Haiyan Xu, MD, joined the faculty as assistant professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology in 2005. Her education includes an MD degree from Beijing Medical University, an MS from the same school and a PhD from Harvard University.She was a researcher in the department of metabolic disease biology at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. from 2000 to 2003 and moved to the metabolic disease research division at Abbott Laboratories in 2004. Her honors include the Edgar Haber Award in Biological Sciences and the Medical Sigma Xi Harvard-Radcliffe Chapter Scientific Recognition Award from Harvard University.
A major focus of Xu's research is on the mechanisms of obesity-related insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Her work is particularly focused on the correlation of adipose inflammation and insulin signaling in obesity, novel factors in the regulation of adipose energy metabolism and mechanisms controlling hepatic gluconeogenesis. Her discovery of obesity-induced macrophage infiltration in adipose tissue has revealed a new mechanism contributing to the systemic inflammatory response that complicates obesity and diabetes. This work was selected as one of the milestone discoveries in the 80-year publication history of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Her current research projects include studies on the factors responsible for trigerring obesity-induced adipose macrophage infiltration, the roles of novel AMPK-related kinases in adipocyte biology and the effects of two phosphatases on insulin signaling in liver and adipose tissue.