Neuroscience Initiative

neuroscience initiative neuron image

Responding to a critical need

The increasing prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases throughout the world means that almost all of us know someone who is a patient or bears the burden of care for an affected person.

Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia and other degenerative diseases present unique challenges—and there are no cures. The limited treatments that exist for neurodegenerative diseases treat the symptoms, rather than addressing the cause.

Director’s statement

Our goal is to translate novel ideas and discoveries into therapies that improve the life of patients suffering from brain diseases. We are establishing interdisciplinary partnerships and research alliances with industry to focus on understanding how neurons interact with signals in their environment to maintain homeostasis. What we learn may reveal new disease targets that can be adopted to drive drug discovery efforts in neurological and age-related neurodegenerative diseases.

Huaxi Xu, Ph.D., Initiative Director



Soluble TREM2 induces inflammatory responses and enhances microglial survival.

Zhong L, Chen XF, Wang T, Wang Z, Liao C, Wang Z, Huang R, Wang D, Li X, Wu L, Jia L, Zheng H, Painter M, Atagi Y, Liu CC, Zhang YW, Fryer JD, Xu H, Bu G

J Exp Med 2017 Mar 6 ;214(3):597-607

TREM2 Promotes Microglial Survival by Activating Wnt/β-Catenin Pathway.

Zheng H, Jia L, Liu CC, Rong Z, Zhong L, Yang L, Chen XF, Fryer JD, Wang X, Zhang YW, Xu H, Bu G

J Neurosci 2017 Feb 15 ;37(7):1772-1784

TREM2 Is a Receptor for β-Amyloid that Mediates Microglial Function.

Zhao Y, Wu X, Li X, Jiang LL, Gui X, Liu Y, Sun Y, Zhu B, Piña-Crespo JC, Zhang M, Zhang N, Chen X, Bu G, An Z, Huang TY, Xu H

Neuron 2018 Mar 7 ;97(5):1023-1031.e7

The deubiquitinase USP6 affects memory and synaptic plasticity through modulating NMDA receptor stability.

Zeng F, Ma X, Zhu L, Xu Q, Zeng Y, Gao Y, Li G, Guo T, Zhang H, Tang X, Wang Z, Ye Z, Zheng L, Zhang H, Zheng Q, Li K, Lu J, Qi X, Luo H, Zhang X, Wang Z, Zhou Y, Yao Y, Ke R, Zhou Y, Liu Y, Sun H, Huang T, Shao Z, Xu H, Wang X

PLoS Biol 2019 Dec ;17(12):e3000525

Chinese Herbal Medicine Interventions in Neurological Disorder Therapeutics by Regulating Glutamate Signaling.

Liu Y, Wang S, Kan J, Zhang J, Zhou L, Huang Y, Zhang Y

Curr Neuropharmacol 2019 Nov 1 ;

Appoptosin Mediates Lesions Induced by Oxidative Stress Through the JNK-FoxO1 Pathway.

Zhang C, Tan Z, Xie Y, Zhao Y, Huang TY, Lu Z, Luo H, Can D, Xu H, Zhang YW, Zhang X

Front Aging Neurosci 2019 ;11:243

SNX8 Enhances Non-amyloidogenic APP Trafficking and Attenuates Aβ Accumulation and Memory Deficits in an AD Mouse.

Xie Y, Niu M, Ji C, Huang TY, Zhang C, Tian Y, Shi Z, Wang C, Zhao Y, Luo H, Can D, Xu H, Zhang YW, Zhang X

Front Cell Neurosci 2019 ;13:410

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