Liang Liu, PhD

Assistant Professor
Chromatin and Epigenetic Gene Regulation

Biography

Dr. Liu received a B.A. in Animal Sciences and Nutrition from Yangzhou University and a Ph.D. in Developmental Biology and Genetics from Uppsala University. He undertook his postdoctoral training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Aging and Cancer Biology, and then in Cutaneous Biology at Columbia University, where he was promoted to tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology. He joined The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota as Assistant Professor in 2019. Dr. Liu’s research interests revolve around the interplay between genetic and epigenetic factors in regulating normal development and cancer pathogenesis. Both his graduate work and subsequent postdoctoral research focused on studying the basic biology and function of chromatin, which carries not only genetic information encoded by DNA sequences but also epigenetic information borne by DNA methylation and histone post-translational modifications. Current studies in his lab focus on elucidating the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying UV-induced skin carcinogenesis and identifying actionable targets for skin cancer prevention and treatment.

Education

2003 – 2007
Post-doc
Biology of Cancer and Aging, Department of Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
2002
Ph.D.
Developmental Biology and Genetics, Uppsala University, Sweden
1995
B.S.
Animal Sciences and Nutrition, Yangzhou University, China

Current & Past Appointments

  • 2019 — Assistant Professor, The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota
  • 2015 – 2018 Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, Columbia University
    Member, the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • 2010 – 2014 Associate Research Scientist, Department of Dermatology, Columbia University
  • 2007 – 2010 Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, UAB
    Associate Member, UAB Diabetes Research and Training Center

Awards & Honors

  • 2019 – 2020 Research award, The Prevent Cancer Foundation
  • 2014 – 2016 Career Development award, The NIEHS Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan
  • 2014 – 2019 Research Scientist Career Development K01 award, NIH/NIAMS
  • 2014 Albert M. Kligman Travel Fellowship to the Society for Investigative Dermatology annual meeting
  • 2013 Research Scholar award, American Skin Association
  • 2013 Research award, Dermatology Foundation
  • 2006 Travel award to the 14th Annual Summer Training in Experimental Aging Research, National Institute on Aging
  • 2005 – 2007 Research Fellowship award, American Institute for Cancer Research
  • 2005 Outstanding Visiting Scholar award, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Positions Available

Our laboratory pursues both basic and translational cancer research using a combination of cell-based studies, mouse models, clinical tumor specimens, functional genomics and bioinformatics analysis. We welcome highly motivated candidates with background in cancer biology, immunology, chromatin biology & epigenetics, cell biology, molecular biology or relevant fields to join us. If interested, please email your CV and statement of research interests to Liu00965@umn.edu.

Selected Publications (*corresponding author)

1. Yao, S., Chan, G., Xie, M., Zeng, W., and Liu, L.* (2018) Identification of master regulator genes of UV response and their implications for skin carcinogenesis. Carcinogenesis, in press.
2. Lopez, A.T., Liu, L.*, and Geskin, L. (2018) Molecular mechanisms and biomarkers of skin photocarcinogenesis. Invited book chapter for “Human Skin Cancers, Potential Biomarkers and Therapeutic Targets”, Blumenberg M. (ed), InTechOpen Press (ISBN 978-953-51-5584-3)
3. Shen, Y., Stanislauskas, M., Li, G., Zheng, D., and Liu, L.* (2017) Epigenetic and genetic dissections of UV-induced global gene dysregulation in skin cells through multi-omics analyses. Scientific Reports 7, 42646.
4. Yao, S., Kim, A., Du, R., and Liu, L.* (2016) Identification of transcriptomic signature genes of ultraviolet radiation in human skin cells. PLOS ONE 11(9):e0163054.
5. Sun, X., Kim, A., Nakatani, M., Yao, S., and Liu, L.* (2016) Distinctive molecular responses to ultraviolet radiation between keratinocytes and melanocytes. Experimental Dermatology 25, 708-713.
6. Liu, L., Kim, H., Casta, A., Kobayashi, Y., Sharpiro, L.S., and Christiano, A.M. (2014) Hairless is a H3K9 histone demethylase. The FASEB J, 28, 1534-42.
7. Liu, L., Rezvani, H., Back, H., Hosseini, M., Tang, X., Zhu, Y., Mahfouf, M., Raad, H., Athar, M., Kim, A.L. and Bickers, D.R. (2014). Diminished p38α MAPK augments skin tumorigenesis via NOX2 driven ROS generation. PLoS ONE, 9(5):e97245.
8. *Liu, L., van Groen, T., Kadish, I., Li, Y.Y., Karpf, A., Wang, D., and Tollefsbol, T.O. (2011) Impacts of Dnmt1 haploinsufficiency on healthy aging and cognition loss. Clinical Epigenetics 2, 349-360.

Contact Information

Primary Research Areas

  • Epigenetic mechanisms in development and cancer pathogenesis.
  • Role of hairless in epidermal homeostasis and skin carcinogenesis
  • New molecular targets for cancer prevention and treatment

Memberships

2010 — Society of Investigative Dermatology
2012 — New York Academy of Sciences