Fenglian Xu

Assistant Professor


Dr. Fenglian Xu is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Saint Louis University, MO, USA. She obtained her Ph.D in Neuroscience from the University of Alberta, Canada. She completed her postdoctoral training from the University of Calgary in Canada. Dr. Xu is the invited reviewer for several journals including, Scientific Report, Molecular Brain, Neuroscience, Neurotoxicology Research,International Journal of Nanomedicine, Journal of Lipids in Health and Disease, etc.


Area of Interest

Dr. Xu’s research interests lie in the field of brain development and neurodegeneration. Specially, she investigates how neuronal circuitry of brain cells are established during early stage of development. She also study how environmental neurotoxins may interfere with critical genes or proteins and cause developmental retardation or neuronal degeneration. The ultimate goal of her research is to identify genes, proteins and cellular signaling pathways that are critical for brain development and help develop strategies to ameliorate negative effects of environmental neurotoxins.

top publication

1. Janes, T.A., Xu, F., Syed. N.I (2015) Graded hypoxia acts through a network of distributed peripheral oxygen chemoreceptors to produce changes in respiratory behavior and plasticity. European Journal of Neuroscience, 42 (2): 1858-71
2. Ghazavi, A., Westwich, D., Xu, F., Wijdenes, P., Syed, N.I., Dalton, C. (2015) A circular, planar electrode serves as a better substrate for neuronal stimulation than sinusoidal and spiral electrodes. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 248: 51-58.
3. Singh, B., Krishnan, A., Micu, I., Koshy, K., Singh, V., Martinez, J.A., Koshy, D., Xu, F., Chandrasekhar, A., Dalton, C., Syed, N., Stys P.K., Zochodne, D. W. (2015) Peripheral neuron plasticity is enhanced by brief electrical stimulation and overrides attenuated regrowth in experimental diabetes. Neurobiology of Disease, 83: 134-151
4. Xu, F., Luk, C., Wiermsa-Meems, R., Baehre, K., Herman, C., Zaidi, W., Wong, N., and Syed, N.I. (2014) Neuronal somata and extrasomal compartments play distinct roles during synapse formation between Lymnaea neurons. Journal of Neuroscience, 34(34): 11304-15
5. Chen, P., Jiang, H., Wen, B., Ren, S., Chen, Y., Ji, W., Hu, B., Zhang, J., Xu, F., Zhu, Z. (2014) Gastrodin suppresses amyloid β–induced increase of spontaneous discharges in entorhinal cortex of rats. Neural Plasticity (2014:320937. doi: 10.1155, Epub)
6. Chen, S., Chen, P., Jiang, H., Mi, Z., Xu, F. *, Hu, B., Zhang, J., Zhu., Z. (2014) Persistent sodium currents contribute to Aβ1-42-induced hyperexcitation of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. Neuroscience Letters, 580: 62-67 (Co-corresponding author)
7. Zhu, Z., Xu, F., Ji, W., Ren, S., Chen, F., Chen, P., Jiang, H., Mi, Z., Hu, B., Zhang, J., Xiong, Y. (2014) Synaptic mechanisms underlying thalamic activation-induced plasticity in the rat auditory cortex. Journal of Neurophysiology, 111(9): 1746-58.
8. Ren, S., Shao, H., Ji, W., Xu, F., Chen, P., Jiang, H., Mi, Z., Wen, Bo., Zhu, G., Zhu, Z. (2014) Riluzole prevents soluble Aβ1-42 oligomers-induced perturbation of spontaneous discharges in the hippocampal CA1 region of rats. Amyloid, 4:1-9.
9. Zhu, Z., Xu, F., Wu, J., Ren, S., Zhang, Y., Hu, B., Zhang, J., Han, L., Xiong, Y. (2013) Frequency-specific plasticity of the auditory cortex elicited by thalamic stimulation in the rat. Neuroscience Letters, 555: 30-35
10. Xu, F., Piett, C., Farkas, S., Qazzaz, M.., and Syed, N.I. (2013) Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) cause degeneration of cytoskeleton and disrupt synaptic machinery of cultured cortical neurons. Molecular Brain, 6(1): 29. (Corresponding author)
11. Xu, F., Farkas, S., Kortbeek, S., Zhang, F.X., Chen, L., Zamponi, G.W., and Syed, N.I. (2012) Mercury-induced toxicity of rat cortical neurons is mediated through NMDA receptors. Molecular Brain, 5(1): 30. (Corresponding author)
