Dr. Xu’s group works in the area of receptor-ligand biochemistry and molecular medicine. We focus on molecular mechanisms and structure function relationships of novel peptide hormones, receptors and bioactive compounds that are relevant to diabetes, obesity and their complications.
We use a variety of experimental approaches including biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, structural biology, high throughput screening, and animal models of disease. Relevant scientific themes are receptor-ligand recognition, cell signaling, novel receptor / therapeutic ligand discovery, protein engineering, protein misfolding etc. Research projects under development are: 1. Structure, function, and mechanistic studies of a newly discovered exercise hormone, irisin, that fights obesity and diabetes. 2. Molecular mechanisms of amylin as a novel contributor for cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease. 3. Novel anti-diabetes, anti-obesity natural products.