Department of Medicine

Department of Medicine

  Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine

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photo Yuan Liu, PhD

Research Assistant Professor of Medicine


Phone: 412-624-8669

Office: Starzl Biomedical Science Tower, W1200
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Phone: 412-624-8669
Fax: 412-383-7113
Administrative Assistant:
Roe Catley
Phone: 412-624-8669
Fax: 412-383-7113
Education and Training
MS, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 2007
PhD, Nagoya University, 2010
Post-doctoral Scholar, California Institute of Technology, 2013
Post-doctoral Scholar, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2014
Research Interest
The ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) is a complex, hierarchical, and regulated cellular system that dominates selective protein degradation to modulate the abundance and activity of proteins in the cell. The majority of proteins are controlled by the UPS through the ATP-dependent enzymatic cascade, including the ubiquitin activating enzyme (E1), the ubiquitin conjugating enzyme (E2), and the ubiquitin ligase (E3). Dr. Liu has a long-standing research interest in UPS especially ubiquitin ligase E3s. Her earlier work during PhD study and postdoctoral training focused on the regulatory mechanisms of protein ubiquitylation and degradation. At ALI center, Dr. Liu's study has expanded to ubiquitylation in mitochondrial biology, mainly in acute lung injury model. Her very recent discovery includes ubiquitin E3 ligase subunits Fbxl18 and Fbxl7 target anti-apoptotic protein survivin to modulate mitochondrial homeostasis. The Fbxl18-Fbxl7-survivin axis provides unique regulatory pathway that ubiquitin E3 modulates mitochondrial function and apoptosis, serving as therapeutic target for cancer treatment. The other field of Dr. Liu's research interest is small molecule drug development in lung disease. Collaborating with Drs. Rama Mallampalli and Bill Chen, she has developed a series of small molecule inhibitors targeting ubiquitin E3 ligases, aiming to protect mitochondrial function during acute lung inflammation and injury. Currently, they have demonstrated the potent mitochondria-protective activity of these compounds in cellular level and rodent ALI model and these works led to one provisional patent on inhibitor of ubiquitin E3 ligase neddylation and the other provisional patent application for F-box protein inhibitor.
For my complete bibliography, Click Here.
Selected Publications:
Liu, Y, Mallampalli, RK. Small molecule therapeutics targeting F-box proteins in cancer. Semin Cancer Biol. 2016; Feb;36: 105-19.
Lear, T, McKelvey, AC, Rajbhandari, S, Dunn, SR, Coon, TA, Connelly, W, Zhao, JY, Kass, DJ, Zhang, Y, Liu, Y, Chen, BB. Ubiquitin E3 Ligase FIEL1 Regulates Fibrotic Lung Injury through SUMO-E3 Ligase PIAS4. J Exp Med. 2016; may 30;213(6): 1029-46.
Liu, Y, Lear, T, Iannone, O, Shiva, S, Corey, C, Rajbhandari, S, Jerome, J, Chen, BB, Mallampalli, RK. Pro-apoptotic F-box protein Fbxl7 regulates mitochondrial function by mediating the ubiquitylation and proteasomal degradation of survivin. J Biol Chem. 2015; Mar 16.
Liu, Y, Lear, T, Zhao, Y, Zhao, J, Zou, C, Chen, BB, Mallampalli, RK. F-box protein Fbxl18 mediates polyubiquitylation and proteasomal degradation of the pro-apoptotic SCF subunit Fbxl7. Cell Death Dis. 2015; Feb 5;6: e1630.
Coon, TA, McKelvey, AC, Lear, T, Rajbhandari, S, Dunn, SR, Connelly, W, Zhao, JY, Han, S, Liu, Y, Weathington, NM, McVerry, BJ, Zhang, Y, Chen, BB. he proinflammatory role of HECTD2 in innate immunity and experimental lung injury. Sci Transl Med. 2015; Jul 9;7(295): 295ra109.
Liu, Y, Mallampalli, RK. Decoding the growth advantage of hypoxia-sensitive lung cancer. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014; Sep 15;190(6): 603-5.
Piatkov, KI, Oh, JH, Liu, Y, Varshavsky, A. Calpain-generated natural protein fragments as short-lived substrates of the N-end rule pathway. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2014; Mar 4; 111(9): E817-26.
Sponsored Research/Activities
Title: Regulation of Mitochondrial function in Lung Injury
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: American Heart Association-National
Start Year: 2016
End Year: 2019
Title: F box-Induced Acute Lung Injury and Parkin
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute
Grant Number: R01 HL096376
Start Year: 2016
End Year: 2020
Title: A New Genus of Ubiquitin-Based Anti-Inflammatories for COPD
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute
Grant Number: UH2 HL123520
Start Year: 2014
End Year: 2017