12. Getz, A, Xu, F. and Syed N.I. (2012) Antidepressant Pharmacotherapy – Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks? InTech book chapter – Mental Illness (ISBN: 978-953-307-779-6)
13. Getz, A., Xu, F., Zaidi, W., Syed, N.I. (2011) The antidepressant Fluoxetine but not Citalopram suppresses synapse formation and synaptic transmission between Lymnaea neurons by perturbing pre- and postsynaptic machinery. European Journal of Neuroscience, 34(2): 221-234
14. Xu, F., Proft J., Gibbs, S., Winkfein, B., Johnson, J.N., Syed, N.I., and Braun J.E.A. (2010) Quercetin causes cysteine string protein dimerization and impairs synaptic transmission. PLoS ONE, 5 (6): e11045.
15. Xu, F., Luk, C., Richard, M.P, Zaidi, W., Svetlana, F., Getz, A., Lee, A., van Minnen, J., and Syed, N.I. (2010) Antidepressant Fluoxetine suppresses neuronal growth and perturbs synapse formation between cholinergic neurons. European Journal of Neuroscience, 31(6): 994-1005.
16. Xu, F., Hennessy, D.A., Lee, T., and Syed, N.I. (2009) Trophic factor-induced intracellular calcium oscillations are required for the expression of postsynaptic acetylcholine receptors during synapse formation between Lymnaea neurons. Journal of Neuroscience 29 (7): 2167-2176.
17. Xu, F., Tse, F.W., and Tse, A.. (2008) Stimulatory actions of pituitary adenylate cyclaseactivating polypeptide (PACAP) in rat carotid glomus cells. Advanced Experimental Medical Biology 605:69-74.
18. Xu, F., Tse, F.W. and Tse, A. (2007) Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) stimulates the oxygen sensing type I (glomus) cells of rat carotid bodies via reduction of a background TASK-like K+ current. Journal of Neurochemistry 101(5):1284-93.
19. Xu, F., Xu, J., Tse, F.W. and Tse, A. (2006) Adenosine stimulates depolarization and rise in cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration in type I cells of rat carotid bodies. American Journal of Physiology– Cell Physiology 290(6):C1592-8.
20. Xu, J., Xu, F., Tse, F.W. and Tse, A. (2005) ATP inhibits the hypoxia response in type I cells of rat carotid bodies. Journal of Neurochemistry 92:1419-1430. Manuscripts submitted
21. Xu, F., Armstrong, R., Urrego, D., Qazzaz, M., Pehar, M., Armstrong, J.N., Shutt, T., Syed, N.I. (2015) The mitochondrial division inhibitor Mdivi-1 rescues mammalian neurons from anestheticinduced cytotoxicity. Molecular Brain (Manuscript ID: MBRJ-D-15-00090R2, under revision)
22. Armstrong, R., Xu, F., Rasic, N., Syed, N.I. (2015) General anesthetics and cytotoxicity: from harm to healing of young and adult brains. Drug and Chemical Toxicology (Manuscript ID: LDCT-2015-0347)
23. Getz, A.M., Xu, F., Visser, F., Flynn, N.M., Bell, E.M., Zaidi, W., Persson, R., Syed, N.I. (2016) The MEN1 tumor suppressor coordinates neuronal nAChR transcription and postsynaptic consolidation during CNS cholinergic synaptogenesis. Nature Communications (Manuscript ID: NCOMMS-16-04747-T) Abstracts and Poster Presentations (* indicates presenting author)
24. Shah, P. *, Lee, J., Mhaskar, P. *, Singh, Z. *, Chirayil, S., Shaik, A., Xu, F. (2015) The Mollusk Lymnaea Stagnalis as a model organism: From molecules to system. 1st Annual Center for Neuroscience Symposium at Saint Louis University, MO, USA
25. Xu, F.*, Ma, K., Qazzaz, M., Syed, N.I. (2015) Taurine increases neurite outgrowth and promotes synapse development in the central nervous system. 45th Annual International Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL, USA
26. Xu, F.*, Ma, K., Qazzaz, M., Syed, N.I. (2015) The important role of taurine in neurite outgrowth and synapse development in the central nervous system, 1st Annual Center for Neuroscience Symposium at Saint Louis University, MO, USA
27. Xu, F.*, Armstrong, R., Urrego, D., Qazzaz, M., Pehar, M., Armstrong, J.N., Syed, N.I. (2015) Rat cortical neurons exposed to sevoflurane and desflurane exhibit decreased synaptic development. International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS) Annual Meeting and International Symposium, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA