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Xianhua Piao, MD, PhD

Title(s)Professor, Pediatrics
SchoolSchool of Medicine
Phone415-476-4896
ORCID ORCID Icon0000-0001-7540-6767 Additional info
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    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse Education and Training
    The Fourth Military Medical University, ChinaMD1984
    University of Toronto, CanadaPhD1996
    New York University, United StatesResidency1999
    Harvard Medical School , United StatesFellowship2002
    Harvard Medical School , United StatesPostdoctoral Fellow2005

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse Overview
    Dr. Piao is a physician-scientist with a focus in both neonatology and developmental neuroscience. She received her MD from the Fourth Military Medical University and her PhD with Alan Bernstein from University of Toronto, before completing her Pediatric residency at NYU and Neonatology fellowship as well as a post-doctoral fellowship with Chris Walsh at Harvard Medical School. During her postdoctoral study, Dr. Piao discovered that the adhesion G-protein-coupled receptor (aGPCR) GPR56 regulates brain patterning and its mutations cause a devastating human brain malformation called bilateral frontoparietal polymicrogyria (BFPP). After spending almost two decades at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Piao joined the Department of Pediatrics as the director of the Newborn Brain Research Institute and Benioff Professor in Children’s Health. Her research focuses on cells and molecules of the central nervous system (CNS) during development that execute an astonishingly intricate series of orchestrated steps to culminate in the precise localization of neurons wired in a functional networked circuitry. Her lab seeks to understand aspects of this process which persist into adulthood and may at times be deranged in neurodevelopmental disorders. One special area of interest concerns adhesion G protein-coupled receptors (aGPCRs) and their extracellular matrix (ECM) partners. This research engages three processes, each of which is governed in part by the cell-type-specific expression and function of aGPCRs:
    I. CNS myelin formation and repair. Piao and her colleagues recently showed how the aGPCR GPR56 regulates developmental myelin formation through a remarkable tripartite signaling complex composed of a microglial-derived ligand, an oligodendrocyte receptor and an extracellular matrix component.
    II. Synapses, circuits, and neurological disorders. Unpublished work from the Piao lab demonstrates a novel player in microglia-mediated developmental synaptic refinement. She is collaborating with investigators at UCSF and Harvard Medical School to decipher the molecular mechanisms by which glial cells regulate neural circuit formation during perinatal development and associated disease processes.
    III. Maternal immune activation (MIA) and neuropsychiatric disorders. She and her collaborator Jun Huh at Harvard Medical School are investigating how MIA deranges fetal and neonatal brain development through innate immune mechanisms.

    Collapse Research 
    Collapse Research Activities and Funding
    Glial Mechanisms Of Developmental Synapse Refinement
    NIH/NINDS R01NS108446Sep 1, 2018 - Aug 31, 2023
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Glial mechanisms of developmental synapse refinement
    NIH/NINDS R01NS108446Sep 1, 2018 - Aug 31, 2023
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Adhesion GPCR interactome landscaping by in vivo biotinylation proteomics
    NIH/NINDS R21 NS108312-01Aug 1, 2018 - Jul 31, 2020
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Adhesion GPCR interactome landscaping by in vivo biotinylation proteomics
    NIH/NINDS R21NS108312Aug 1, 2018 - Jul 31, 2020
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Adhesion G protein-coupled receptors in CNS development and regeneration
    NIH/NINDS R01 NS094164-01Sep 30, 2015 - Aug 31, 2019
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Adhesion G Protein-Coupled Receptors in CNS Development and Regeneration
    NIH/NINDS R01NS094164Sep 30, 2015 - Aug 31, 2019
