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Dr. Heng Xu obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from the Department for Intensive Instruction at Nanjing University in 2003. He then moved to the Department of Physics at Brown University where he obtained his Ph.D. in Physics in 2010. After graduation, he took a postdoctoral position in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Baylor College of Medicine, where he received a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface in 2014. In 2017, Dr. Xu was selected to the Thousand Talents Program for Young Professionals and joined the faculty of the Institute of Natural Sciences and the School of Physics and Astronomy at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
Dr. Xu’s primary research goal is to understand the physical principles underlying living systems using quantitative experimental and theoretical approaches. During his Ph.D., he developed novel optical stimulation and recording techniques to study the dynamics of neuronal circuits in visual system development of Xenopus laevis tadpoles. His current research is aimed at deciphering the mechanism of transcriptional regulation of key segmentation genes in Drosophila melanogaster embryos, using high-resolution fluorescence imaging, quantitative image analysis, and stochastic modeling.
- Single-cell/single-molecule biophysics
- Quantitative biology
- Gene regulatory network
- Quantitative imaging of proteins and RNAs
- Stochastic dynamics of gene regulation
- Visual system development
- Neural plasticity
- Heng Xu, Samuel O. Skinner, Anna M. Sokac, Ido Golding, “Stochastic Kinetics of Nascent RNA”, Physical Review Letters, 117, 128101 (2016).
- Leonardo A. Sepúlveda, Heng Xu, Jing Zhang, Mengyu Wang, Ido Golding, “Measurement of Gene Regulation in Individual Cells Reveals Rapid Switching Between Promoter States”, Science, 351(6278), 1218 (2016).
- Samuel O. Skinner, Heng Xu, Sonal N. Jaiswal, Pablo R. Freire, Thomas P. Zwaka, Ido Golding, “Single-cell analysis of transcription kinetics across the cell cycle”, Elife, 5, e12175 (2016).
- Heng Xu, Leonardo A. Sepúlveda, Lauren Figard, Anna M. Sokac, Ido Golding, “Combining protein and mRNA quantification to decipher transcriptional regulation”, Nature Methods, 12(8), 739 (2015).
- Arseny S. Khakhalin, David Koren, Jenny Gu, Heng Xu, Carlos D. Aizenman, “Excitation and inhibition in recurrent networks mediate collision avoidance in Xenopus tadpoles”, European Journal of Neuroscience, 40(6), 2948 (2014).
- Lauren Figard, Heng Xu, Hernan Garcia, Ido Golding, Anna M. Sokac, “The plasma membrane flattens out to fuel cell surface growth during Drosophila cellularization”, Developmental Cell 27(6), 648 (2013).
- Samuel O. Skinner, Leonardo A. Sepúlveda, Heng Xu, Ido Golding, “Measuring mRNA copy number in individual Escherichia coli cells using single-molecule fluorescent in situ hybridization”, Nature Protocols. 8(6), 1100 (2013).
- Heng Xu, Arseny S. Khakhalin, Arto V. Nurmikko, Carlos D. Aizenman, “Visual experience-dependent maturation of correlated neuronal activity patterns in a developing visual system”, Journal of Neuroscience. 31(22), 8025 (2011).
- Wei Dong, Ryan H. Lee, Heng Xu, Shelley Yang, Kara G. Pratt, Vania Cao, Yoon-Kyu Song, Arto V. Nurmikko, Carlos D. Aizenman, “Visual avoidance in Xenopus tadpoles is correlated with the maturation of visual responses in the optic tectum”, Journal of Neurophysiology. 101(2), 803 (2009).
- Heng Xu, Jiayi Zhang, Kristina M. Davitt, Yoon-Kyu Song, Arto V. Nurmikko, “Application of blue-green and ultraviolet micro-LEDs to biological imaging and detection”, Journal of Physics D 41(9), 094013 (2008).
- Heng Xu, Kristina M. Davitt, Wei Dong, Yoon-Kyu Song, William R. Patterson III, Carlos D. Aizenman, Arto V. Nurmikko, “Combining multicore imaging fiber with matrix addressable blue/green LED arrays for spatiotemporal photonic excitation at cellular level”, IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics 14(1), 167 (2008).
- Heng Xu, Kristina M. Davitt, Wei Dong, Yoon-Kyu Song, William R. Patterson III, Arto V. Nurmikko, Carlos D. Aizenman, “Integration of a matrix addressable blue/green LED array with multicore imaging fiber for spatiotemporal excitation in endoscopic biomedical applications”. Phys. Stat. Sol. c 5(6) 2299 (2008).
- Sowmya Venkataramani, Kristina M. Davitt, Heng Xu, Jiayi Zhang, Yoon-Kyu Song, Barry W. Connors, Arto V. Nurmikko, “Semiconductor ultra-violet light-emitting diodes for flash photolysis”, Journal of Neuroscience Methods 160(1), 5 (2007).
- Jiayi Zhang, Sowmya Venkataramani, Heng Xu, Yoon-Kyu Song, Hyun-Kon Song, G. Tayhas. R. Palmore, Justin Fallon, Arto V. Nurmikko, “Combined topographical and chemical micropatterns for templating neuronal networks”, Biomaterials 27(33), 5734 (2006).
- Sowmya Venkataramani, Kristina M. Davitt, Jiayi Zhang, Heng Xu, Yoon-Kyu Song, Barry W. Connors, Arto V. Nurmikko, “Compact semiconductor light-emitting diodes for dynamic imaging of neuronal circuitry”, IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics 11(4), 785 (2005).