Current Lab Members

Huaxi Xu, Ph.D. (
Principal Investigator/centerandlabs/neuroagingstem/xulab/Lab%20Member%20Images/xu.jpg

Huaxi received his B.S. in Biochemistry in 1985 from Xiamen University, China and a M.Sc. in Cell Biology in 1991 from Yeshiva University, New York. He earned his Ph.D. in Cell Biology in 1993 from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.  As a Ph.D. student his studies focused on the intracellular trafficking and proteolytic processing of membrane proteins. As a postdoctoral fellow at The Rockefeller University, he carried out a variety of research projects characterizing signal transduction pathways in the neural system. Dr. Xu joined SBP in 2013 to the Institute’s Development, Aging and Regeneration Program at the Del E. Webb Neuroscience, Aging and Stem Cell Research Center.  As an independent PI with over 17 years’ experience and having published over 120 papers, his research has focused on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) with emphasis on the regulation of APP processing and trafficking, synaptic/neurotoxicity of Aß, tau phosphorylation and cleavage, and NFT formation.  Recently, his lab has engaged and established themselves in the areas of neuronal function/dysfunction and cell death, and in the identification of new genes and molecular pathways related to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases including AD, Down syndrome and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.

Tim Huang, Ph. D. (
Research Assistant Professor/centerandlabs/neuroagingstem/xulab/Lab%20Member%20Images/huang.jpg
Tim graduated from the University of Alberta with a B.Sc. in Genetics, and Ph.D. from the University of Calgary in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology.  In his postdoctoral work, he studied RhoGTPase signaling systems at Scripps prior to continuing his postdoctoral work at the Xu lab at Burnham.  He is currently studying neuroprotective mechanisms underlying an Alzheimer's Disease (AD) risk component, SORLA in neurons and mouse models.
Yingjun Zhao, Ph.D. (
Research Assistant Professor/centerandlabs/neuroagingstem/xulab/Lab%20Member%20Images/yingjun.jpg

Yingjun received his B.S. in Biotechnology in 2007 and his Ph.D. in Chemical Biology in 2012 both from Xiamen University, China. In 2010 he joined the Xu lab as a visiting scholar. After he obtained his Ph.D., he then transitioned to a postdoc position within the lab. Currently, Yingjun is working on the role of appoptosin in tauopathies and synaptic plasticity. 

Juan Piña-Crespo, PhD. (
Staff Scientist/centerandlabs/neuroagingstem/xulab/Lab%20Member%20Images/juan.jpg
Juan graduated as a Veterinarian (D.V.M) from Universidad Centroccidental, Venezuela. He earned his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of London (University College), England working with Profs. Alasdair Gibb & David Colquhoun on the electrophysiological analysis of glutamate receptors in the brain. He completed postdoctoral research as a Pew fellow and research associate with Prof. Steve Heinemann in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory at The Salk Institute; where he worked on the biology of glutamate and acetylcholine receptors. Dr. Piña-Crespo held faculty positions as an Instructor and Assistant Professor at Universidad Centroccidental in Venezuela and as Lecturer (Adjunct faculty) in the Biology Department at the University of San Diego, California. In 2008 Dr. Piña-Crespo joined SBP to the Institute’s Development, Aging and Regeneration Program at the Del E. Webb Neuroscience, Aging and Stem Cell Research Center.
Xiaopeng Xiong
Staff Scientist/centerandlabs/neuroagingstem/xulab/Lab%20Member%20Images/xiaopeng.jpg
Xiao-Peng Xiong earned his B.S. in Bioscience from Nanchang University in 2005. In 2010 he received his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. In 2011 he joined Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute where he pursued postdoctoral studies on the function of the RNA binding proteins in RNA silencing pathways and identified regulatory RNAs in modulating innate immunity. He transferred to the Xu lab in 2018 to study the role of non-coding RNAs and RNA processing regulation in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases.
Lu-Lin Jiang (
Postdoctorial Associate/centerandlabs/neuroagingstem/xulab/Lab%20Member%20Images/lu-lin.jpg
LuLin earned her B.S. in Bioengineering in 2008 from Shanghai University, China. She subsequently went to Ohio University, USA, for her graduate study. Lu-Lin received her Ph.D. in 2014 and right after joined SBP where she is currently working in the Xu lab. Her research focus is studying the role of the ER-associated-degradation system in the motor neuron diseases.
Xiaoguang Li(
Postdoctoral Associate/centerandlabs/neuroagingstem/xulab/Lab%20Member%20Images/li.jpeg
In 2013, Xiaoguang received his B.S. in Chinese Medicine from Shandong University of Chinese Medicine. In March 2015, he joined the Xu lab as an exchange graduate student. In January 2017, he got his Ph.D. in Chinese Internal Medicine from Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine. He was hired as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Xu Lab January 2017. He is mainly focused on the immune-related receptor Trem2 and its function in Alzheimer's Disease.
Tongfei Liu (
Postdoctoral Associate/centerandlabs/neuroagingstem/xulab/Lab%20Member%20Images/tongfei.jpg
Tongfei obtained his B.S. in Biological Sciences in 2006 from the Agricultural University of Hebei, Baoding, Hebei, China. In 2013, he earned his Ph.D.  in Molecular Biology at the Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. After neuroscience training at Salk and TSRI, in November of 2016, he joins the Xu lab. His research direction is to identify the TREM2 cleavage site and the sTREM2 binding receptor on microglial by biochemical method. Additionally he will be digging deeper into the pathogenic mechanism of Alzheimer’s disease.
Yu Sun (
Postdoctoral Associate /centerandlabs/neuroagingstem/xulab/Lab%20Member%20Images/yu.jpg
Yu Sun received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology in 2013 from Fudan University, China.  Yu worked as senior scientist for WuXi App Tec which is leading global contract research outsourcing provider, serving the worldwide pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industries. His expertise is in electrophysiology and  optogenetics in vivo and in vitro. Along with translational neuroscience experience in CNS diseases New Drugs' R&D.  He joined SBP in 2017 under the Xu lab as a postdoctoral associate.  He is currently using in vivo and in vitro Ephys. as readouts in neurodegeneration diseases.
Xioaming Zhang
Postdoctoral Associate/centerandlabs/neuroagingstem/xulab/Lab%20Member%20Images/xiaoming.jpg
Xiaoming received his Bachelor degree in June 2010 and his Master degree in June 2013 both from the College of Animal Science, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, China. He received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience May 2018 from the University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. His focus was working on the innate immune memory in microglia and the regulatory mechanisms. In 2018 he joined SBP as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Xu lab. Currently, he is focusing on investigating the role of epigenetic modifications in neurodegenerative diseases.
Bing Zhu (
Postdoctorial Associate/centerandlabs/neuroagingstem/xulab/Lab%20Member%20Images/bing.jpg
Bing received his B.S. in Biology in 2005 and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2012 both from Zhejiang University, China. Bing joined SBP in 2013 and is currently working in the Xu lab.  His current research focuses on the role of TREM2 in the tau pathology in Alzheimer's disease
Joel Yancey
Research Assist. I/centerandlabs/neuroagingstem/xulab/Lab%20Member%20Images/joel.jpg

