Dr. Xu obtained his MD from Peking Union Medical College in 1991 and his PhD in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology from Johns Hopkins University in 2000. He completed postdoctoral training with one of the most distinguished pioneers in the retinal and neural stem cell fields, Dr. Derek van der Kooy of the University of Toronto. In 2004, as a principal investigator and assistant professor, Dr. Xu established his research laboratory in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Neurological Sciences at Rush University Medical Center.
The ultimate goals for Dr. Xu’s research are to gain a deeper understanding of molecular mechanisms and to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic targets for the treatment of retinal and neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Xu has established extensive research programs on microRNAs in retina and neurological systems. (MicroRNAs are small regulatory molecules that play important roles in normal functions and disease in all organ systems, and can serve as ideal diagnostic and therapeutic targets in various diseases including neurodegenerative diseases.) Dr. Xu’s lab published one of the most important papers on microRNAs in the retina and has become one of the leading labs in the field. Dr. Xu also has established stem cell research programs including transplantational treatment of retinal degenerative diseases.