Professor and Chair,
Dept. of Neuroscience & Regenerative Medicine
GRA Eminent Scholar Chair in Translational Neuroscience
School of Graduate Studies
Dept. of Neuroscience & Regenerative Medicine
1120 15th Street, Rm. CA3006
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University
Augusta, GA 30912
1993-1998 Ph.D. in Pharmacology, Washington State University, WA
1987-1990 M.Sc. in Biochemistry, Zhanjiang Medical College, China
1982-1987 M.D., Binzhou Medical College, China
1998-2001 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Mental Health Research Institute, Univ. of Michigan,
Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI.
Stress-related disorders, Alzheimer's disease, brain aging, neural plasticity, epigenetics
Our long term research goal is to understand molecular, cellular and epigenetic mechanisms
underlying the pathogenesis and treatment of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric
disorders. Our on-going projects include 1) histone tail modifications during aging
and in Alzheimer’s disease (AD); 2) adipokine modulation of synaptic plasticity and
cognitive and emotional behaviors; 3) interplay between peripheral and CNS inflammation
in neurodegeneration and stress-related disorders; and 4) hippocampal and hypothalamic
neurons in stress responses and adaptations.
Yun Lei, PhD – Assistant Professor
Nagendran Muthusamy, PhD – Senior Research Scientist
Jacob Garza, PhD – Senior Research Scientist
Yuting Chen, PhD – Postdoctoral Fellow
Brandy Somera, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow
Maryam Malek, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow
Sarah Ryan – Research Associate
Yu Bai – Research Assistant
Shu Chen – Research Technician
Kirstyn Denney – PhD Student
Jayvon Nougiasse - MD/PhD Student
Amin Karimi Moghaddam - PhD Student
Simon Miller - Medical Student
Maya Muhanna - Medical Student
Christopher Carpenter – Undergraduate Student
Open Positions at Lu Lab:
We are currently welcoming postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduate
students to join our laboratory.
We seek postdoctoral fellows interested in studying Alzheimer’s disease, depression
and PTSD. The ideal candidates will hold a PhD in neuroscience, physiology, molecular/cell
biology, metabolic biology or neuropharmacology. Expertise in electrophysiology, transgenic
mouse models, epigenetics, imaging, and in vitro and in vivo adipose biology is desirable.
Candidates are expected to have good communication skills and have a strong drive
for building a successful research career.
We welcome graduate students and are interested in potential rotation students. Prospective
students can apply to our lab through the Graduate Program in Neuroscience as well
as through the MD/PhD Program.
We accept motivated undergraduate students who are interested in biomedical research.
- Lei Y, Wang D, Bai Y, Nougaisse J, Weintraub NL, Guo M, Lu XY (2022). Leptin enhances social motivation and reverses chronic unpredictable stress-induced
social anhedonia during adolescence. Molecular Psychiatry. Accepted for publication.
- Fang X, Chen Y, Wang J, Zhang Z, Bai Y, Denney K, Gan L, Guo M, Weintraub NL, Lei
Y, Lu XY (2022). Activation of hypothalamic POMC neurons is sufficient and necessary to induce
anhedonia and behavioral despair. Molecular Psychiatry. In revision
- Kim J, Lei Y, Lu XY, and Kim CS (2022). Glucocorticoid-glucocorticoid receptor-HCN1 channels reduce neuronal
excitability in dorsal hippocampal CA1 neurons. Molecular Psychiatry. 2022 Jul 15.
doi: 10.1038/s41380-022-01682-9. Online ahead of print.
- Chin E, Ma Q, Ruan H, Chin C, Somasundaram A, Zhang C, Liu C, Lewis M, White MA, Smith
T, Battersby M, Yao WD, Lu XY, Arap W, Licinio J, Wong ML (2022). The epigenetic reader PHF21B modulates social
memory and synaptic plasticity-related genes in mice. JCI Insight. 2022 Jul 22;7(14):
e158081. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight. 158081
- Kumro J, Tripathi A, Lei Y, Sword J, Callahan P, Terry A, Lu XY, Kirov S, Pillai A, Blake DT. Cholinergic forebrain activation improves cognition,
boosts neurotrophin receptors, and lowers Aβ42 levels in the cerebral cortex of 5xFAD
mice. bioRxiv preprint doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.03.04.482983. March 7, 2022
- Kim NS, Wen Z, Liu J, Zhou Y, Guo Z, Xu C, Lin YT, Yoon KJ, Park J, Cho M, Kim M,
Wang X, Yu H, Salamuru S, Christian KM, Hsu KS, Xia M, Li W, Ross CA, Margolis RL,
Lu XY#, Song H#, Ming GL# (2021). Pharmacological rescue in patient iPSC and mouse models with a rare DISC1
mutation. Nature Communications. 2021 Mar 3;12(1):1398. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-21713-3.
- Fang X, Jiang S, Wang J, Bai Y, Kim CS, Blake DT, Weintraub NL, Lei Y, Lu XY (2021). Chronic unpredictable stress induces depression-related behaviors via suppressing
AgRP neuron activity. Molecular Psychiatry. 2021 Jan 11. doi: 10.1038/s41380-020-01004-x. Online
ahead of print.
