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In Memoriam

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It is with a heavy heart that Springer Nature and Molecular Neurodegeneration say farewell to our long-serving co-Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Huaxi Xu. On October 14, 2022, Dr. Xu passed away after his brave battle against cancer, leaving behind a legacy of groundbreaking research in neurodegenerative disease, exemplary editorship, and undeniable leadership.

In the seventeen years of publication, Dr. Xu and Dr. Bu have raised Molecular Neurodegeneration to be a leading open-access neuroscience journal. This page is in commemoration of Dr. Xu’s work, life, and legacy. We invite friends, family, editors, authors, and reviewers alike to leave any notes or pictures. Please email Molecular Neurodegeneration’s Associate Publisher, Anastasiya Netrunenko ( with your messages for and pictures with Huaxi. 

From MN editorial team (Guojun Bu/Henrietta Nielsen/Hui (Iris) Zhang/Hongmei Li/Lucy Job)

At the age of 58, our be-loved co-Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Huaxi Xu, had left us too early too soon! While we are still grieving for losing such a dear colleague, a reliable friend, in the meantime, we want to celebrate his life achievements, honor the inspirations he had helped to generate, remember the heart-warming friendship, and share the heartfelt laughters and sweet memories he had brought to our lives.  He's aspirations and contributions to build MN as the top-quality journal for the field will be forever engraved into the history of this journal.

From Raymond Xu (Huaxi’s elder son)

I am so proud of my dad. He fought courageously in his battle with cancer until the very end, which for anyone who knew him was not a surprise.

He immigrated to America over 30 years ago to pursue a higher education and to embrace the country’s academic opportunity. My fondest and earliest memories of my father were of weekends spent in the laboratory at Rockefeller University, where he would show me colorful histology slides and how to handle mice. Soon after the experiments were finished, we would rush over to Madison Square Garden to catch the evening Knicks game. On the subway ride, I would ask why he worked so hard so as to spend his Saturdays in a lab coat. “Because son, knowledge is power,” pointing to his Francis Bacon t-shirt. While I did not understand the gravity behind those words at seven years old, seeing his dedication to science made a lasting impression.

Being alongside my father in his final weeks, I saw how loved he was by his family and friends. It was clear he was not only a great scientist, but also a great friend. To me, he was great father. He showed me the meaning of hard work, while still making time to enjoy a basketball game.

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This photo is of me and my father at the dining room table of our 63rd street apartment overlooking the East River, circa 2002.

From Guojun Bu

Huaxi was my best friend and will be forever! He valued friendship as much as science, which is why he had impacted so many. His desire to always achieve more was reflected on the continued growth and high impact of Molecular Neurodegeneration journal we co-founded. Such desire was the driver of all his achievements as well as those he mentored or helped. We should remember Huaxi as a highly accomplished scientist and more as a nuclear force of togetherness. We cannot rest until we achieve his goal of finding cure for all neurodegenerative diseases. Rest in peace my brother!

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Above: Dr. Bu (on the left) & Dr. Xu (right) in front of St. Louis Art Museum in 2005.

From Danielle Feathers

Huaxi exemplified hard work, dedication and the utmost devotion and affection for his family.  He will be missed for his unobstructed honesty.  He enjoyed life to its fullest.  He will be missed not only for the great scientist that he was, but also a genuine friend to all that met him.

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From left to right: Huaxi Xu, Yiyu Zhang (Huaxi’s wife), Danielle Feathers, Guojun Bu.  The reception dinner during International Conference of Molecular Neurodegeneration (ICMN) 2018 at the City Hall of Stockholm, Sweden.

From Hui Zheng

As a friend of 25 years, Huaxi left me with many fond memories. He was charismatic and he could light up a room instantly; He was warm and he could make friends effortlessly; He was smart and he could strike up a conversation on any topic; He could be judgmental but he did not have an ounce of bad intention. He could be in your face but he would go all the way to help when needed. That’s why Huaxi had many friends and a few “brothers”. But there was only one “auntie”, as Huaxi fondly called me. Huaxi: you were the nephew I never had and you will always have a special place in my heart.

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The photo above was taken at Peking University (PKU) Medical Center in June of 2000.  During our visiting to PKU, we met with Prof. Jian Tang (汤健), Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology, Founding Director of PKU Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences. From left to right: Dr. Hui Zheng, Dr. Huaxi Xu, Prof. Jian Tang, and Dr. Rong Wang. Special thanks to Dr. Rong Wang for contributing the above photo.

From Rong Wang 

The photo above shows our friendship in the early years. During that time, Huaxi and I were both at the starting stages in our careers – we learned from each other and helped each other grow. We were so passionate about AD research!  Dr. Dai Zhang established an AD research lab in PKU, and we were so excited that we helped as much as we could, including taking that trip to Beijing. Huaxi, Hui, and I gave lectures, and shared our research with Dr. Dai and colleagues in PKU. In the past twenty some years, this collaborative relationship grew among our AD community and in the wider neurodegenerative disease research field.  

From X. William Yang

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This photo was taken by Dr. Hui Zheng at Locust Point Steamers Restaurant in Baltimore, MD on June 7, 2016. After the CMND study section, Huaxi, Hui and I went to this famed South Baltimore crab house for a relaxing, gastronomical and somewhat messy lunch before heading home. I shared taxi rides with Huaxi during the many years we served on the CDIN and CMND study sections together.  During these study sections, I learned about Huaxi’s scientific acumen and persuasion in grant reviews, his passion to support and advance AD research, and also his love of life and care for the fellow scientists. I remember once he took members of the study section to the Marriott Lounge for wine, which was a pleasant surprise to us (and gave a few of us the idea to become a Marriott Gold member as well). In another dinner at study section, Huaxi took me to the side room to say hi to his daughter, who was studying at a university nearby. I could see from Huaxi’s beaming eyes that he was such a proud father.  This photo can bring back so many memories about Huaxi as a fantastic scientist, a caring and endearing friend, and a loving father.

From Henrietta Nielsen

We were thinking of Huaxi on the evening of October 15, 2022, and lit a candle for him at our nearby cemetery (Swedish tradition). Sending love from my family in Sweden to all the hearts that broke with Huaxi's passing. I will always remember Huaxi’s big smile.

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From Hongmei Li

I stubbornly resisted the thought that Huaxi was terminally ill at the time, and still have a hard time to believe that he had really left us. I'm the type of person who choose to believe that he is still with us in spirit.

From Luciano D'Adamio

I first met Huaxi Xu about 20 years ago when he was visiting his thesis advisor Dennis Shields at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where I was working at that time. We quickly became friends (it was easy to be Huaxi’s friend!!). He found my name too complicated and decided to call me Luciiii; I can still hear the sound of his voice calling me and I can still see the smile on his face and his piercing eyes. I had no idea he was sick and when I heard the sad news I was stunned. Is this real? 

Huaxi was a great scientist, and a fearless and tireless entrepreneur. But he was much more than that. An eternal optimist, a kind and altruistic person, and a great friend. Many of us, will terribly miss him.