Allison Xu, PhD

Mouse Metabolism Core Director
Diabetes Center
+1 415 476-2807

Research in Allison Xu’s laboratory focuses on understanding the adaptive regulation of energy balance and glucose homeostasis in response to changes of physiologic and environmental conditions. Specifically, Allison’s lab is investigating how hypothalamic and hindbrain neurons sense and integrate peripheral hormones and nutritional signals, and how these neurons regulate feeding, energy expenditure, systemic glucose and lipid metabolism. These efforts will help better understand how energy balance and glucose homeostasis are regulated and how these regulations are disrupted in obesity, type 2 diabetes and aging.


Identification of AgRP cells in the murine hindbrain that drive feeding.

Molecular metabolism

Bachor TP, Hwang E, Yulyaningsih E, Attal K, Mifsud F, Pham V, Vagena E, Huarcaya R, Valdearcos M, Vaisse C, Williams KW, Emmerson PJ, Xu AW

Modulation of foraging-like behaviors by cholesterol-FGF19 axis.

Cell & bioscience

Huang A, Maier MT, Vagena E, Xu AW

ASB4 modulates central melanocortinergic neurons and calcitonin signaling to control satiety and glucose homeostasis.

Science signaling

Vagena E, Crneta J, Engström P, He L, Yulyaningsih E, Korpel NL, Cheang RT, Bachor TP, Huang A, Michel G, Attal K, Berrios DI, Valdearcos M, Koliwad SK, Olson DP, Yi CX, Xu AW

A gene-diet interaction controlling relative intake of dietary carbohydrates and fats.

Molecular metabolism

Nelson NG, Wu L, Maier MT, Lam D, Cheang R, Alba D, Huang A, Neumann DA, Hill T, Vagena E, Barsh GS, Medina MW, Krauss RM, Koliwad SK, Xu AW

Neuronal modulation of hepatic lipid accumulation induced by bingelike drinking.

American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism

Ibars M, Maier MT, Yulyaningsih E, Perez L, Cheang R, Vilhelmsson A, Louie SM, Wegner SA, Yuan X, Eltzschig HK, Hopf FW, Nomura DK, Koliwad SK, Xu AW

Regulation of Hepatic Lipid Accumulation and Distribution by Agouti-Related Protein in Male Mice.


Maier MT, Vilhelmsson A, Louie SM, Vagena E, Nomura DK, Koliwad SK, Xu AW

Hypothalamic Sensing of Bile Acids, a Gut Feeling.

Trends in endocrinology and metabolism: TEM


Acute Lesioning and Rapid Repair of Hypothalamic Neurons outside the Blood-Brain Barrier.

Cell reports

Yulyaningsih E, Rudenko IA, Valdearcos M, Dahlén E, Vagena E, Chan A, Alvarez-Buylla A, Vaisse C, Koliwad SK, Xu AW

Leptin potentiates astrogenesis in the developing hypothalamus.

Molecular metabolism

Rottkamp DM, Rudenko IA, Maier MT, Roshanbin S, Yulyaningsih E, Perez L, Valdearcos M, Chua S, Koliwad SK, Xu AW

Modulation of AgRP-neuronal function by SOCS3 as an initiating event in diet-induced hypothalamic leptin resistance.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Olofsson LE, Unger EK, Cheung CC, Xu AW

Metabolic transceivers: in tune with the central melanocortin system.

Trends in endocrinology and metabolism: TEM

Warne JP, Xu AW

AgRP innervation onto POMC neurons increases with age and is accelerated with chronic high-fat feeding in male mice.


Newton AJ, Hess S, Paeger L, Vogt MC, Fleming Lascano J, Nillni EA, Brüning JC, Kloppenburg P, Xu AW

De novo neurogenesis in adult hypothalamus as a compensatory mechanism to regulate energy balance.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Pierce AA, Xu AW

Functional role of c-Jun-N-terminal kinase in feeding regulation.


Unger EK, Piper ML, Olofsson LE, Xu AW

Functional requirement of AgRP and NPY neurons in ovarian cycle-dependent regulation of food intake.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Olofsson LE, Pierce AA, Xu AW

Research Area: 
Central Regulation