Xiaoli Sun, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Personal Statement:

Our lab engages communities at Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine, the UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the UT Health San Antonio Transplant Center to study chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis, nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases, and liver cancer. South Texas experiences high rates due to the prevalence of obesity and dyslipidemia. We combine basic science with clinical knowledge to target these problems by understanding disease pathophysiology and identifying novel therapeutic targets, with the goal to find more effective disease therapies. We analyze human samples and employ genetically engineered mouse models to identify key players in diseases and understand disease initiation and progression. The combination of these systems with technologies including biochemistry, molecular biology, next-generation sequencing, single-cell technology, spatial transcriptomics, flow cytometry, proteomics and lipidomics is providing striking new insights into mechanisms at the molecular and cellular levels that are relevant to chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis, nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases, and liver cancer.


Postdoctoral Fellow - University of California, San Diego
M.D., Ph.D. - Peking University Health Science Center


Awards & Accomplishments

K99/R00 NIH Pathway to Independence Award

CPRIT Recruitment of First-Time Tenure-Track Faculty Award


1. Xu, S., Chaudhary, O., Rodriguez-Morales, P., Sun, X., Zappasodi, R., Xu, Z., Pinto, A., Williams, A., Chen, D., Low, J., Garskoglu, Y., Tang, W., Wang, H., Varanasi, S., McDonald, B., Tripple, V., Downes, M., Evans, R., Abumrad, N., Merghoub, T., Wolchok, J., Shokhirev, M., Ho, P., Witztum, J., Emu, B., Cui, G., Kaech, S. (2021) Oxidized Lipids and CD36-Mediated Lipid Peroxidation in CD8 T Cells Suppress Anti-Tumor Immune Responses. Immunity 54, 1-17

2.  Zhao, P.*#, Sun, X.*, Chaggan, C., Liao, Z., In Wong, K., He, F., Singh, S., Loomba, R., Karin, M., Witztum, J. L., and Saltiel, A. R#. (2020) An AMPK-caspase-6 axis controls liver damage in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Science 367, 652-660. (#co-corresponding authors; *co-first authors)


3.  Sun, X.#, Seidman, J. S., Zhao, P., Troutman, T. D., Spann, N. J., Que, X., Zhou, F., Liao, Z., Pasillas, M., Yang, X., Magida, J. A., Kisseleva, T., Brenner, D. A., Downes, M., Evans, R. M., Saltiel, A. R., Tsimikas, S., Glass, C. K., and Witztum, J. L#. (2020) Neutralization of Oxidized Phospholipids Ameliorates Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis. Cell Metab 31, 189-206 e188. (#co-corresponding authors)


4.  Seidman, J. S., Troutman, T. D., Sakai, M., Gola, A., Spann, N. J., Bennett, H., Bruni, C. M., Ouyang, Z., Li, R. Z., Sun, X., Vu, B. T., Pasillas, M. P., Ego, K. M., Gosselin, D., Link, V. M., Chong, L. W., Evans, R. M., Thompson, B. M., McDonald, J. G., Hosseini, M., Witztum, J. L., Germain, R. N., and Glass, C. K. (2020) Niche-Specific Reprogramming of Epigenetic Landscapes Drives Myeloid Cell Diversity in Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis. Immunity 52, 1057-1074 e1057


5.  Sun, X., Lv, H., Zhao, P., He, J., Cui, Q., Wei, M., Feng, S., and Zhu, Y. (2019) Commutative regulation between endothelial NO synthase and insulin receptor substrate 2 by microRNAs. J Mol Cell Biol 11, 509-520

6.  Zhao, P., Wong, K. I., Sun, X., Reilly, S. M., Uhm, M., Liao, Z., Skorobogatko, Y., and Saltiel, A. R. (2018) TBK1 at the Crossroads of Inflammation and Energy Homeostasis in Adipose Tissue. Cell 172, 731-743 e712


7.  Que, X., Hung, M. Y., Yeang, C., Gonen, A., Prohaska, T. A., Sun, X., Diehl, C., Maatta, A., Gaddis, D. E., Bowden, K., Pattison, J., MacDonald, J. G., Yla-Herttuala, S., Mellon, P. L., Hedrick, C. C., Ley, K., Miller, Y. I., Glass, C. K., Peterson, K. L., Binder, C. J., Tsimikas, S., and Witztum, J. L. (2018) Oxidized phospholipids are proinflammatory and proatherogenic in hypercholesterolaemic mice. Nature 558, 301-306


8. Shentu, T., He, M., Sun, X., Zhang, J., Zhang, F., Gongol, B., Marin, T., Zhang, J., Wen, L., Wang, Y., Geary, G., Zhu, Y., Johnson, D., Shyy, J. (2016) AMP-Activated Protein Kinase and Sirtuin 1 Coregulation of Cortactin Contributes to Endothelial Function. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 36(12):2358-2368

9.  Sun, X., Fu, Y., Gu, M., Zhang, L., Li, D., Li, H., Chien, S., Shyy, J. Y., and Zhu, Y. (2016) Activation of integrin alpha5 mediated by flow requires its translocation to membrane lipid rafts in vascular endothelial cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113, 769-774

10. Zhang, D., Sun, X., Liu, J., Xie, X., Cui, W., Zhu, Y. (2015) Homocysteine accelerates senescence of endothelial cells via DNA hypomethylation of human telomerase reverse transcriptase. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 35(1):71-8


11.  Gu, M. X.*, Fu, Y.*, Sun, X. L.*, Ding, Y. Z., Li, C. H., Pang, W., Pan, S., and Zhu, Y. (2012) Proteomic analysis of endothelial lipid rafts reveals a novel role of statins in antioxidation. J Proteome Res 11, 2365-2373. (*co-first authors)