Xingbin Ai, Ph.D.

Faculty and Fellows

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Xingbin AiCollege Education : Fudan University, Shanghai, China. B.S., 1992
Graduate School/PhD Program: Case Western Reserve University. Ph.D., 1999
Post-Doctoral Fellowships/Other Training: Department of Cell & Developmental Biology, University of Pennsylvania

Special Interests:



The respiratory tract is known to be innervated by two groups of neurons. The intrinsic neurons have cell bodies located within the tissue, while the extrinsic neurons have their cell bodies located in the central and peripheral nervous system and their axons innervating airway smooth muscle and neuroendocrine cells. Ai lab investigates neurotrophic signals that regulate neurogenesis in developing lung and neuroplasticity in pulmonary diseases. Our goal is to understand physiological roles of neural innervation in respiratory function, diseases and regeneration.  This work is supported by American Asthma Foundation (


Airway smooth muscle hyperplasia and hyper-reactivity are key features of asthma. Ai lab, in collaboration with Dr. Alan Fine’s lab, investigates mechanisms underlying the formation of airway smooth muscle cells during development.  We are particularly interested in the sonic hedgehog pathway in control of the differentiation of airway smooth muscle progenitors in the mesenchyme and mesothelium.  This work is supported by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (

Ai lab also studies the remodeling of airway smooth muscle in allergic airway diseases, such as asthma. Ai lab, in collaboration with Alan Fine’s lab, develops a double transgenic mouse that allows separation of airway smooth muscle cells and vascular smooth muscle cells in the lung.  Using this mouse subjected to reagents that induce airway diseases, Ai lab characterizes global changes in gene expression in relevant smooth muscle compartments of the lung. Functions of disease-related candidate genes are being tested in collaboration with Dr. Alan Fine’s lab at BUSM and Dr. Ramaswamy Krishnan’s lab at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  This work is supported by American Asthma Foundation and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (


Environmental signals play crucial roles in self-renewal of stem cells, tissue regeneration and aging. Ai lab investigates heparan sulfate-dependent mechanisms that regulate extracellular signaling during stem cell maintenance and regeneration of the skeletal muscle. Our study is focused on two heparan sulfate-modifying enzymes called Sulfs.  This work is supported by National Institute of Aging (

Lab members:

Thanh Tran (post-doc)

Linh Aven (post-doc)

Yan Bei (medical fellow)

Jessie Sun (post-doc)

Bing Wang (post-doc)

Kruti Patel (pre-doc)

Juliana Barrios (pre-doc)

Fengzhi Shao (research assistant)


Selected Publications:

  1. Dixit R., Ai X., Fine A. (accepted) “Derivation of bronchial smooth muscle from the fetal mesothelium requires hedgehog signaling”. Development
  2. Paez-Cortez J., Krishnan R., Arno A., Aven L., Ram-Mohan S., Lu, J., King O.D., Ai X., Fine A. “Phenotypic characterization of bronchial smooth muscle cells in a mouse model of acute asthma”. Plos One 2013 8(9):e74469.
  3. Tran T.H., Shi X., Zaia J., Ai X. “Sulfs coordinate the Wnt signaling pathways to regulate myoblast fusion during skeletal muscle regeneration”. J. Biol. Chem. 287:32651-32664.
  4. Jiang Z., Yu N., Kuang P., Chen M., Shao, F., Martin G., Chui, D., Cardoso W.V., Ai X., Lu J. (2012) “GW182-mediated microRNA function is required for the development of yolk sac endoderm”. J. Biol. Chem. 287:5979-5987.
  5. Radzikinas K., Aven L., Jiang Z., Tran T., Paez-Cortez J., Boppidi K., Lu J., Fine A., Ai X. (2011) “A Shh/miR-206/BDNF cascade coordinates innervation and formation of airway smooth muscle”. J. Neurosci. 31: 15407-15415.
  6. Ghosh S., Paez-Cortez J.R., Boppidi K., Vasconcelos M., Roy M., Cardoso W., Ai X., Fine A. (2011) “Activation dynamics and signaling properties of Notch3 in the developing pulmonary artery. J. Biol. Chem. 286: 22678-22687.
  7. Schumacher V., Schloetzer-Schrehardt U., Karumanchi S., Shi X., Zaia J., Jeruschke S., Zhang D., Pavenstaedt H., Drenckhan A., Amann K., Ng C., Hartwig S., Ng K., Ho, J., Kreidberg J., Taglienti M., Royer-Pokora B., Ai X. (2011) “WT1 regulation of Sulf expression is crucial to maintaining the glomerular filtration barrier” J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 22:1286-1296.
  8. Langsdorf A., Schumacher V., Shi X., Tran T., Zaia J., Jain S., Taglienti M., Kreidberg J., Fine A., Ai X. (2011) “Expression regulation and function of Sulfs in the spermatogonial stem cell niche” Glycobiology. 21:152-161.
  9. Langsdorf A., Radzikinas K., Kroten A., Jain S., Ai X. (2011) “Neural crest cell origin and signals for intrinsic neurogenesis in the mammalian respiratory tract” Am. J. Respir. Cell Mol. Biol. 44:293-301.