Skip to main content

Huichun Xu, MD, PhD

Academic Title:

Associate Professor

Primary Appointment:




Phone (Primary):


Education and Training

Hunan Medical University, MD, Intern Medicine

Univeristy of California at Davis, PhD, Neuroscience


Dr. Xu is a genetic epidemiologist with a focus on common human complex diseases, particularly cerebrovascular diseases and their risk factors, using both genomics and functional genomics technologies. Dr. Xu earned his M.D. in Internal Medicine from a prestigious seven-year program at the Hunan Medical University. He completed his Ph.D. training at the University of California at Davis. During his PhD and postdoctoral training, Dr. Xu has been primarily conducting translational research in neurological diseases based on genomic technology. Representative projects included: (1) establishing transcriptome biomarkers for etiology diagnosis in human ischemic stroke patients and (2) identifying potential protective therapy target for human neurological injury in animal model using functional genomics. Currently, Dr. Xu involves in genetic study of ischemic stroke through Stroke Genetics Network (SiGN) study under International Stroke Genetics Consortium, genetic study of MRI imaging traits in stroke patients such as white matter hyperintensities and acute infarct size through MRI-GEnetics Interface Exploration (MRI-GENIE) study, and genetics of young onset ischemic stroke study. Besides DNA level genetic study, Dr. Xu has been heavily involved in functional epigenomics study of stroke recovery at the level of DNA methylome and transcriptome. 

Research/Clinical Keywords

Genetic Epidemiology, Stroke, neurological disorders, cardiovascular diseases,GWAS(genome wide association study), transcriptome, epigenetics,DNA methylation, Pathway Analysis

Highlighted Publications

NINDS Stroke Genetics Network (SiGN), International Stroke Genetics Consortium. (2015). Loci associated with ischaemic stroke and its subtypes (SiGN): a genome-wide association study. Lancet Neurol. 2015 Dec 18. pii: S1474-4422(15)00338-5.

Cole JW, Xu H. Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Repressor Methylation: A Link Between Smoking and Atherosclerosis. Circ Cardiovasc Genet. 2015 Oct;8(5):640-2.

Peprah E, Xu H, Tekola-Ayele F, Royal CD. Genome-wide association studies in Africans and African Americans: expanding the framework of the genomics of human traits and disease. Public Health Genomics. 2015;18(1):40-51

Xu H, Lu A, Sharp FR. (2011) Regional genome transcriptional response of adult mouse brain to hypoxia. BMC Genomics 12:499.  

Xu H, Stamova B, Jickling G, Tian Y, Zhan X, Ander BP, Liu D, Turner R, Rosand J, Goldstein LB, Furie KL, Verro P, Johnston SC, Sharp FR, Decarli CS (2010) Distinctive RNA expression profiles in blood associated with white matter hyperintensities in brain. Stroke 41:2744-2749.

Xu H, Tang Y, Liu D-Z, Ran R, Ander BP, Apperson M, Liu XS, Khoury JC, Gregg JP, Pancioli A, Jauch EC, Wagner KR, Verro P, Broderick JP, Sharp FR (2008) Gene expression in peripheral blood differs after cardioembolic compared with large-vessel atherosclerotic stroke: biomarkers for the etiology of ischemic stroke. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 28:1320-8.