Joel received his B.S. in Neuroscience and minor in Bioinformatics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2017. He joined the Xu lab as Lab Manager/Research Assistant in July of 2018. His interest in neuroscience began in high school, and he quickly developed an interest in computational neuroscience while attending UCLA. His undergraduate independent research poster was titled "Decoding Stimulus Features from Cortical Population Responses."

Yan Liu (
External Graduate Student/centerandlabs/neuroagingstem/xulab/Lab%20Member%20Images/yan.jpg
Yan earned her B.S. in Chinese Materia Medica in 2013 from China Pharmaceutical University, China. In 2016 she received her M.S. in Neuropharmacology from Xiamen University, China. She then joined the Xu lab in 2017 as an exchange student from Xiamen University where she is pursuing her Ph.D. in Physiology. Yan is currently working on the role of TREM2 in tau propagation in Alzheimer's disease.
Stephanie Myers
Graduate Student/centerandlabs/neuroagingstem/xulab/Lab%20Member%20Images/myers.jpg

Stephanie graduated in 2016 with a B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego.  While earning her B.S. she worked as a Lab Assistant in the Ju Chen Lab at UCSD.  Upon her graduation she joined the Ze’ev Ronai Lab in 2016.  In 2018 Stephanie applied and was accepted at the SBP Graduate Program in Biochemistry and joined the Huaxi Xu Lab. Stephanie  is currently working on Appoptosin project. 

Jessica Stupack (
Graduate Student /centerandlabs/neuroagingstem/xulab/Lab%20Member%20Images/stupack.jpg

Jessica received her B.S. in Biology from University of California, San Diego in 2014. She then joined the Xu lab as a graduate student in 2015, and is currently working to further understand the underlying molecular pathways present in multiple neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's Disease and Traumatic Brain Injury.


Lisa Zhou
Lab Assistant I/centerandlabs/neuroagingstem/xulab/Lab%20Member%20Images/lisazhou.jpg
Lisa graduated June 2018 from the University of California, San Diego with a B.S. in Human Biology and a minor in Psychology. She first came to the Xu Lab as a Work Study Student.  Lisa was hired as a Lab Assistant in May 2018 and currently works helping with various routines, such as, genotyping, preparing reagents, etc.
Lisa Marie Bellovich (
Research Administrative Coordinator III/centerandlabs/neuroagingstem/xulab/Lab%20Member%20Images/lisa.jpg

Lisa-Marie started working at SBP in August of 2013 supporting Drs. Ware and Levine. In May of 2014 Lisa-Marie was hired to support Drs. Hansen and Terskikh and in March of 2015 added Dr. Xu to her workload. For her undergraduate she attended San Diego State University. In 2012 she attended the University of San Diego where she secured her Paralegal Certificate, Summa Cum Laude.



Hienvy Huynh (2017-2018)
I-Chu Tseng, Ph.D. (2011-2018)
Jian Tian (2017-2018)
Mohd Waseem Akhtar, Ph.D. -Postdoctoral Associate (2014-2016)
Tongmei Zhang (2017-2018)
Xilin Wu (2016-2018)
Yunwu Zhang, PH.D. - Research Assistant Professor (“RAP”) (2006-2018)
Zhenqiu (Thomas) Tan - External Graduate Student (2016)