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Role of Adhesion G protein-coupled receptors in glial cell development and myelination
    NIH/NINDS R56NS085201Mar 15, 2015 - Feb 29, 2016
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Regulation of Cortical Development by GPR56 Signaling
    NIH/NINDS R01NS057536Dec 15, 2007 - Nov 30, 2013
    Role: Principal Investigator
    The Genetics of Polymicrogyria and Epilepsy
    NIH/NINDS K08NS045762Jan 1, 2004 - May 30, 2009
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse Publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
    List All   |   Timeline
    1. Zhu B, Luo R, Jin P, Li T, Oak HC, Giera S, Monk KR, Lak P, Shoichet BK, Piao X. GAIN domain-mediated cleavage is required for activation of G protein-coupled receptor 56 (GPR56) by its natural ligands and a small-molecule agonist. J Biol Chem. 2019 Oct 18. PMID: 31628191.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Morgan RK, Anderson GR, Araç D, Aust G, Balenga N, Boucard A, Bridges JP, Engel FB, Formstone CJ, Glitsch MD, Gray RS, Hall RA, Hsiao CC, Kim HY, Knierim AB, Kusuluri DK, Leon K, Liebscher I, Piao X, Prömel S, Scholz N, Srivastava S, Thor D, Tolias KF, Ushkaryov YA, Vallon M, Van Meir EG, Vanhollebeke B, Wolfrum U, Wright KM, Monk KR, Mogha A. The expanding functional roles and signaling mechanisms of adhesion G protein-coupled receptors. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2019 Jun 06. PMID: 31168816.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Cauley ES, Hamed A, Mohamed IN, Elseed M, Martinez S, Yahia A, Abozar F, Abubakr R, Koko M, Elsayed L, Piao X, Salih MA, Manzini MC. Overlap of polymicrogyria, hydrocephalus, and Joubert syndrome in a family with novel truncating mutations in ADGRG1/GPR56 and KIAA0556. Neurogenetics. 2019 05; 20(2):91-98. PMID: 30982090.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Folts CJ, Giera S, Li T, Piao X. Adhesion G Protein-Coupled Receptors as Drug Targets for Neurological Diseases. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2019 04; 40(4):278-293. PMID: 30871735.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Hammond TR, Dufort C, Dissing-Olesen L, Giera S, Young A, Wysoker A, Walker AJ, Gergits F, Segel M, Nemesh J, Marsh SE, Saunders A, Macosko E, Ginhoux F, Chen J, Franklin RJM, Piao X, McCarroll SA, Stevens B. Single-Cell RNA Sequencing of Microglia throughout the Mouse Lifespan and in the Injured Brain Reveals Complex Cell-State Changes. Immunity. 2019 01 15; 50(1):253-271.e6. PMID: 30471926.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Olaniru OE, Pingitore A, Giera S, Piao X, Castañera González R, Jones PM, Persaud SJ. The adhesion receptor GPR56 is activated by extracellular matrix collagen III to improve ß-cell function. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2018 Nov; 75(21):4007-4019. PMID: 29855662.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Giera S, Luo R, Ying Y, Ackerman SD, Jeong SJ, Stoveken HM, Folts CJ, Welsh CA, Tall GG, Stevens B, Monk KR, Piao X. Microglial transglutaminase-2 drives myelination and myelin repair via GPR56/ADGRG1 in oligodendrocyte precursor cells. Elife. 2018 05 29; 7. PMID: 29809138.
      View in: PubMed
    8. Ackerman SD, Luo R, Poitelon Y, Mogha A, Harty BL, D'Rozario M, Sanchez NE, Lakkaraju AKK, Gamble P, Li J, Qu J, MacEwan MR, Ray WZ, Aguzzi A, Feltri ML, Piao X, Monk KR. GPR56/ADGRG1 regulates development and maintenance of peripheral myelin. J Exp Med. 2018 03 05; 215(3):941-961. PMID: 29367382.
      View in: PubMed
    9. Moreno M, Pedrosa L, Paré L, Pineda E, Bejarano L, Martínez J, Balasubramaniyan V, Ezhilarasan R, Kallarackal N, Kim SH, Wang J, Audia A, Conroy S, Marin M, Ribalta T, Pujol T, Herreros A, Tortosa A, Mira H, Alonso MM, Gómez-Manzano C, Graus F, Sulman EP, Piao X, Nakano I, Prat A, Bhat KP, de la Iglesia N. GPR56/ADGRG1 Inhibits Mesenchymal Differentiation and Radioresistance in Glioblastoma. Cell Rep. 2017 Nov 21; 21(8):2183-2197. PMID: 29166609.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Mehta P, Küspert M, Bale T, Brownstein CA, Towne MC, De Girolami U, Shi J, Beggs AH, Darras BT, Wegner M, Piao X, Agrawal PB. Novel mutation in CNTNAP1 results in congenital hypomyelinating neuropathy. Muscle Nerve. 2017 05; 55(5):761-765. PMID: 27668699.
