Professor and Chair,xylu
Dept. of Neuroscience & Regenerative Medicine
GRA Eminent Scholar Chair in Translational Neuroscience
School of Graduate Studies

Mailing Address:

Dept. of Neuroscience & Regenerative Medicine
1120 15th Street, Rm. CA3006
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University
Augusta, GA 30912

Office:   CA-3006
Phone:  706-721-0550


1993-1998 Ph.D. in Pharmacology, Washington State University, WA
1987-1990 M.Sc. in Biochemistry, Zhanjiang Medical College, China
1982-1987 M.D., Binzhou Medical College, China


1998-2001 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Mental Health Research Institute, Univ. of Michigan, Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI.

Research Interests:

Stress-related disorders, Alzheimer's disease, brain aging, neural plasticity, epigenetics

Our long term research goal is to understand molecular, cellular and epigenetic mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis and treatment of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders. Our on-going projects include 1) histone tail modifications during aging and in Alzheimer’s disease (AD); 2) adipokine modulation of synaptic plasticity and cognitive and emotional behaviors; 3) interplay between peripheral and CNS inflammation in neurodegeneration and stress-related disorders; and 4) hippocampal and hypothalamic neurons in stress responses and adaptations.


Dr. Lu lab image


Lab Members:

Xin-Yun Lu, MD,PhD - Professor
Yun Lei, PhD – Assistant Professor
Jacob Garza, PhD – Senior Research Scientist
Yuting Chen, PhD – Postdoctoral Fellow
Brandy Somera, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow
Maryam Malek, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow

Yu Bai – Research Associate
Shu Chen – Research Technician
Florika Patel - Research Associate

Kirstyn Denney – PhD Student
Jayvon Nougiasse - MD/PhD Student
Amin Karimi Moghaddam - PhD Student
Miskatul Mishu - PhD Student

Simon Miller - Medical Student
Jubin Mathew - Undergraduate Honors Program
Aditi Yellu, BS/MD Professional Scholars Program

Open Positions at Lu Lab:

We are currently welcoming postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduate students to join our laboratory.

Postdoctoral Fellows: 
We seek postdoctoral fellows interested in studying Alzheimer’s disease, depression and PTSD. The ideal candidates will hold a PhD in neuroscience, physiology, molecular/cell biology, metabolic biology or neuropharmacology. Expertise in electrophysiology, transgenic mouse models, epigenetics, imaging, and in vitro and in vivo adipose biology is desirable. Candidates are expected to have good communication skills and have a strong drive for building a successful research career.

Graduate Students:
We welcome graduate students and are interested in potential rotation students. Prospective students can apply to our lab through the Graduate Program in Neuroscience as well as through the MD/PhD Program.

Undergraduate Students:
We accept motivated undergraduate students who are interested in biomedical research.

Recent Publications:

  1. Kumro J, Tripathi A, Lei Y, Sword J, Callahan P, Terry A, Lu XY, Kirov S, Pillai A, Blake DT (2023). Chronic basal forebrain activation improves spatial memory, boosts neurotrophin receptor expression, and lowers BACE1 and Aβ42 levels in the cerebral cortex in mice.  Cerebral Cortex. Accepted for publication.
  2. Fang X, Chen Y, Wang J, Zhang Z, Bai Y, Denney K, Gan L, Guo M, Weintraub NL, Lei Y, Lu XY (2022).  Increased intrinsic and synaptic excitability of hypothalamic POMC neurons underlies chronic stress-induced behavioral deficits.  Molecular Psychiatry.  2022 Dec 6. doi: 10.1038/s41380-022-01872-5.
  3. Miller B, McEvoy JP, McCall WV, Lu XY (2022).  Lower adiponectin levels as a predictor of depressive symptoms in African-American males with schizophrenia.  Schizophrenia Research.  2022 Nov 18;250:134-136.
  4. Stranahan AM, Guo DH, Yamamoto M, Hernandez CM, Khodadadi H, Baban B, Zhi W, Lei Y, Lu XY, Ding K, Isales CM. (2022) Sex differences in adipose tissue distribution determine susceptibility to neuroinflammation in mice with dietary obesity.  Diabetes. 2022 Nov 11;db220192. doi: 10.2337/db22-0192.
  5. Saggu S, Chen Y, Wang H, Cottingham C, Zhang S, Augelli-Szafran C, Jiao K, Lu XY and Wang Q (2022).  Activation of a novel α2AAR-spinophilin-cofilin axis determines the effect of α2 adrenergic drugs on fear memory reconsolidation. Molecular Psychiatry. 2022 Nov 10;1-13. doi:10.1038/s41380-022-01851-w.
  6. Lei Y, Wang D, Bai Y, Nougaisse J, Weintraub NL, Guo M, Lu XY (2022). Leptin enhances social motivation and reverses chronic unpredictable stress-induced social anhedonia during adolescence.  Molecular Psychiatry.  2022 Sep 22. doi: 10.1038/s41380-022-01778-2. Online ahead of print. Selected as a featured article and for a front cover image by Molecular Psychiatry.
  7. Kim J, Lei Y, Lu XY, and Kim CS (2022). Glucocorticoid-glucocorticoid receptor-HCN1 channels reduce neuronal excitability in dorsal hippocampal CA1 neurons. Molecular Psychiatry. 2022 Jul 15. doi: 10.1038/s41380-022-01682-9. Online ahead of print.
  8. Chin E, Ma Q, Ruan H, Chin C, Somasundaram A, Zhang C, Liu C, Lewis M, White MA, Smith T, Battersby M, Yao WD, Lu XY, Arap W, Licinio J, Wong ML (2022).  The epigenetic reader PHF21B modulates social memory and synaptic plasticity-related genes in mice.  JCI Insight. 2022 Jul 22;7(14): e158081. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight. 158081
  9. Goo B, Ahmadieh S, Zarzour A, Yiew NKH, Kim D, Shi H, Greenway J, Cave S, JNguyen J, Arbindi S, Wendolowski M, Veerapaneni P, Ogbi M, Chen W, Lei Y, Lu XY, Kim HW, Weintraub NL.  Sex-dependent role of adipose tissue HDAC9 in diet-induced obesity and metabolic dysfunction. Cells, 2022, 11, 2698. 11172698
  10. Fang X, Jiang S, Wang J, Bai Y, Kim CS, Blake DT, Weintraub NL, Lei Y, Lu XY (2022). Chronic unpredictable stress induces depression-related behaviors via suppressing AgRP neuron activity. Molecular Psychiatry. 26(6): 2299-2315. doi: 10.1038/s41380-020-01004-x. Epub 2021 Jan 11. Selected as a "SPOTLIGHT" article by Trends in Neurosciences.
  11. Kim NS, Wen Z, Liu J, Zhou Y, Guo Z, Xu C, Lin YT, Yoon KJ, Park J, Cho M, Kim M, Wang X, Yu H, Salamuru S, Christian KM, Hsu KS, Xia M, Li W, Ross CA, Margolis RL, Lu XY#, Song H#, Ming GL# (2021). Pharmacological rescue in patient iPSC and mouse models with a rare DISC1 mutation. Nature Communications. 2021 Mar 3;12(1):1398. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-21713-3.  #co-corresponding authors
  12. Wong ML, Arcos-Burgos M, Liu S, Licinio AW, Yu C, Chin EWM, Yao WD, Lu XY, Bornstein SR, Licinio J (2021) Rare Functional Variants Associated with Antidepressant Remission in Mexican-Americans: Short title: Antidepressant remission and pharmacogenetics in Mexican-Americans. Journal of Affective Disorders. 279:491-500. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2020.10.027. Epub 2020 Oct 17.
  13. Li C, Meng F, Lei Y, Liu J, Liu J, Zhang J, Liu F, Liu C, Guo M, Lu XY (2020). Leptin regulates exon-specific transcription of the Bdnf gene via epigenetic modifications mediated by an AKT/p300 HAT cascade.Molecular Psychiatry. 26(8):3701-3722. doi: 10.1038/s41380-020-00922-0. Epub 2020 Oct 26
  14. Li C, Meng F, Garza JC, Liu J, Lei Y, Kirov S, Guo M, Lu XY (2021). Modulation of depression-related behaviors by adiponectin AdipoR1 receptors in 5-HT neurons. Molecular Psychiatry.  26(8):4205-4220. doi: 10.1038/s41380-020-0649-0. Epub 2020 Jan 24
  15. Lei Y, Wang J, Wang D, Li C, Liu B, Fang X, You J, Guo M, Lu XY (2020). SIRT1 in forebrain excitatory neurons produces sexually dimorphic effects on depression-related behaviors and modulates neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission in the medial prefrontal cortex Molecular Psychiatry. 25:1094-1111. doi: 10.1038/s41380-019-0352-1. Epub 2019 Jan 31
  16. Yiew NKH, Greenway C, Zarzour A, Ahmadieh S, Goo B, Kim D, Benson TW, Ogbi M, Tang YL, Chen W, Stepp D, Patel V, Hilton R, Lu XY, Hui DY, Kim HW, Weintraub NL (2019). Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) regulates adipocyte lipid metabolism independent of adipogenic differentiation: Role of apolipoprotein E. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 294(21):8577-8591.
  17. Sun F, Lei Y, You J, Li C, Sun L, Garza J, Zhang D, Guo M, Scherer P, Lodge D, Lu XY (2019). Adiponectin modulates ventral tegmental area dopamine neuron activity and anxiety-related behavior through AdipoR1. Molecular Psychiatry, 24(1):126-144.