Guang-Yin Xu, PhD
Assistant Professor, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine
University of Texas, USA
Dr. Xu received his Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Neurobiology, at Shanghai Brain Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1998. He has been trained in the United States as a visiting scientist and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology at the University of Texas Medical Branch since 1998. In August 2004, He was recruited as an instructor and been working independently in the Department of Internal Medicine at University of Texas Medical Branch. He was promoted as an Assistant Professor in 2005 because of his excellent accomplishments. He has established a chronic visceral pain research lab and was funded by many research grants including NIH grants as a PI or Co-Investigator in the United States. He is currently a distinquished Professor in the Institute of Neuroscience at the Soochow University and adjunct Professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He has published his major findings in peer-reviewed journals including PNAS, Journal of Neuroscience, Gastroenterology, GUT, Journal of physiology (London), and American Journal of Physiology-GI. Please note that Dr. Xu is the first author or corresponding author of most of these papers. In recognition of his extraordinary abilities and accomplishments, He has appointed as a contributing associated Editor-in Chief of World Journal of Gastroenterology and the Editorial Board member of Acta Phyaiologica Sinica (Chinese Journal of Physiology). He also served as a scientific reviewer for many national and international journals including Neuropeptides, Neuroscience Letters, Brain Research, European Journal of Pain, Digestive Disease and Science, Journal of Minerva Medicine, Frontiers in Medicine, Neuroscience Bulletin, etc. In addition, He has been elected to become an associated chairman for Symposium of Chinese Neuroscientists Worldwide 2012 and Chairman for Symposium of Chinese Neuroscientists Worldwide 2014. He is also an active member of the Society for Neuroscience, and American Gastroenterology Association.
Dr. Xu’s research objective is to elucidate the neuronal and molecular mechanisms of chronic visceral pain associated with functional gastrointestinal disorders, particularly the neonatal injury-induced irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Functional gastrointestinal disorders, defined as recurrent symptoms unexplained by structural or biochemical anomalies, constitute a frequent problem throughout the world, affecting up to 20% of worldwide population. Current treatment options for these disorders are very limited in large part due to the lack of suitable animal models and our incomplete understanding of the neuronal and molecular mechanisms underlying the initiation and maintenance of chronic pain. A popular theory is that IBS has its roots early in life with various factors being implicated, including psychological stress, parental influence, physical/social abuse, dietary and/or chemical intolerance, and infections. He has spent a considerable time to successfully develop the IBS model by neonatal colonic stimulation. This would allow him to investigate the mechanism of the same. The following questions are specifically interesting for him and his colleagues to address: (1) how neural excitability changes and what ion channels (both voltage- and ligand-gated ion channels) contribute to the chronic visceral pain, and (2) how inflammatory mediators (e.g., growth factors and H2S) modulate ion channel activity (function and expression), and (3) how intracellular molecules (such as CaMKII and p38MAPK) involve in the peripheral sensitization of primary sensory neurons and thus contribute to the chronic visceral hypersensitivity. State of the art electrophysiological (patch clamp) techiques, image analysis, behavioral, molecular and epigenetic approaches in acutely isolated neurons or in intact animals will be employed to answer these questions. His research findings and ongoing studies will shed light on the neuronal and molecular mechanisms underlying chronic visceral pain and provide valuable insight into the potential therapeutic value of drugs in the management of chronic visceral pain.