      View in: PubMed
    11. Mehta P, Piao X. Adhesion G-protein coupled receptors and extracellular matrix proteins: Roles in myelination and glial cell development. Dev Dyn. 2017 04; 246(4):275-284. PMID: 27859941.
      View in: PubMed
    12. Mogha A, Harty BL, Carlin D, Joseph J, Sanchez NE, Suter U, Piao X, Cavalli V, Monk KR. Gpr126/Adgrg6 Has Schwann Cell Autonomous and Nonautonomous Functions in Peripheral Nerve Injury and Repair. J Neurosci. 2016 12 07; 36(49):12351-12367. PMID: 27927955.
      View in: PubMed
    13. Salzman GS, Ackerman SD, Ding C, Koide A, Leon K, Luo R, Stoveken HM, Fernandez CG, Tall GG, Piao X, Monk KR, Koide S, Araç D. Structural Basis for Regulation of GPR56/ADGRG1 by Its Alternatively Spliced Extracellular Domains. Neuron. 2016 Sep 21; 91(6):1292-1304. PMID: 27657451.
      View in: PubMed
    14. Langenhan T, Piao X, Monk KR. Adhesion G protein-coupled receptors in nervous system development and disease. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2016 09; 17(9):550-61. PMID: 27466150.
      View in: PubMed
    15. Sigoillot SM, Monk KR, Piao X, Selimi F, Harty BL. Adhesion GPCRs as Novel Actors in Neural and Glial Cell Functions: From Synaptogenesis to Myelination. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2016; 234:275-298. PMID: 27832492.
      View in: PubMed
    16. Chen P, Piao X, Bonaldo P. Role of macrophages in Wallerian degeneration and axonal regeneration after peripheral nerve injury. Acta Neuropathol. 2015 Nov; 130(5):605-18. PMID: 26419777.
      View in: PubMed
    17. Schöneberg T, Liebscher I, Luo R, Monk KR, Piao X. Tethered agonists: a new mechanism underlying adhesion G protein-coupled receptor activation. J Recept Signal Transduct Res. 2015 Jun; 35(3):220-3. PMID: 26366621.
      View in: PubMed
    18. Rao TN, Marks-Bluth J, Sullivan J, Gupta MK, Chandrakanthan V, Fitch SR, Ottersbach K, Jang YC, Piao X, Kulkarni RN, Serwold T, Pimanda JE, Wagers AJ. High-level Gpr56 expression is dispensable for the maintenance and function of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in mice. Stem Cell Res. 2015 May; 14(3):307-22. PMID: 25840412.
      View in: PubMed
    19. Petersen SC, Luo R, Liebscher I, Giera S, Jeong SJ, Mogha A, Ghidinelli M, Feltri ML, Schöneberg T, Piao X, Monk KR. The adhesion GPCR GPR126 has distinct, domain-dependent functions in Schwann cell development mediated by interaction with laminin-211. Neuron. 2015 Feb 18; 85(4):755-69. PMID: 25695270.
      View in: PubMed
    20. Giera S, Deng Y, Luo R, Ackerman SD, Mogha A, Monk KR, Ying Y, Jeong SJ, Makinodan M, Bialas AR, Chang BS, Stevens B, Corfas G, Piao X. The adhesion G protein-coupled receptor GPR56 is a cell-autonomous regulator of oligodendrocyte development. Nat Commun. 2015 Jan 21; 6:6121. PMID: 25607655.
      View in: PubMed
    21. Ackerman SD, Garcia C, Piao X, Gutmann DH, Monk KR. The adhesion GPCR Gpr56 regulates oligodendrocyte development via interactions with Ga12/13 and RhoA. Nat Commun. 2015 Jan 21; 6:6122. PMID: 25607772.
      View in: PubMed
    22. Hamann J, Aust G, Araç D, Engel FB, Formstone C, Fredriksson R, Hall RA, Harty BL, Kirchhoff C, Knapp B, Krishnan A, Liebscher I, Lin HH, Martinelli DC, Monk KR, Peeters MC, Piao X, Prömel S, Schöneberg T, Schwartz TW, Singer K, Stacey M, Ushkaryov YA, Vallon M, Wolfrum U, Wright MW, Xu L, Langenhan T, Schiöth HB. International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology. XCIV. Adhesion G protein-coupled receptors. Pharmacol Rev. 2015; 67(2):338-67. PMID: 25713288.
