Mari Hulman George Professor of Neuroscience Research
Dr. Xiao-Ming Xu received his Medical Diploma from Shanghai Second Medical University (now named Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine) in 1975, Master in Medicine from the same University in 1985, and Ph.D. in Anatomy/Neurobiology at the Ohio State University in 1990. He finished his postdoctoral training at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at University of Miami in 1994. Between 1994 and 2001, Dr. Xu was a tenure-track Assistant Professor and later, tenured Associate Professor, in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Saint Louis University. Between 2001 and 2007, Dr. Xu was the James R. Petersdorf Professor and a University Scholar at the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center at University of Louisville. In September 2007, Dr. Xu joined Indiana University School of Medicine as the Mari Hulman George Professor in Neurological Surgery, and a Primary Investigator and Scientific Director of the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Group at the Stark Neurosciences Research Institute.
Dr. Xu’s research has focused on the development, plasticity, and regeneration of the injured spinal cord. A major breakthrough from his research showed that Schwann cells, a type of peripheral nerve-derived glial cell, can promote axons of the central nervous system to regenerate across a spinal cord lesion gap and, when combined with appropriate trophic factors, can promote axonal reentry into the host spinal cord. A second line of Dr. Xu’s research has been neuroprotection against spinal cord injury-induced secondary cell death and tissue damage. He and his team are particularly interested in targeting an enzyme named phospholipase A2 as a central molecule that mediates multiple injury insults after the spinal cord injury, and screening therapeutic agents that can block phospholipase A2-mediated injury cascades. Dr. Xu hopes that eventually these neuroprotection and regeneration strategies can be combined to achieve maximal therapeutic effects. He also hopes that results from his research will be transferred to clinical treatments of patients with spinal cord injuries. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and is an internationally renowned scientist.
Dr. Xu has received continued support from various federal and private grant agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the International Spinal Research Trust, the Daniel Heumann Found for Spinal Cord Research, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust Funds, the James R. Petersdorf and Mari Hulman George endowments, the Indiana Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Funds. Dr. Xu also serves as a member of the NIH Clinical Neuroplasticity and Neurotransmitters (CNNT) Study Section.