Professor Guoliang Xu

Professor of Epigenetics


School of Biomedical Sciences


Cromore Road Coleraine Co. Londonderry BT52 1SA


Professor Guoliang Xu holds a BSc from Zhejiang University, China (1985), MSc from the Institute of Genetics, Beijing (1988) and a PhD from the Technical University, Berlin, Germany (1993). He completed his doctoral thesis work followed by one-year postdoc training at the Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, before becoming a principal investigator at the National University of Singapore (1994-1995).

Following this he moved to Columbia University for further postdoc research (1995-2001), before taking up a group leader appointment, co-funded by the Max Planck Society, at the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The CAS is consistently ranked among the top Life Sciences Institutions in the world (Nature), with SIBS, where he is now a full Professor, its flagship Institute. From 2018 on, he also serves as Executive Dean of the Institutes of Biomedical Sciences (IBS) at the Medical College of Fudan University, Shanghai, one of the leading medical schools in China. In 2020, after a long-standing collaboration with colleagues here working in epigenetics, he joined the School of Biomedical Sciences at Ulster University on an international appointment.

Professor Xu is the author of over 78 peer-reviewed research papers on epigenetics, consistently publishing in the top-ranking general science journals (Science, Nature, Cell), and is a very highly-cited researcher, with many papers cited over 1000 times. His seminal work in the field has led to the identification of mutations in human genes leading to a number of different disease syndromes, as well as giving insights into the fundamental workings of the cell. He is currently an Editorial Board member of JBC (the Journal of Biological Chemistry (US)) and an Advisory Board member of the journal Development (Company of Biologists, Cambridge UK).

Prof. Xu has a long history of successful grant applications, with funding from prestigious national and international sources, including multiple grants from the National Science Foundation of China and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He has also founded and raised substantial capital from investors for a spin-out company called CytosinLab Inc. His international grants include several substantial awards for collaboration with the UK and US.

Prof. Xu was elected member of National Academy of Sciences China (2015) and is recipient of the One-Hundred-Talents Research Fund (2001) as well as the Tan Kah Kee Science Award (2014).

Research Interests

  • Epigenetic regulation of embryo development
  • DNA methylation and nucleic acids metabolism
  • Meiosis and epigenetic regulation of reproduction
  • Cancer epigenetics