      View in: PubMed
    23. Liebscher I, Ackley B, Araç D, Ariestanti DM, Aust G, Bae BI, Bista BR, Bridges JP, Duman JG, Engel FB, Giera S, Goffinet AM, Hall RA, Hamann J, Hartmann N, Lin HH, Liu M, Luo R, Mogha A, Monk KR, Peeters MC, Prömel S, Ressl S, Schiöth HB, Sigoillot SM, Song H, Talbot WS, Tall GG, White JP, Wolfrum U, Xu L, Piao X. New functions and signaling mechanisms for the class of adhesion G protein-coupled receptors. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2014 Dec; 1333:43-64. PMID: 25424900.
      View in: PubMed
    24. White JP, Wrann CD, Rao RR, Nair SK, Jedrychowski MP, You JS, Martínez-Redondo V, Gygi SP, Ruas JL, Hornberger TA, Wu Z, Glass DJ, Piao X, Spiegelman BM. G protein-coupled receptor 56 regulates mechanical overload-induced muscle hypertrophy. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Nov 04; 111(44):15756-61. PMID: 25336758.
      View in: PubMed
    25. Luo R, Jeong SJ, Yang A, Wen M, Saslowsky DE, Lencer WI, Araç D, Piao X. Mechanism for adhesion G protein-coupled receptor GPR56-mediated RhoA activation induced by collagen III stimulation. PLoS One. 2014; 9(6):e100043. PMID: 24949629.
      View in: PubMed
    26. Bae BI, Tietjen I, Atabay KD, Evrony GD, Johnson MB, Asare E, Wang PP, Murayama AY, Im K, Lisgo SN, Overman L, Šestan N, Chang BS, Barkovich AJ, Grant PE, Topçu M, Politsky J, Okano H, Piao X, Walsh CA. Evolutionarily dynamic alternative splicing of GPR56 regulates regional cerebral cortical patterning. Science. 2014 Feb 14; 343(6172):764-8. PMID: 24531968.
      View in: PubMed
    27. Wu MP, Doyle JR, Barry B, Beauvais A, Rozkalne A, Piao X, Lawlor MW, Kopin AS, Walsh CA, Gussoni E. G-protein coupled receptor 56 promotes myoblast fusion through serum response factor- and nuclear factor of activated T-cell-mediated signalling but is not essential for muscle development in vivo. FEBS J. 2013 Dec; 280(23):6097-113. PMID: 24102982.
      View in: PubMed
    28. Jeong SJ, Luo R, Singer K, Giera S, Kreidberg J, Kiyozumi D, Shimono C, Sekiguchi K, Piao X. GPR56 functions together with a3ß1 integrin in regulating cerebral cortical development. PLoS One. 2013; 8(7):e68781. PMID: 23874761.
      View in: PubMed
    29. Araç D, Aust G, Calebiro D, Engel FB, Formstone C, Goffinet A, Hamann J, Kittel RJ, Liebscher I, Lin HH, Monk KR, Petrenko A, Piao X, Prömel S, Schiöth HB, Schwartz TW, Stacey M, Ushkaryov YA, Wobus M, Wolfrum U, Xu L, Langenhan T. Dissecting signaling and functions of adhesion G protein-coupled receptors. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2012 Dec; 1276:1-25. PMID: 23215895.
      View in: PubMed
    30. Singer K, Luo R, Jeong SJ, Piao X. GPR56 and the developing cerebral cortex: cells, matrix, and neuronal migration. Mol Neurobiol. 2013 Feb; 47(1):186-96. PMID: 23001883.
      View in: PubMed
    31. Jeong SJ, Luo R, Li S, Strokes N, Piao X. Characterization of G protein-coupled receptor 56 protein expression in the mouse developing neocortex. J Comp Neurol. 2012 Sep 01; 520(13):2930-40. PMID: 22351047.
      View in: PubMed
    32. Luo R, Jin Z, Deng Y, Strokes N, Piao X. Disease-associated mutations prevent GPR56-collagen III interaction. PLoS One. 2012; 7(1):e29818. PMID: 22238662.
      View in: PubMed
    33. Jeong SJ, Li S, Luo R, Strokes N, Piao X. Loss of Col3a1, the gene for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome type IV, results in neocortical dyslamination. PLoS One. 2012; 7(1):e29767. PMID: 22235340.
