Dr. Yuan Liu is a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Liu completed her undergraduate training at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China) in 2007 and her PhD training at Nagoya University (Japan) in 2010. She was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the California Institute of Technology and the University of Pittsburgh in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
Dr. Liu is on the Editorial Board as a Reviewer for Austin Journal of Vascular Medicine. She is also an ad-hoc reviewer for these publications: The Journal of Clinical Investigation,The Journal of Biological Chemistry, The American Journal of Pathology, The Journal of Allergy & Therapy, The Journal of Anesthesia & Clinical Research, and American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.
Dr. Liu’s research interest is in the study of molecular mechanism of control inflammation via protein ubiquitination. Specifically, she has successfully identified several novel ubiquitin E3 ligase subunits involved in cell proliferation and mitochondria biogenesis. Dr. Liu was the first to characterize an E3 ubiquitin ligase subunit, FBXL18, which targets FBXL7 (F-box protein, Ubiquitin E3 ligase component), via an FQ motif for polyubiquitination and degradation, which plays a vital role in regulating cell proliferation. In the study, Dr. Liu further identified that Fbxl7 targeted anti-apoptotic protein survivin for ubiquitin-dependent proteasomal degradation, which provided an important therapeutic target to manipulate mitochondrial function for cancer treatment.
Dr. Liu’s recent work mainly focuses on the study of mitochondria dysfunction in acute lung injury. For example, in pseudomonas-induced lung inflammation model, she found that induced E3 ligase subunit FBXO7 overexpression aggravated mitochondria damage and stimulated the pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1b, IL-6 and TNFa) release. Through high-throughput screening, she identified a small molecule inhibitor BC1464 targeting Fbxo7, protected its downstream substrates from ubiquitin-proteasome mediated degradation, which largely alleviated the inflammatory lung injuries in the mice acute lung injury model. BC1464 also displayed mitochondria protective and anti-inflammatory activities in human lung slices. Her long-term goal is to develop a new class of therapeutics to combat inflammatory diseases focusing on protecting mitochondrial function.
View a list of Dr. Liu’s publications here.