Fanxin Long, PhD
Fanxin Long, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of medicine and developmental biology known for his significant contributions to the understanding of bone formation and regeneration. The goal of his research is to discover novel therapeutic strategies to treat osteoporosis, which affects millions of Americans.
Long began his higher education at Beijing University, earning a bachelor’s degree in cell biology 1988. He then went on to graduate training in the United States, earning a masters in molecular biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1992 and his doctoral degree in developmental biology from Boston’s Tufts University in 1997. After postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University, Long joined the Washington University faculty as an assistant professor in 2002.
At Harvard, Long’s research explained the critical roles of the proteins CREB (cAMP-response-element binding protein) and Ihh (Indian hedgehog) in skeletal development. At Washington University, Long has provided important contributions to understanding the mechanisms that control bone formation and regeneration. In particular, his work has established a framework for understanding how various proteins called Hh, Wnt and Notch sequentially regulate the intricate and progressive process of forming osteoblasts — cells responsible for creating bone tissue — to ensure proper numbers of mature osteoblasts as well as immature progenitors. His work has led to two Washington University patent applications, including one for using Notch inhibitors to treat osteoporosis.
Long’s scientific contributions are recognized nationally and internationally. He is regularly invited to speak or chair sessions at the annual meeting of the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research and is an invited speaker at several international conferences. He has been honored with the National Institutes of Health’s National Research Service Award and in 2003 was named the Washington University School of Medicine Interdisciplinary Women’s Health Research Scholar.