Xiao-Yan Wen


Director, Zebrafish Centre for Advanced Drug Discovery


Dr. Xiao-Yan Wen’s research focuses on incorporation of zebrafish model system and advanced high throughput screening technologies for drug discovery. He recently established the Zebrafish Centre for Advanced Drug Discovery (ZCADD) at St. Michael’s Hospital. With a large infrastructure funding from Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), ZCADD houses Canada’s first fully automated zebrafish high- throughput screening platform for zebrafish. In partnership with many academic labs and industrial partners, the Centre has launched over 10 zebrafish-based drug development projects targeting many neurological, cardiovascular, inflammatory diseases, diabetes and cancer.

Dr. Wen received his MD at Jiangxi Medical University in China and PhD at the University of Toronto. He is currently a Staff Scientist in the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine & Physiology at the University of Toronto. He is the founding director of the Zebrafish Centre for Advanced Drug Discovery and the Director for the St. Micahel’s Hospital Zebrafish Core Facility. He is also an Associate Member of the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto and is directing the graduate course module “Animal Models of Human Diseases”.

Dr. Wen organizes the bi-annual (2013, 2015, 2017) Zebrafish for Personalized/Precision Medicine Conference, in addition to other past events such as the 2011 Zebrafish Functional Genomics Workshop, and 2012 Zebrafish Chemical Biology & Pharmacogenomics Workshop.

Click Here to learn more about the Wen Lab.

Please note: Dr. Wen is not taking any summer students in 2018.

Recent Publications

  1. Ashikov, A, Abu Bakar, N, Wen, XY, Niemeijer, M, Rodrigues Pinto Osorio, G, Brand-Arzamendi, K et al.. Integrating glycomics and genomics uncovers SLC10A7 as essential factor for bone mineralization by regulating post-Golgi protein transport and glycosylation. Hum. Mol. Genet. 2018; :. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddy213. PubMed PMID:29878199 .
  2. Shi, X, Chen, R, Zhang, Y, Yun, J, Brand-Arzamendi, K, Liu, X et al.. Zebrafish heart failure models: opportunities and challenges. Amino Acids. 2018;50 (7):787-798. doi: 10.1007/s00726-018-2578-7. PubMed PMID:29725858 .
  3. Yan, MS, Turgeon, PJ, Man, HJ, Dubinsky, MK, Ho, JJD, El-Rass, S et al.. Histone acetyltransferase 7 (KAT7)-dependent intragenic histone acetylation regulates endothelial cell gene regulation. J. Biol. Chem. 2018;293 (12):4381-4402. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA117.001383. PubMed PMID:29414790 PubMed Central PMC5868248.
  4. Patten, SA, Aggad, D, Martinez, J, Tremblay, E, Petrillo, J, Armstrong, GA et al.. Neuroleptics as therapeutic compounds stabilizing neuromuscular transmission in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. JCI Insight. 2017;2 (22):. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.97152. PubMed PMID:29202456 PubMed Central PMC5752378.
  5. Zabinyakov, N, Bullivant, G, Cao, F, Fernandez Ojeda, M, Jia, ZP, Wen, XY et al.. Characterization of the first knock-out aldh7a1 zebrafish model for pyridoxine-dependent epilepsy using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. PLoS ONE. 2017;12 (10):e0186645. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186645. PubMed PMID:29053735 PubMed Central PMC5650160.
  6. Yougbaré, I, Tai, WS, Zdravic, D, Oswald, BE, Lang, S, Zhu, G et al.. Activated NK cells cause placental dysfunction and miscarriages in fetal alloimmune thrombocytopenia. Nat Commun. 2017;8 (1):224. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00269-1. PubMed PMID:28794456 PubMed Central PMC5550461.
  7. Philip, AM, Wang, Y, Mauro, A, El-Rass, S, Marshall, JC, Lee, WL et al.. Development of a zebrafish sepsis model for high-throughput drug discovery. Mol. Med. 2017;23 :. doi: 10.2119/molmed.2016.00188. PubMed PMID:28598490 PubMed Central PMC5522968.
  8. Shi, X, Verma, S, Yun, J, Brand-Arzamendi, K, Singh, KK, Liu, X et al.. Effect of empagliflozin on cardiac biomarkers in a zebrafish model of heart failure: clues to the EMPA-REG OUTCOME trial?. Mol. Cell. Biochem. 2017;433 (1-2):97-102. doi: 10.1007/s11010-017-3018-9. PubMed PMID:28391552 .
  9. El-Rass, S, Eisa-Beygi, S, Khong, E, Brand-Arzamendi, K, Mauro, A, Zhang, H et al.. Disruption of pdgfra alters endocardial and myocardial fusion during zebrafish cardiac assembly. Biol Open. 2017;6 (3):348-357. doi: 10.1242/bio.021212. PubMed PMID:28167492 PubMed Central PMC5374395.
  10. McCutcheon, V, Park, E, Liu, E, Sobhebidari, P, Tavakkoli, J, Wen, XY et al.. A Novel Model of Traumatic Brain Injury in Adult Zebrafish Demonstrates Response to Injury and Treatment Comparable with Mammalian Models. J. Neurotrauma. 2017;34 (7):1382-1393. doi: 10.1089/neu.2016.4497. PubMed PMID:27650063 .
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Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Scientist, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Scientist, Medicine/Hematology, Princess Margaret Hospital