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Scripps Research Institute Appoints Innovative Scientist to Neuroscience Department

JUPITER, FL, May 3, 2013 – The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has appointed Baoji Xu as a professor in the Department of Neuroscience. Before joining Scripps Florida this month, Xu was an associate professor at the Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC.

“I would like to welcome Baoji to Scripps Florida,” said Ron Davis, chair of the Department of Neuroscience. “His pioneering work with neurotrophins, particularly with neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor, has been key in shining some much needed light on neurodegenerative conditions—and how we might develop new therapeutic strategies to fight them.”

“I’m excited to join the Scripps Florida faculty, which is known for its high-impact scientific research and great strength in drug discovery,” Xu said. “I look forward to many fruitful collaborations with my new Scripps colleagues.”

Xu earned a bachelor’s degree from Xiamen University in China in 1983, a master’s degree from Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology, Chinese Academy in 1986, and a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1995. His doctoral dissertation research in the laboratory of Professor David Clayton involved understanding the mechanisms that control replication of mitochondrial DNA, with support of a predoctoral fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation.  

Xu did his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Professor Louis Reichardt at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Francisco, from 1996 to 2001, studying the role of neurotrophins in the cerebral cortex and in weight control. After briefly working on the development of obesity therapeutics at Chiron Corporation (currently Novartis Emeryville Research Center in California), Xu joined Georgetown University as an assistant professor in 2003.

At Georgetown University, Xu carried out a highly successful research program and published many papers in prominent journals. He received an American Heart Association Scientist Development Award and was funded by numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health, American Diabetes Association, Klarman Family Foundation, March of Dimes Foundation and Whitehall Foundation.

At TSRI, Xu’s work will revolve around three research topics: local protein synthesis in dendrites (branch-like extensions on nerve cells), which has been implicated in the formation of long-term memory; central control of body weight and glucose homeostasis; and the mechanisms behind neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s.

Xu is married with a teenage daughter and a son. After his daughter’s graduation from a Maryland high school next year, the rest of the family will join him in Jupiter.

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs about 2,700 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including two Nobel laureates—work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. For more information, see www.scripps.edu.

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