Yan Xu

  • Professor/Secondary Appointment
2048 Biomedical Science Tower 3
412-648-9922 xu2@pitt.edu


My research focuses on a theoretical approach to consciousness.  Neurons communicate with each other dynamically, but how such communications lead to consciousness remains unclear. My group works on theoretical models to study the dynamic nature of sensory activity and information integration in hierarchical networks. We hope to understand the underlying principles governing the emergence of information integration from a stochastic process. Our recent studies apply the same principles to the analyses of the network activities in social media.

Selected Publications

·         “Percolation Model of Sensory Transmission and Loss of Consciousness under General Anesthesia,” Zhou DW, Mowrey D, Tang P, Xu Y. Phys Rev Lett, 115(10):108103. (2015)

·         “Effects of Propofol General Anesthesia on Olfactory Relearning,” Jia L-J, Tang P, Brandon NR, Luo Y, Yu B, Xu Y. Sci. Rep. 6, 33538; doi:10.1038/srep33538 (2016).

·         “19F NMR Quantification of Isoflurane Binding to the Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel NaChBac,” Kinde MN, Bondarenko V, Granata D, Bu W, Loll P, Carnevale V, Klein ML, Eckenhoff RG, Tang P, Xu Y. PNAS, 113(48):13762-13767 (2016).

·         “Structure of the Pentameric Ligand-gated Ion Channel ELIC Co-crystallized With Its Competitive Antagonist Acetylcholine,” Pan JJ, Chen Q, Willenbring D, Yoshida K, Tillman T, Kashlan OB, Cohen A, Kong XP, Xu Y, and Tang, P. Nature Communications, 3:714. (2012) 

·         “Asymmetric Ligand Binding Facilitates Conformational Transitions in Pentameric Ligand-Gated Ion Channels,” Mowrey DD, Cheng MH, Liu LT, Willenbring D, Lu X, Wymore T, Xu Y, Tang P. J Am Chem Soc, 135, 2172−2180. (2013)