Dept. of Systems Biology and Bioinformatics is a part of the University of Rostock, Germany Universität Rostock

Dr. Xin Lai

Image: Dr. Xin Lai

Current Projects

Investigating the Cancer and Aging Link through Systems Biology (CALSYS)
Recent experimental evidences suggest that cancer progression and aging could be linked at the cellular level by the abnormal function of some signalling pathways, cellular systems in charge of identifying and processing the external signals received by the cell. Those mechanisms protect our cells against external or internal insults that damage their genetic material. Leaded by the protein p53, the so-called DNA damage master controller, these processes repair the inflicted DNA damage but also take additional measures to avoid these genetic errors to be transferred to new cells. Depending on the severity of the damage, p53 can trigger a transient/permanent stop of cell replication or the programmed cellular death (apoptosis) in a strategy to kill some damaged cells but save the whole organism. Imbalance between these processes is very often present in different phases of cancer progression, but also is one of the sources of aging in the organism.

Research Interest

Small microRNAs play big roles
"I am focusing on microRNAs research, where I am applying the systems biology approach to uncover its function in cellular signalling pathway."

My research focuses on building and analyzing mathematical models that describe problems in finding the links between cancer and aging. Areas of particular interest include signalling pathway related to cancer caused by the deregulation of p53 and the regulatory dynamics of miRNAs. The mathematical tools that I use include nonlinear dynamics, sensitivity and bifurcation analysis, optimization methods and multiscale-hybrid modeling.

Academic Background

2008 - 2012
Dr.-Ing. in Systems Biology and Bioinformatics
University of Rostock, Rostock/Germany
2005 - 2008
M.S. in Computational Engineering
University of Rostock, Rostock/Germany
2001 - 2005
B.S. in Computer Science
Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu/China


Lai X, Bhattacharya A, Schmitz U, Kunz M, Vera J, Wolkenhauer O
A systems biology approach to study microRNA-mediated gene regulatory networks (2013)

BioMed Research International, vol. 2013, doi:10.1155/2013/703849.

Vera J, Schmitz U, Lai X, Engelmann D, Khan FM, Wolkenhauer O, Pützer BM (2013)
Kinetic modeling-based detection of genetic signatures that provide chemoresistance via the E2F1-p73/DNp73-miR-205 network

Cancer Research, doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-4095

Lai X, Schmitz U, Gupta S, Bhattacharya A, Kunz M, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J (2012)
Computational analysis of target hub gene repression regulated by multiple and cooperative miRNAs

Nucleic Acids Research, 40: 8818-8834.

open access

Vera J, Nikolov S, Lai X, Singh A, Wolkenhauer O (2011)
Model-based investigation of the transcriptional activity of p53 and its feedback loop regulation via 14-3-3Σ

IET Systems Biology 5: 293-307

Lai X, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J
Modelling miRNA regulation in cancer signalling systems: miR-34a regulation of the p53/Sirt1 signalling module

in: Computational Modelling of Signalling Networks; Liu X, Betterton M (eds.); Humana 2012. ISBN: 9781617798230

Nikolov S, Lai X, Liebal UW, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J (2010)
Integration of sensitivity and bifurcation analysis to detect critical processes in a model combining signalling and cell population dynamics

International Journal of Systems Science 41: 81-105

Nikolov S, Lai X, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J (2009)
Time delay and protein modulation analysis in a model of RNA silencing

Communications of SIWN 6: 111-117
open access

additional files

Lai X, Nikolov S, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J (2009)
A multi-level model accounting for the effects of JAK2-STAT5 signal modulation in erythropoiesis

Computational Biology and Chemistry 4: 312-324


Contact Details

University Hosptital Erlangen
Ulmenweg 18
91054 Erlangen, Germany
Curriculum Vitae

Collaborators & Partners

University of Rostock
Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF)
Research Units for Systems Biology
Prof. Manfred Kunz
Comprehensive Centre for Inflammation Medicine
University of Lübeck
Prof. Dr. Svetoslav Nikolov
Institute of Mechanics and Biomechanics (BAS), Sofia/Bulgaria