Graduate Student Directory

Xiou Cao
MGM Graduate Student

270 Jones Building
Box 3580 DUMC
Durham, N.C. 27710

Phone: 919-668-2449
Fax: 919-668-0795

Xiou Cao

Research interests: Neural control of innate immunity using the model organism C. elegans

I was born in Heilongjiang, China and finished my undergraduate studies at Peking University. In 2011, I worked as a summer intern in Dr. Youxing Jiang’s lab at UT Southwestern Medical Center, focusing on ion channel structure. After that, I joined a lab at Institute of Biophysics, CAS and worked on BamA, a Gram-negative bacteria outer membrane protein, which is responsible for the assembly of other beta-barrel proteins in outer membrane.

At Duke, I am a member of Aballay lab where I investigate the neural control of innate immunity using the model organism C. elegans. Recent studies highlight the function of neuropeptide-like protein (nlp) in mediating pathogen resistance in nematode C. elegans. By employing forward and reverse genetics, I hope to unravel the role of neuropeptide-like protein in the complicated interactions between nervous and immune system. Besides, wild-isolate strains of C. elegans show different susceptibility to pathogens, making them good resources for identifying new genes involved in innate immunity. The natural environment is a huge mutagenesis machine that creates these different strains. Combined with whole genome sequencing, wild isolates may revolutionize our current understanding of immune response in C. elegans.

During my leisure time, I like to read and travel to experience life in different places.


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