Huixin Xu, PhD

I grew up in a family of scientists and became interested in biomedical sciences at an early age. I was introduced to neurobiology as an undergraduate researcher studying Parkinson’s disease with Dr. Bing Zhou at Tsinghua University in Beijing, investigating dietary metals and motion defects in Drosophila. I moved on to study Alzheimer’s disease with Dr. Dennis Selkoe during my graduate research at Harvard University, investigating how brain innate immunity is regulated by an enriched living environment such as increased physical exercise and frequent exposure to novel stimuli, which models key aspects of the life-style that has been clinically shown to delay cognitive decline. At the same time, I joined Leder Human Biology and Translational Medicine Program at Harvard for additional clinical experiences. At the end of my PhD training, I was determined to establish my research career in Alzheimer’s disease but also to expand the scope of existing research directions. Brain barriers were promising new fields that were not well understood in neurodegeneration. Therefore, I conducted my postdoctoral training with Dr. Maria Lehtinen, who is a renowned leader in the research of choroid plexus, which is the main part of blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier and regulates immune cells entering the brain during inflammation. This training will provide me the expertise to launch an independent career studying choroid plexus inflammation barrier function in Alzheimer’s disease.