Dr Sam Xu


Reader in Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism

Role at Hull York Medical School

Sam is a reader in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism. His research is in the molecular biology, ion channel and receptor pharmacology, disease mechanism and drug discovery, especially the TRP and store-operated channels in cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Sam is tutor for Hull York Medical School SSIP (Phase 1 and Phase 2) and teaching lead of the Centre.


Dr Shang-Zhong (Sam) Xu is a reader in the Centre for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research. He obtained his BM in clinical medicine from Shandong Medical University (1986), MSc in Pharmacology from Shanghai Medical University (1989, Shanghai) and MD in Cardiology (1996, Shanghai). He worked as a resident physician, specialist and then associate professor and consultant cardiologist (1989-1998). He was enthusiastic for medical research and investigated ATP-sensitive K channels in Leeds as a visiting scholar. He moved to Leeds for PhD study (PhD, 2001, Leeds) and postdoctoral research fellow (2001-2005). He studied TRP and store-operated channels in cardiovascular diseases, working in Prof. DJ Beech's laboratory (1998-2005). Sam joined the Postgraduate Medical Institute and Hull York Medical School as a Lecturer in 2005 and became Senior Lecturer, and then Reader in Hull York Medical School.


Dr SZ. Xu's laboratory is focused on novel calcium channels and their functions in human diseases, especially calcium-permeable ion channels in the development of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. For example, the TRPC channels and store-operated channels ORAI/STIM. Using patch clamp and cell models overexpressing individual channel genes, the group has interest in searching new drugs and their molecular targets, which is aimed to translate the research to new therapeutics. The ongoing projects include Ca2+signalling and oxidative stress; molecular aspect of cardiovascular risk factors; development of new channel blockers; and cell signalling in proliferation and apoptosis. 

Techniques used in the lab

Molecular technologies including gene cloning, transfection, RT-PCR, real-time PCR, ELISA, Western blotting, siRNA techniques, site-mutagenesis, cell proliferation, migration and apoptosis, immunocytochemistry, immunoprecipitation, flowcytometry; Electrophysiological skills inlcude whole-cell patch and excised membrane patch, single channel recordings; Calcium imaging and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET); and biotechnology including antibody design, generation, conjugation and purification and protein engineering.


SSIP (Phase 1 & Phase 2)

Teaching Lead (CAM)

SSIP Lead (Phase 1, CAM)


Full Publication List:


Selected publications

Li P, Rubaiy HN, Chen GL, Hallett T, Zaibi N, Zeng B, Saurabh R, Xu SZ. Mibefradil, a T-type Ca2+ channel blocker also blocks Orai channels by action at the extracellular surface. Br J Pharmacol. 2019 Jul 4. doi: 10.1111/bph.14788

Farmer LK, Rollason R, Whitcomb DJ, Ni L, Goodliff A, Lay AC, Birnbaumer L, Heesom KJ, Xu SZ, Saleem MA, Welsh GI. TRPC6 Binds to and Activates Calpain, Independent of Its Channel Activity, and Regulates Podocyte Cytoskeleton, Cell Adhesion, and Motility. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 2019 DOI: 10.1681/ASN.2018070729.

Zeng, B. Chen, G.L., Garcia-Vaz, E., Bhandari, S., Daskoulidou,N., Berglund, L.M., Jiang, H., Hallett, T., Zhou, L.P., Huang, L., Xu, Z.H., Nair, V., Nelson, R.G., Ju, W., Kretzler, M., Atkin, S.L., Gomez, M.F., Xu, S.Z. ORAI channels are critical for receptor-mediated endocytosis of albumin. Nature Communications 2017; 8: 1920

Daskoulidou, N., Zeng, B., Berglund, L.M., Jiang, H., Chen, G.L., Kotova, O., Bhandari, S., Ayoola, J., Griffin, S., Atkin, S.L., Gomez, M.F., Xu, S.Z. High Glucose Enhances Store-Operated Calcium Entry by Upregulating ORAI/STIM via Calcineurin-NFAT Signalling. J Mol Med 2015; 93(5): 511-521.

Zeng, B, Chen, GL, Daskoulidou, N, Xu, SZ. The ryanodine receptor agonist 4-chloro-3-ethylphenol blocks ORAI store-operated channels. Br J Pharmacol 2014; 171: 1250-1259.

Xu, S.Z., Sukumar, P., Zeng, F., Li, J., Jairaman, A., English, A., Naylor, J., Ciurtin, C., Majeed, Y., Milligan, C.J., Bahnasi, Y.M., Al-Shawaf, E., Porter,K.E., Jiang, L.H., Emery, P., Sivaprasadarao, A. & Beech, D.J. 2008. TRPC channel activation by extracellular thioredoxin. Nature, 451, 69-72.

Xu, S. Z., Zeng, F., Lei, M., Li, J., Gao, B., Xiong, C., Sivaprasadarao, A., & Beech, D. J. 2005. Generation of functional ion-channel tools by E3 targeting. Nature Biotechnology, 23(10): 1289-1293.

Xu, S. Z., Muraki, K., Zeng, F., Li, J., Sukumar, P., Shah, S., Dedman, A. M., Flemming, P. K., Naylor, J., Cheong, A., Bateson, A. N., Porter, K. E., Munsch, C. M., & Beech, D. J. 2006. A sphingosine-1-phosphate activated calcium channel controlling vascular smooth muscle cell motility.Circulation Research, 98:1381-9. (see Editorials in Circulation Research 2006;98;1347-1348

Kumar, B.*, Dreja, K.*, Shah, S.*, Cheong, A.*, Xu, S. Z.*, Sukumar, P., Forte, A., Cipollaro, M., McHugh, D., Munsch, C. M., Porter, K. E., Kingston, P. A., Heagerty, A. M., Bergdahl, A., Hultgardh-Nilsson, A., Gomez, M. F., Hellstrand, P., & Beech, D. J. 2005. Up-regulated TRPC1 channel in vascular injury in vivo and its role in human neointimal hyperplasia. Circulation Research, 98(4): 557-63.

Xu, S. Z., & Beech, D. J. 2001. TrpC1 is a membrane-spanning subunit of store-operated Ca2+ channels in native vascular smooth muscle cells.Circulation Research, 88(1): 84-87.

  • Lund University
  • University of Bristol
  • Southwest Medical University
Postgraduate research supervision

Dr Xu is a supervisor for PhD, MD and MSc degree. Please contact Dr Xu for potential research projects on diabetes and translational medical research for your degree study in the group.

External roles

Academic editor of PLOS One