Tian  Xu

Tian Xu

Chair Professor of Genetics, Vice President of Westlake University

Prof. Tian Xu received his B.S. degree from Fudan University in 1982 and Ph.D. degree from Yale University in 1990. He was a postdoctoral fellow at University of California, Berkeley between 1990 and 1993. From 1993 to 2018, he served as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor (tenured in 2001), Full Professor and the C.N.H. Long Chair Professor of Genetics at Yale University. Prof. Xu also served as the Vice Chairman of the Department of Genetics at Yale University from 2003 to 2018 and the Special Advisor to President of Yale University from 2002 to 2013. He was also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1997 to 2018. From 1997 to 2018, he served as Adjunct Professor and Director of the Institute of Developmental Biology, and Director of the International Collaboration and Research Center for Development and Disease at Fudan University. He is a Member of the Expert Advisory Committee of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council (since 2011 ). Prof. Xu joined Westlake University as a Chair Professor of Genetics and Vice President in April, 2018.


Prof. Xu’s work mainly focuses on mechanism of growth control and new genetic and biotech methods. He pioneered genetic dissection of growth control and identified all the key growth regulators and pathways including PTEN/TSC/ mTor and Lats/Hippo. His studies have not only elucidated fundamental principles of  developmental biology, but also revealed pathogenic mechanisms and contributed to the development of multiple drugs. Xu has developed multiple widely used genetic methods including mammalian piggyBac transposon and mosaic analysis. He is an AAAS Fellow. He served as the President of the Chinese Biological Investigators Society, and Chairman (USA) of the US-China Frontiers of Sciences committee. He was the recipient of the Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Pew Scholar Award, the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance Rothberg Courage Award, TSC Achievement Award, Distinguished Scientist and SCBA Service Award, Shanghai Science and Technology Award (1 st class), and the Magnolia Silver Award He serves and served as the Editorial Board Member of Cell, Annual Review of Genetics, Molecular Cancer Research , Integrative Biology and The International Journal of Biological Science, s  and is the Founding Editor and the Editorial Board Member of Disease Models and Mechanisms. The course of “Basic Concepts of Genetic Analysis” that he taught was one of the most popular courses at Yale in the last two decades. He was the advisor for the best Ph.D. Thesis at Yale and for the National Excellent Doctoral Dissertation in China.

Abstract of the speech:

Innovation Through Collaboration
The mission of high education is to transmit, preserve and create knowledge. As the development and spread of technologies such as the worldwide web, smart phone and AI, the roles of high education are also evolving away from transmitting and preserving knowledge, but to focus on innovative research and education that trains students to be able to adapt the rapid changing world. As a newly established high education institution and the first private research university in China, Westlake University is promoting innovative research and education through collaboration. Within the institution, we foster
cross disciplinary research and education by designing a new campus that enables physical interaction of all faculty and students, forming faculty club for exchanging ideas, establishing Ph.D. programs that allow each student to be advised by more than one advisor of different fields, setting up seminars and courses for cross disciplinary topics, funding collaborative research projects, and creating core facilities that enable interdisciplinary research. As innovation often from inter-institutional collaboration, we are engaging our sister institutions to promote collaboration in research and education.

June 7, 201911:20-12:50
Future Ready HEI
Breakout session 3
Venue: Ballroom Right 1, Block C2, Nazarbayev University