Bailong XIAO, PI
Principal Investigator, Tenured Associate Professor
Professor Xiao obtained his B.S. from the Sun Yat-sen University in 2001, and then pursued his PhD study with Dr. Wayne Chen from the University of Calgary in Canada from 2001 to 2006, focusing on studying the structure-function relationships and physiological roles of the cardiac Ryanodine Receptor. Then he did his postdoctoral training with Dr. Ardem Patapoutian at the Scripps Research Institute in the United States from 2007 to 2012, focusing on studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underly the sensation of touch and pain. In 2013, he was appointed as a Tenure-track assistant professor in Tsinghua University, and then promoted as a tenured associate professor in 2018.
Dr. Bailong Xiao’s laboratory has been interested in identifying and characterizing the so-called sensory ion channels, including the temperature-activated ion channels such as the STIM1/Orai-constituted CRAC channels and the mechanically activated ion channels such as the Piezo channels. These channels can function as molecular receptors for various physical stimuli including temperature, chemicals, and mechanical force, and consequently govern the sense of touch and other mechanotransduction processes. By focusing on these ion channels, we aim to better understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of the sense of touch and pain and mechanotransduction in other biological systems. Our ultimate goal is to develop novel therapeutics by targeting these ion channels.
Taking a multidisciplinary approach combining protein engineering and purification, cryo-EM, electrophysiology, drug screening and mouse genetics, we aim to 1) understand how the mechanosensitive Piezo channels serves as effective mechanotransducers for converting mechanical force into cationic conduction at both the molecular and physiological levels; 2) identify novel mechanosensitive or thermosensitive ion channels/receptors.
Major scientific contributions
Dr. Bailong Xiao has contributed to the identification and characterization of several classes of ion channels involved in sensing noxious chemicals, temperature and mechanical force (J Neurosci. 2007; Nat Chem Biol. 2011; Nature 2012; Cell Research 2019), including the long-sought-after mammalian mechanosensitive cation channels – Piezo channels, which represent a novel and unique class of channel proteins. Aiming to understand how the mechanosensitive Piezo channels serve as effective mechanotransducers for converting mechanical force into cationic conduction at both the molecular and physiological levels, he has made significant contribution in exploring their structure-function relationships (Nature 2015, 2018; Neuron 2016, 2017; Nat Commun. 2017, 2018; Cell Reports 2019; Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology 2020). His ultimate goal is to harness the deep understanding of the Piezo channels for developing novel therapeutics and technologies for disease treatment or biological manipulation.
Honors and Awards
The 10,000 Talent Program Scholar
The Young 1,000 Talent Program Scholar
Excellent Young Scientists Award
Bayer Investigator Fellowship and Janssen Investigator Fellowship in Tsinghua University