School of Pharmacy

Libin Xu

Assistant Professor, Medicinal Chemistry

Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry Faculty, School Faculty, Xu Lab

Telephone: (206) 543-1080


Office Location: HSB, H-172P

Website: Xu Lab


  • Postdoctoral training, Vanderbilt University
  • Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • B.Sc. in Chemistry, Nankai University

Courses Taught

  • MEDCH 562
  • MEDCH 529
  • MEDCH 541
  • MEDCH 582
  • MEDCH 500 (starting Autumn 2019)

Research Interests

  • Mechanisms and products of lipid oxidation
  • Cholesterol biosynthesis disorders, in particular, Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome
  • Effect of drugs on lipid metabolism
  • Metabolomics and Lipidomics using ion mobility-mass spectrometry
  • Lipid metabolism in neurodevelopment
  • Mechanisms of antibiotic resistance


Dr. Xu was trained as an organic chemist early in his career, but during his postdoctoral training at Vanderbilt University, his research expanded to chemistry and biology of lipid peroxidation underlying human diseases, as well as mass spectrometry-based lipidomics.

The Xu lab is interested in the consequences of unusual lipid metabolism and oxidation processes on the nervous system, which could result from genetic mutations or small molecule interference. The lab aims to develop interventions that could ameliorate or reverse the adverse effects of the disrupted lipid homeostasis and oxidized lipids. The Xu lab is also interested in elucidating the contribution of altered lipid metabolism to antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens using mass spectrometry and molecular biology methodologies, aiming to develop strategies to re-sensitize the resistant bacteria. On the analytical chemistry side, the Xu Lab develops novel methodologies for the analysis of lipids, metabolites, drugs, and drug metabolites using ion mobility-mass spectrometry to meet the needs of our biological problems.

Dr. Xu is the recipient of the NIH Pathway to Independence Award from NICHD in 2012 and the Young Investigator Award from the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine in 2011. He is also the inaugural recipient, together with Prof. Brian Werth, of the School of Pharmacy Faculty Innovation Fund in 2016.

Selected Publications

  • Herron, J. M.; Hines, K. M.; Tomita, H.; Seguin, R. P.; Cui, J. Y.; Xu, L.* (2019) Multi-omics investigation reveals benzalkonium chloride disinfectants alter sterol and lipid homeostasis in the mouse neonatal brain. Tox. Sci., In Press.  Link.
  • Sever N, Mann RK, Xu L, Snell WJ Hernandez-Lara CI, Porter NA, Beachy PA. “Endogenous B-ring oxysterols inhibit the Hedgehog component Smoothened in a manner distinct fr0m cyclopamine or side-chain oxysterols.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U.S.A. 2016 May 9[Epub ahead of print]. PubMed link.
  • Herron J, Reese RC, Tallman KA, Narayanaswamy R, Porter NA, Xu L. “Identification of Environmental Quaternary Ammonium Compounds as Direct Inhibitors of Cholesterol Biosynthesis.” Toxicol Sci. 2016 Feb 26 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed link.
  • Pfeffer BA, Xu L, Porter NA, Rao SR, Fliesler SJ. “Differential cytotoxic effects of 7-dehydrocholesterol-derived oxysterols on cultured retina-derived cells: Dependence on sterol structure, cell type and density.” Exp Eye Res. 2016 Apr;145:297-316.PubMed link.
  • Xu L, Kliman M, Forsythe JG, Korade Z, Hmelo AB, Porter NA, McLean JA. “Profiling and imaging ion mobility-mass spectrometry analysis of cholesterol and 7-dehydrocholesterol in cells via sputtered silver MALDI.” J Am Soc Mass Spectrom.2015 Mar 31;26:924-933. PubMed link.
  • Xu L,* Porter NA (2014) “Free Radical Oxidation of Cholesterol and Its Precursors: Implications in Cholesterol Biosynthesis Disorders.” Free Radical Res. 2014 Dec 9:1-15 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed link.
  • Goyal S, Xiao Y, Porter NA, Xu L,* Guengerich FP.* “Oxidation of 7-Dehydrocholesterol and Desmosterol by Human Cytochrome P450 46A1 J.” Lipid Res. 2014 Sep; 55(9):1933-1943. PubMed link.
  • Xu L,* Porter NA. “Reactivities and Products of Free Radical Oxidation of Cholestadienols.” J Am Chem Soc. 2014 Apr 9; 136(14):5443-5450. PubMed link.
  • Korade Z, Xu L,# Harrison FE, Ahsen R, Hart SE, Folkes OM, Mirnics K, and Porter NA. “Antioxidant supplementation ameliorates molecular deficits in Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome (SLOS).” Biol Psychiatry 2014 Feb 1; 75(3):215-222. PubMed link.
  • Xu L,* Korade Z, Rosado DA, Mirnics K, Porter NA* “Metabolism of oxysterols derived from nonenzymatic oxidation of 7-dehydrocholesterol in cells.” J Lipid Res. 2013 Apr; 54(4):1135-1143. PubMed link.
  • Xu L, Sheflin L G, Porter NA, and Fliesler SJ. “7-Dehydrocholesterol-derived oxysterols and retinal degeneration in a rat model of Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome.” Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Jun; 1821(6):877-883. PubMed link.