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Dr. Xia's major research focus is neuronal apoptosis and neural stem cell proliferation and differentiation. Abnormal apoptosis may cause or contribute to various neurodegenerative disorders, including stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. An understanding of the mechanisms that regulate neuronal apoptosis may shed light on fundamental mechanisms of human development and disability and contribute to development of drug interventions and treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.
Xia is also interested in signal transduction mechanisms that regulate neurogenesis, i.e., what makes a neural stem cell proliferate and differentiate into neurons during development. The controlled proliferation, differentiation, and migration of multipotent neural progenitor cells give rise to diverse cell types and are critical for proper central nervous system development. Xia and colleagues are focused specifically on the role of various kinase signaling pathways in the regulation of neuronal apoptosis and neurogenesis. These include the P13 kinase pathway and members of the mitogen-activated protein kinase family: the ERK1/2 (extracellular signal regulated kinase), the ERK5, the JNK (c-Jun NH2-terminal protein kinase), and p38.
CHDD Outlook article (2003)
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