Piao Lab

Cortical Development

CNS Myelination


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Research Overview

During development, cells and molecules of the central nervous system (CNS) execute an astonishingly intricate function to culminate in the precise localization of neurons wired in a functional networked circuitry. In my lab, we seek to understand aspects of this process, particularly those which persist into adulthood and may at times be co-opted into disease processes.

In particular, my lab studies adhesion G protein-coupled receptors (aGPCRs) and their extracellular matrix (ECM) partners. Our goal is to decode how cell-cell and cell-ECM interactions contribute both to development and disease. The aGPCRs are remarkably well-suited to this research strategy: individual members interact with multiple binding partners and are indispensable for formation of the blood-brain barrier (BBB); the myelin of peripheral nerves; and for synaptic refinement in the postnatal cortex.

For more details, see research page.


Currently we are seeking motivated postdocs and graduate students. Individuals with a strong background in biochemistry, molecular biology, and neuroscience are especially welcome. Successful candidates will apply their knowledge in biochemistry, histology, and mouse brain development to investigate how adhesion GPCRs and their binding partners regulate glial cell function in synaptic formation and related diseases. An outstanding salary and benefits package is included; salary will be commensurate with experience.

Interested applicants should send a brief description of their research interests and a curriculum vitae that includes contact information for three references to: Dr. Xianhua Piao at xianhua.piao@childrens.harvard.edu