      View in: PubMed
    34. Luo R, Jeong SJ, Jin Z, Strokes N, Li S, Piao X. G protein-coupled receptor 56 and collagen III, a receptor-ligand pair, regulates cortical development and lamination. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Aug 02; 108(31):12925-30. PMID: 21768377.
      View in: PubMed
    35. Luo R, Yang HM, Jin Z, Halley DJ, Chang BS, MacPherson L, Brueton L, Piao X. A novel GPR56 mutation causes bilateral frontoparietal polymicrogyria. Pediatr Neurol. 2011 Jul; 45(1):49-53. PMID: 21723461.
      View in: PubMed
    36. Luo, R., Jeong, S.J., Jin, Z., Strokes, N., Li, S., Piao, X.G protein-coupled receptor56 and collagen III, a receptor-ligand pair, regulates cortical development and lamination. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 108(31), 12925-30. 2011.
    37. Strokes N, Piao X. Adhesion-GPCRs in the CNS. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2010; 706:87-97. PMID: 21618828.
      View in: PubMed
    38. Jin Z, Luo R, Piao X. GPR56 and its related diseases. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2009; 89:1-13. PMID: 20374731.
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    39. Koirala S, Jin Z, Piao X, Corfas G. GPR56-regulated granule cell adhesion is essential for rostral cerebellar development. J Neurosci. 2009 Jun 10; 29(23):7439-49. PMID: 19515912.
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    40. Li S, Jin Z, Koirala S, Bu L, Xu L, Hynes RO, Walsh CA, Corfas G, Piao X. GPR56 regulates pial basement membrane integrity and cortical lamination. J Neurosci. 2008 May 28; 28(22):5817-26. PMID: 18509043.
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    41. Jin Z, Tietjen I, Bu L, Liu-Yesucevitz L, Gaur SK, Walsh CA, Piao X. Disease-associated mutations affect GPR56 protein trafficking and cell surface expression. Hum Mol Genet. 2007 Aug 15; 16(16):1972-85. PMID: 17576745.
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    42. Piao X, Chang BS, Bodell A, Woods K, Benzeev B, Topcu M, Guerrini R, Goldberg-Stern H, Sztriha L, Dobyns WB, Barkovich AJ, Walsh CA. Genotype-phenotype analysis of human frontoparietal polymicrogyria syndromes. Ann Neurol. 2005 Nov; 58(5):680-7. PMID: 16240336.
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    43. Piao X, Walsh CA. A novel signaling mechanism in brain development. Pediatr Res. 2004 Sep; 56(3):309-10. PMID: 15269343.
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    44. Piao X, Hill RS, Bodell A, Chang BS, Basel-Vanagaite L, Straussberg R, Dobyns WB, Qasrawi B, Winter RM, Innes AM, Voit T, Ross ME, Michaud JL, Déscarie JC, Barkovich AJ, Walsh CA. G protein-coupled receptor-dependent development of human frontal cortex. Science. 2004 Mar 26; 303(5666):2033-6. PMID: 15044805.
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    45. Piao, X., Hill, R.S., Bodell, A., Chang, B.S., Basel-Vanagaite, L., Straussberg, R., Dobyns, W.B., Qasrawi, B., Winter, R.M., Innes, A.M., Voit, T., Ross, M.E., Michaud, J.L., Déscarie, J.C., Barkovich, A.J., Walsh, C.G protein-coupled receptor-dependent development of human frontal cortex. Science. 2004.
    46. Chang BS, Piao X, Bodell A, Basel-Vanagaite L, Straussberg R, Dobyns WB, Qasrawi B, Winter RM, Innes AM, Voit T, Grant PE, Barkovich AJ, Walsh CA. Bilateral frontoparietal polymicrogyria: clinical and radiological features in 10 families with linkage to chromosome 16. Ann Neurol. 2003 May; 53(5):596-606. PMID: 12730993.
      View in: PubMed
    47. Piao X, Basel-Vanagaite L, Straussberg R, Grant PE, Pugh EW, Doheny K, Doan B, Hong SE, Shugart YY, Walsh CA. An autosomal recessive form of bilateral frontoparietal polymicrogyria maps to chromosome 16q12.2-21. Am J Hum Genet. 2002 Apr; 70(4):1028-33. PMID: 11845408.
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