Shawn Xu

The Xu lab investigates some of the fundamental questions in neuroscience and physiology: How are sensory inputs, such as touch, light, chemicals, and temperature, perceived by the nervous system, how do neural circuits and synapses process sensory information to generate behavioral output, and how do genes and drugs of abuse regulate these processes? He also studies how the sensory environment modulates aging and longevity. 

Dr. Xu joined the University of Michigan in 2005 with a faculty appointment  in the Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology and in the Life Sciences Institute.  Currently, Dr. Xu is Bernard W. Agranoff Collegiate Professor of the Life Sciences in the Life Sciences Institute. He is also Professor of Molecular & Integrative Physiology at U-M Medical School. Prior to joining UM, Xu completed his post-doctoral training at the California Institute of Technology.

shawnxu@ [at]


  • Bernard W. Agranoff Collegiate Professor of the Life Sciences, Life Sciences Institute  
  • Professor, Dept. of Molecular & Integrative Physiology
  • Research Professor, Life Sciences Institute


  • BS in Biochemistry, Wuhan University, China
  • MS in Biochemistry, Wuhan University, China
  • PhD in Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University

Honors and Awards

  • 2017: Elected Fellow, AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science)
  • 2011: Basic Science Research Award, University of Michigan Medical School 
  • 2009: Young Investigator Award of CBIS
  • 2007: Pew Scholar
  • 2006: Sloan Fellow
  • 2001: Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2000: Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award