Fanxin Long, PhD

Professor of Medicine, and Professor of Developmental Biology

Research Interests

The Long lab is generally interested in understanding the molecular underpinnings of cellular differentiation. The bone-forming cell (osteoblast) is used as a common experimental paradigm in the lab. This is in part due to the clinical significance of this cell type in human skeletal disorders such as osteoporosis. Our research thus far has revealed that intercellular signals such as Hedgehog, Wnt and Notch all play key yet distinct roles in controlling osteoblast differentiation in the mammalian skeleton. An ongoing effort is to elucidate the cellular responses that translate the extracellular signals to the differentiation phenotype. A long-term goal of the laboratory is to discover molecular targets for developing novel bone-enhancing therapeutics.

Education and Training

B.S. Peking University, Beijing
M.A. University of California, Santa Barbara
Ph.D. Tufts University Medical School, Boston
Postdoctoral Training Harvard University, Boston

Honors and Awards

1991-1992 Amgen Predoctoral Fellowship
1998-2001 NIH National Research Service Award
2003-2004 Interdisciplinary Women’s Health Research Scholar, Washington University
2009 Washington University School of Medicine Distinguished Investigator Award

Selected Publications

Ximei Wu, Xiaolin Tu, Kyu Sang Joeng, Matthew J. Hilton, David A. Williams, Fanxin Long (2008). Rac1 activation controls nuclear localization of β-catenin during canonical Wnt signaling. Cell 133, 340-53.

Matthew J. Hilton, Xiaolin Tu, Ximei Wu, Shuting Bai, Haibo Zhao, Tatsuya Kobayashi, Henry M. Kronenberg, Steven L. Teitelbaum, F. Patrick Ross, Raphael Kopan, Fanxin Long (2008). Notch signaling maintains bone marrow mesenchymal progenitors by suppressing osteoblast differentiation. Nat. Med. 14, 306-14.

Xiaolin Tu, Kyu-Sang Joeng, Keiichi I. Nakayama, Keiko Nakayama, Jayaraj Rajagopal, Thomas J. Carroll, Andrew P. McMahon and Fanxin Long (2007). Noncanonical Wnt signaling through G protein-linked PKCd activation promotes bone formation. Dev. Cell 12, 113-27.

Matthew J. Hilton, Xiaolin Tu, Julie Cook, Hongliang Hu and Fanxin Long (2005). Ihh controls cartilage development by antagonizing Gli3 but requires additional effectors to regulate osteoblast and vascular development. Development 132, 4339-51.

Hongliang Hu, Matthew J. Hilton, Xiaolin Tu, Kai Yu, David M. Ornitz and Fanxin Long (2005). Sequential roles of Hedgehog and Wnt signaling in osteoblast development. Development 132, 49-60.