Dan Xu, PhD

Dan Xu, PhD

Assistant Professor
Telephone Number


Dr. Xu received her Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University and began her postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School. In 2013, she moved to Singapore and continued her postdoc at Duke-NUS Medical School. In 2019, she was promoted as an Assistant Professor at Duke-NUS Medical School Singapore. 

In June 2023, she returned to the USA to advance her career at the Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota. Dr. Xu’s research focuses on the role of RNA regulatory networks in metabolic diseases. Over the years, she has identified several novel regulators such as Ybx2 and HuR in adipocyte metabolism. The findings of her research have been published in prestigious journals such as Nature MetabolismNature CommunicationsDiabetes, and Journal of Experimental Medicine

Dr. Xu’s lab has built a solid research platform centering on metabolic physiology study, complemented by bioinformatic analysis and RNA molecular biology.


  • Senior Research Fellow: Program in Cardiovascular & Metabolic Disorders, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore
  • Research Fellow: Program in Cardiovascular & Metabolic Disorders, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore
  • Post-doctoral Research Fellow: Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts
  • PhD: Case Western Reserve University, Ohio


  • 06/2023–present: Assistant Professor, The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota
  • 2019–06/2023: Assistant Professor, Program in Cardiovascular & Metabolic Disorders, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore

Selected Publications (as a corresponding author or first author)

  1. Xu D, Sun L. HOTAIR underlies the region-specific development of adipose tissue. Nature Reviews Endocrinology. 2022 Sep21
  2. Xu D, Sun L. A functional non-conserved lncRNA in human adipose tissue. Nature Metabolism. 2,385-386 (2020)
  3. Siang DTC, Lim YC, Kyaw AMM, Win KN, Chia SY, Degirmenci U, Hu X, Tan BC, Walet ACE, Sun L#, Xu D#. The RNA-binding protein HuR is a negative regulator in adipogenesis. Nature Communications. 2020 Jan 10;11(1):213 (# Corresponding authors)
  4. Arcinas C, Tan W, Fang W, Desai T, Teh DCS, Degirmenci U, Xu D#, Foo R#, Sun L#. Adipose circular RNAs exhibit dynamic regulation in obesity and functional role in adipogenesis. Nature Metabolism. 1, 688–703(2019) (# Corresponding authors)
  5. Ding C, Lim YC, Chia SY, Walet ACE, Xu S, Lo KA, Zhao Y, Zhu D, Shan Z, Chen Q, Leow MK, Xu D#, Sun L#. De novo reconstruction of human adipose transcriptome reveals conserved lncRNAs as regulators of brown adipogenesis. Nature Communications. 2018 Apr 6;9(1):1329. (# corresponding authors)
  6. Xu D#, Xu S, Kyaw AMM, Lim YC, Chia SY, Chee Siang DT, Alvarez-Dominguez JR, Chen P, Leow MK, Sun L#. RNA Binding Protein Ybx2 Regulates RNA Stability During Cold-Induced Brown Fat Activation. Diabetes. 2017 Dec;66(12):2987-3000. (# Corresponding authors)
  7. Xu D#, Sun L#. Role of microRNA biogenesis in adipocyte and lipodystrophy. 2015 Jan 20;4(3):222-4 (# Corresponding authors)
  8. Xu D, Zheng H, Yu WM, Qu CK. Activating mutations in protein tyrosine phosphatase Ptpn11 (Shp2) enhance reactive oxygen species production that contributes to myeloproliferative disorder. PLoS One. 2013 May 10;8(5):e63152.
  9. Xu D, Liu X, Yu WM, Meyerson HJ, Guo C, Gerson SL, Qu CK. Non-lineage/stage-restricted effects of a gain-of-function mutation in tyrosine phosphatase Ptpn11 (Shp2) on malignant transformation of hematopoietic cells. Journal of Experimental Medicine. 2011 Sep 26;208(10):1977-88
  10. Xu D, Wang S, Yu WM, Chan G, Araki T, Bunting KD, Neel BG, Qu CK. A germline gain-of-function mutation in Ptpn11 (Shp-2) phosphatase induces myeloproliferative disease by aberrant activation of hematopoietic stem cells. Blood. 2010 Nov 4;116(18):3611-21.
  11. Xu D, Qu CK. Protein tyrosine phosphatases in the JAK/STAT pathway. Frontiers in Bioscience. 2008 May 1; 13:4925-32

More publications can be found here: