Bin Liu, PhD, Publishes Three Articles in Prestigious Journal

AUSTIN, Minn. – The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota’s, Bin Liu, PhD, has recently published three articles in Trends in Biochemical Sciences, a high-impact and prestigious journal from Cell Press. The publications include an invited review, an invited technology of the month paper, and an invited narrative.

“Since these are invited reviews and articles, they recognize my team’s achievements in our field of study and the importance of our opinions as scientists and experts,” said Dr. Liu. “Also, it means that our knowledge and experience could be potentially used by others to improve their data representation and engage in science popularization.”

The first review, “Roles of zinc-binding domain of bacterial RNA polymerase in transcription,” describes how The Hormel Institute’s state of the art Cryo-EM technology is used to better understand the structural mechanisms of a cell. Cryo-EM technology allows scientists to see the structure of some of the smallest parts of our bodies – down to the near-atomic level.

“Cryo-EM is one of the main tools that helps to translate proteins into highly specific structural data. Images collected from a protein sample are processed by the Cryo-EM software and used to generate high resolution 3D structures that bring an understanding of the molecular mechanisms happening within the cell, with the goal of developing new treatments for cancer and other diseases,” said Dr. Liu.

The other two articles, “How to compile different types of structural visualizations in one panel” and “Developing protein structure figures” highlight Dr. Liu’s enthusiasm and expertise in structural biology research and studying transcription machinery. These articles describe the tremendous effort and challenges that are faced in creating effective and clear illustrations of protein structures, while noting the beauty of and applications for this information in central biological inquiries. Dr. Liu’s co-authors on these articles include Fan Bu, PhD, and Dmytro Kompaniiets, PhD, from The Hormel Institute.

The articles are available here:



The Hormel Institute is an independent biomedical research department within the University of Minnesota’s Office of the Vice President for Research. Collaborative research partners include Masonic Cancer Center UMN (a Comprehensive Cancer Center as designated by the National Cancer Institute, NIH), Mayo Clinic, and many other leading research centers worldwide. The Hormel Institute, which tripled in size in 2008 and doubled again in size in 2016, is home to some of the world’s most cutting-edge research technologies and expert scientists. Over the next few years, The Hormel Institute will broaden its impact through innovative, world class research in its quest to improve human health.