- Wong ML, Arcos-Burgos M, Liu S, Licinio AW, Yu C, Chin EWM, Yao WD, Lu XY, Bornstein SR, Licinio J (2021) Rare Functional Variants Associated with Antidepressant Remission in Mexican-Americans:
Short title: Antidepressant remission and pharmacogenetics in Mexican-Americans. Journal of Affective Disorders. 279:491-500. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2020.10.027. Epub
2020 Oct 17.
- Li C, Meng F, Lei Y, Liu J, Liu J, Zhang J, Liu F, Liu C, Guo M, Lu XY (2020). Leptin regulates exon-specific transcription of the Bdnf gene via epigenetic
modifications mediated by an AKT/p300 HAT cascade.Molecular Psychiatry. 2020 Oct 26. doi: 10.1038/s41380-020-00922-0. Online ahead of
- Li C, Meng F, Garza JC, Liu J, Lei Y, Kirov S, Guo M, Lu XY (2020). Modulation of depression-related behaviors by adiponectin AdipoR1 receptors
in 5-HT neurons. Molecular Psychiatry. 2020 Jan 24. doi: 10.1038/s441380-020-0649-0.
- Lei Y, Wang J, Wang D, Li C, Liu B, Fang X, You J, Guo M, Lu XY (2020). SIRT1in forebrain excitatory neurons produces sexually dimorphic effects
on depression-related behaviors and modulates neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission
in the medial prefrontal cortex. Molecular Psychiatry. 25:1094-1111. 2019 Jan 31. doi: 10.1038/s41380-019-0352-1.
[Epub ahead of print]
- Yiew NKH, Greenway C, Zarzour A, Ahmadieh S, Goo B, Kim D, Benson TW, Ogbi M, Tang
YL, Chen W, Stepp D, Patel V, Hilton R, Lu XY, Hui DY, Kim HW, Weintraub NL (2019). Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) regulates
adipocyte lipid metabolism independent of adipogenic differentiation: Role of apolipoprotein
E. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 294(21):8577-8591.
- Sun F, Lei Y, You J, Li C, Sun L, Garza J, Zhang D, Guo M, Scherer P, Lodge D, Lu XY (2019). Adiponectin modulates ventral tegmental area dopamine neuron activity and
anxiety-related behavior through AdipoR1. Molecular Psychiatry, 24(1):126-144.
- Guo M, Li C, Lei Y, Xu S, Zhao D, Lu XY (2017). Role of the adipose PPARγ/adiponectin axis in susceptibility to stress and
emotion-related behaviors. Molecular Psychiatry, 22(7):1056-1068.
- Zhang D, Wang X, Wang B, Garza JC, Fang X, Wang J, Scherer, PE, Brenner R, Lu XY (2017). Adiponectin regulates contextual fear extinction and intrinsic excitability
of dentate gyrus neurons through AdipoR2 receptors. Molecular Psychiatry, 22(7):1044-1055
- Zhang D, Wang X, Lu XY (2016). Adiponectin exerts neurotrophic effects on dendritic arborization,
spinogenesis and neurogenesis of the dentate gyrus of male mice. Endocrinology, 157(7):2853-2869.
- Wang X, Zhang D, Lu XY (2015). Dentate gyrus-CA3 glutamate release/NMDA transmission mediates behavioral
despair and antidepressant-like responses to leptin. Molecular Psychiatry,
- Guo M, Lu XY (2014) Leptin receptor deficiency confers resistance to behavioral effects of fluoxetine
and desipramine via separable substrates. Translational Psychiatry, 2014 Dec 2;4:e486.
doi:10.1038/tp.2014.126. Highlighted in N Engl J Med - Journal Watch Psychiatry (31
- Liu J, Guo M, Zhang D, Cheng SY, Liu M, Ding J, Scherer P, Liu F, Lu XY (2012). Adiponectin is critical in determining susceptibility to depressive
behaviors and has antidepressant-like activity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 109(30):12248-53.
Highlighted in Nature 487:274 (19 Jul 2012); PNAS press (10 Jul 2012); Faculty
of 1000, 24 Jul 2012
- Guo M, Lu Y, Garza JC, Li Y, Chua SC, Zhang W, Lu B, Lu XY (2012). Forebrain glutamatergic neurons mediate leptin action on depression-like
behaviors and synaptic depression. Translational Psychiatry, 2: e83; doi:10.1038/tp.2012.9.
Highlighted in N Engl J Med Journal Watch Psychiatry (2 Apr 2012).
- Garza JC, Guo M, Zhang W, Lu XY (2012). Leptin restores adult hippocampal neurogenesis in a chronic unpredictable
stress model of depression and reverses glucocorticoid-induced inhibition of GSK-3β/β-catenin
signaling. Molecular Psychiatry, 17(8):790-808 (Cover). Highlighted by Faculty of
1000, 31 Jan 2012
- Liu J, Perez S, Zhang W, Lodge D, Lu XY (2011). Selective deletion of the leptin receptor in dopamine neurons produces anxiogenic-like
behavior and increases amygdaloid dopaminergic activity. Molecular Psychiatry, 16:1024-1038