Libin Xu receives prestigious NIH K99 Award to study a human metabolic disorder
Research Assistant Professor Libin Xu has been awarded an NIH K99 Pathway to Independence Award. The Award provides two years of research support for Dr. Xu in the Chemistry Department in a program mentored by Dr. Ned Porter and Dr. John McLean and in the Department of Psychiatry by Dr. Karoly MIrnics. Following the two years of mentored research, three years of support for Dr. Xu's independent research program are provided by the NIH grant. The research grant is related to a human metabolic disorder known as Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS) that results from a mutation in the enzyme that promotes the last step in cholesterol biosynthesis. The consequence of this defect is a build up of a sterol precursor to cholesterol that is highly susceptible to reaction with molecular oxygen. Dr. Xu's hypothesis for his studies is that sterol oxidation products are key causal agents in the underlying molecular and pathophysiological mechanisms of SLOS.