Südhof TC Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2012 Oct 109 44 18120-5
CSPa knockout causes neurodegeneration by impairing SNAP-25 function.
Sharma M, Burré J, Bronk P, Zhang Y, Xu W, Südhof TC EMBO J. 2012 Feb 31 4 829-41
Doc2 supports spontaneous synaptic transmission by a Ca(2+)-independent mechanism.
Pang ZP, Bacaj T, Yang X, Zhou P, Xu W, Südhof TC Neuron 2011 Apr 70 2 244-51

Honors & Awards

  • K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award, NIH

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2008)
  • Society for Neuroscience (2003)