Our goal is to understand mechanisms of neural plasticity.

Research Mission

Our goal is to understand mechanisms of neural plasticity essential for information processing and storage in the brain and their dysfunction in diseases such as autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and mental retardation.

We are interested in understanding how signaling scaffolds in the postsynaptic compartment of neurons organize and orchestrate signaling events that lead to the expression of synaptic plasticity important for learning and memory.

We are also interested in understanding how regulating calcium homeostasis via activity-dependent mechanisms modulates synaptic plasticity and neuronal excitability; consequently modulate animals’ learning ability.

Open Positions

Xu Laboratory is looking for passionate, highly motivated, ambitious and creative young scientists to be part of our team.

We are currently accepting application for the following open positions:

  • Postdoctoral Associates & Fellows
  • Graduate Students
  • Laboratory Manager
  • Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • Differential Requirement for NMDAR activity in SAP97β-mediated regulation of the number and strength of glutamatergic AMPAR-containing synapses. Liu M, Lewis LD, Shi R, Brown EM and Xu W (2014) J. Neurophysi. 111:648-58. PMID: 24225540. View PDF »  Journal Link »
  • Krüger JM, Favaro PD, Liu M, Kitlinska A, Huang X, Raabe M, Akad DS, Liu Y, Urlaub H, Dong Y, Xu W, Schlüter OM. (2013) Differential roles of Postsynaptic Density-93 isoforms in regulating synaptic transmission. J. Neurosci. 33: 15504-17 PMID: 24068818. View PDF »  Journal Link »
  • Selcher JC, Xu W, Hanson JE, Malenka RC, Madison DV. (2012) Glutamate receptor subunit GluA1 is necessary for long-term potentiation and synapse unsilencing, but not long-term depression in mouse hippocampus. Brain Res. 1435:8-14. View PDF »  Journal Link »
  • Bhattacharyya S, Biou V, Xu W, Schluter OM, Malenka RC (2009) A critical role for PSD-95/AKAP interactions in endocytosis of synaptic AMPA receptors. Nature Neurosci. 12:172-81 PMID: 19169250. View PDF »  Journal Link »
  • Steiner P, Higley MJ, Xu W, Czervionke BL, Malenka RC, Sabatini BL (2008) Destabilization of the postsynaptic density by PSD-95 Serine 73 phosphorylation inhibits spine growth and synaptic plasticity. Neuron 60:788-802 PMID: 22197030. View PDF »  Journal Link »
  • Xu W*, Schlüter OM*, Steiner P, Czevionke BL, Sabatini B, Malenka RC (2008) Molecular dissociation of the role of PSD-95 in regulating synaptic strength and LTD. Neuron 57:248-262 PMID: 18215622. View PDF »  Journal Link »
  • Schlüter OM*, Xu W*, Malenka RC (2006) Alternative N-terminal domains of PSD-95 and SAP97 govern activity-dependent regulation of synaptic AMPA receptor function. Neuron 51: 99-111 PMID: 6815335. View PDF »  Journal Link »
  • Zhang W, Zhang Y, Zheng H, Zhang C, Xiong W, Olyarchuk JG, Walker M, Xu W, Zhao M, Zhao S, Zhou Z, Wei L (2007) SynDB: a Synapse protein DataBase based on synapse ontology. Nucleic Acids Res. 35 (Database issue): D737–D741 PMID: 17098931. View PDF »  Journal Link »
  • Bjartman L, Huberman AD, Ullian EM, Renterfa RC, Liu X, Xu W, Stellwagen D, Prezioso J, Stokes C, Cho R, Worley P, Malenka RC, Ball S, Peachey NS, Copenhagen D, Chapman B, Nakamoto M, Barres BA, Perin M. (2006). Neuronal pentraxins mediate synaptic refinement in the developing visual system. J Neurosci, 26: 6269-6281 PMID: 16763034. View PDF »  Journal Link »
  • Helton TD*, Xu W* & Lipscombe D (2005) Neuronal L-type calcium channels open quickly and are inhibited slowly. J. Neurosci. 25:10247-10251. View PDF »  Journal Link »
  • Xu W & Lipscombe D (2001) Neuronal CaV1.3α1 L-type channels activate at relatively hyperpolarized membrane potentials and are incompletely inhibited by dihydropyridines. J. Neurosci. 21: 5944-5951. View PDF »  Journal Link »

* these authors contributed equally to this work.

Review Articles

  • Xu W (2011) PSD-95-like membrane associated guanylate kinases (PSD-MAGUKs) and synaptic plasticity. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 21:306-12. View PDF »  Journal Link »
  • Lipscombe D, Helton TD, and Xu W (2004) L-type calcium channels: the low down. J Neurophysiol. 92:2633-2641. View PDF »  Journal Link »


  • Contributing Author, Molecular Neuropharmacology (2nd Edition) Chapter 3: Electrical Excitability of Neurons.