Xinyu Zhao, PHD

Position title: Professor, Neuroscience / Waisman Center


Phone: 608-890-0173

Organ System/Disease Focus:
Neurodevelopmental disorders, Autism, fragile X syndrome, Rett syndrome
Aligned Research Focus:
Mammalian neural stem cells, Gene regulation of neurogenesis, human stem cell for disease modeling
Xinyu Zhao headshot


News Releases:
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Research Description:

The research in our laboratory focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate neuronal development. We are particularly interested in two aspects of gene expression regulation: epigenetic mechanisms through chromatin remodeling and noncoding RNAs and post-transcriptional regulation through RNA binding proteins. We use mouse genetics, primary neural stem cells (NSC), and human pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC, hESC), as well as CRISPR gene editing-created genetic mutant and gene-corrected mouse lines and human cells as model systems in our research. We employ a combination of genetic, genomic, proteomic, imaging, and behavioral methods to interrogate the fundamental relationships among gene, brain, and behaviors in neuronal development and their implications in human neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Fragile X Syndrome,  Autism, and Rett syndrome.

Selected References:
  • Sahar Javadi, Yue Li, Jie Sheng, Lucy Zhao, Yao Fu,  Daifeng Wang, and Xinyu Zhao. Sustained correction of hippocampal neurogenic and cognitive deficits after a brief treatment by Nutlin-3 in a mouse model of Fragile X Syndrome (BMC Medicine, 2022)
  • Shen M, Guo Y, Dong Q, Gao, Y, Stockton ME, Li M, Kannan S, Korabelnikov T, Schoeller, AK, Sioris CL, Zhou C, Le J, Chang C, Sun, Q-Q, Wang D, and Zhao X. FXR1 regulation of parvalbumin interneurons in the prefrontal cortex is critical for schizophrenia-like behaviors. Mol Psychiatry 2021 Apr 16. doi: 10.1038/s41380-021-01096-z. PMID: 33863995.
  • Shen M, Wang F, Li M, Sah N., Stockton ME, Tidei JJ, Gao Y, KorabelnikovT, Kannan S, Vevea JD, Chapman ER, Bhattacharyya A, and Zhao X.  Reduced mitochondrial fusion and Huntingtin levels contribute to impaired dendritic maturation and behavioral deficits in Fmr1 mutant mice.  Nature Neuroscience (2019)   Link to the article (here): News about our article (here) and (here)
  • Liu B*, Li Y*, (*equal contribution), Stackpole, Novak A, Gao Y, Zhao Y, Zhao X#, Richter JD# (#co-correspondence).  Regulatory Discrimination of mRNAs by FMRP Controls Mouse Adult Neural Stem Cell Differentiation” PNAS 2018
  • Li Y, Stockton ME, Eisinger BE, Zhao Y, Miller JL, Bhuiyan I, Gao Y, Wu Z, Peng J, Zhao X.Reducing histone acetylation rescues cognitive deficits in a mouse model of Fragile X syndrome. Nat Commun. 2018 Jun 27;9(1):2494. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04869-3.PMID:29950602
  • Li Y, Stockton ME, Bhuiyan I, Eisinger BE, Yu Gao Y, Bhattacharyya A, and Zhao, X. MDM2 Inhibition rescues neurogenic and cognitive deficits in fragile X mice Science Translational Medicine April 27 2016. (see news release April 27, 2016)