Department of Medicine
Faculty Profiles by Division

Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine

Faculty Profiles

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photo Yuan Liu, PhD

Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine

Tenure-track/Assistant Professor, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine


Phone: 412-383-8732

Office: 556 Bridgeside Point 1
100 Technology Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: 412-383-8732
Fax: 412-383-9055
Administrative Assistant:
Kathy Brickett
Address: 571.1 Bridgeside Point I
100 Technology Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: 412-383-4416
Fax: 412-383-9055
Education and Training
PhD, Nagoya University, 2010
MS, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 2007
BS, Henan University of Science and Technology, 2001
Post-doctoral Scholar, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2014
Post-doctoral Scholar, California Institute of Technology, 2013
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. Dr. Liu’s PhD and postdoctoral studies focused on the regulatory mechanisms of protein ubiquitylation and degradation. At Pitt, Dr. Liu’s research interest has recently expanded to ubiquitylation regulating mitochondrial function and autophagy in inflammation, neurodegeneration, etc. The mechanistic study of ubiquitin-dependent protein degradation also leads to small molecule therapeutics development targeting aging related diseases. The ongoing projects in Dr. Liu’s laboratory include: developing Fbxo7 inhibitor to protect neuron from mitochondrial damage induced cell death; developing AMPK activator to boost autophagy and treat metabolic diseases such as NAFLD. These small molecule compounds have been currently testing in several neurodegenerative disease models such as Huntington Disease, Parkinson Disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Research professionals are welcomed to join Dr. Liu’s research team. Students, Postdocs and research scientists who are interested in the program should contact Dr. Liu at with CV and three reference contacts.
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: DCAF7/HDAC4/TFEB Axis in Acute Lung Injury
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute
Grant Number: R01 HL142777
Start Year: 2018
End Year: 2023
Title: Regulation of Mitochondrial function in Lung Injury
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: American Heart Association-National
Grant Number: RES
Start Year: 2016
End Year: 2019
Title: Systematic Investigation of Protein Ubiquitination in ARDS
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute
Grant Number: R35 HL139850
Start Year: 2018
End Year: 2024
Title: Stabilizing Mitochondria in Sepsis
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute
Grant Number: R01 HL098174
Start Year: 2017
End Year: 2018
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
Notable Achievements
Patent: Novel anti-neoplastic and anti-inflammatory DCN1 inhibitor (US 62/300,451)
Patent: Composition and methods for treating cancer and inflammatory diseases (US 62/325,842)
Patent: Small molecule Ampk activators (US 62/404,592)
Patent: Chemical inhibition of the E3 Ligase subunit Fbxo7 confers neuroprotection and anti-inflammatory activity by stabilizing mitochondria (US 62/527,492)