WEDNESDAY - APRIL 4                             


Plenary 5 (PL5)

2:00 pm to 4:10 pm

Neural Correlates of Consciousness: Where, When and How?     

George Mashour, University of Michigan

Yan Xu, University of Pittsburgh

Marine Vernet, NIH


Yan Xu, PhD

  • Peter Winter Professor of Anesthesiology

  • Professor of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology, Physics & Astronomy,

              and Structural Biology

  • Vice Chair for Basic Research, Department of Anesthesiology



Education & Training

University of Science and Technology of China, BS, Physics

  • University of Science and Technology of China, MS, Physical Chemistry
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook, PhD, Physical Chemistry
  • University of California, San Francisco, Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Anesthesiology


Representative Publications

Dr. Xu's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.


Research, clinical, and/or academic interests

Gene and stem cell therapy of global cerebral ischemia after cardiac arrest
Neurogenesis and angiogenesis in adult brain
Molecular and cellular basis of consciousness (approaching from unconsciousness to consciousness) 
Structural biology of membrane proteins
Large scale computer simulation and protein structural prediction



Dr. Yan Xu is the Peter M. Winter Chair Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, with secondary appointments as a Professor of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology, Structural Biology, and Physics & Astronomy (School of Arts & Sciences). He serves as the Program Director of Research Training in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine and the Vice Chair for Basic Sciences in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests are in the studies of mechanisms of general anesthesia and design of molecular switches to alter sensory processing, including pain perception. He and his longtime collaborator, Professor Pei Tang, have developed a protein global dynamics theory of general anesthesia, and later demonstrated that despite the complexity of mammalian brain activities, a single parameter is sufficient to account for all salient features in the changes in human electroencephalography under general anesthesia. The NIH has continuously funded his research for over two decades, including a NIGMS MERIT award. He is an elected member of the Association of University Anesthesiologists and the Academy of Research Mentors in Anesthesiology, a member of Faculty of 1000 and multiple professional societies, and a Fellow of the International Chinese Academy of Anesthesiology. He served three years on the editorial-style panels in the final phase of selection for the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award Program.