Welcome to Yang Liu's Homepage

Yang Liu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Associate Professor, Department of Bioengineering
Director, Biomedical Optical Imaging Laboratory (BOIL)
University of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute

Email: liuy_at_pitt.edu
Phone: (412) 623-3751
Fax: (412) 623-7828

Hillman Cancer Center 2.32
5117 Centre Ave
Pittsuburgh, PA



B.S., Chemistry, Nankai University, China, 1999
M.S., Chemistry, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 2002
Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering (Biomedical Optics), Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 2006

Other Professional Experience

2007-2008         Johnson & Johnson, Skillman, NJ                        Senior Scientist
2006-2007         Johnson & Johnson, Skillman, NJ                        Postdoctoral Scientist

Research Interests

The laboratory of Dr. Yang Liu integrates multi-disciplinary approaches spanning engineering, optics, physics, chemistry and biology and develops imaging technologies to address important clinical dilemma of how to better predict the individual's cancer progression risk in a large number of at-risk population, and how to improve the diagnostic accuracy of malignancy. Early cancer detection currently relies on screening the entire at-risk population, as with colonoscopy and mammography. Frequent, invasive surveillance of patients at risk for developing cancer carries financial, physical, and emotional burdens because clinicians lack tools to accurately predict which patients will actually progress into malignancy. Current clinical gold standard for diagnosing cancer and predicting cancer progression risk relies on the evaluation of nuclear morphology by a trained pathologist using bright-field microscope, which limits the assessment of nuclear architecture to microscale with very limited performance on a personalized level, especially in patients without the presence of clinically significant lesions such as patients with ulcerative colitis or atypical hyperplasia in breast.

To address these highly unmet clinical need, our group aims for both technology development and mechanistic understanding of cancer biology. First, given that nuclear architecture plays an important role in regulating the function of genome and epigenome in cancer progression, does the genome-level high-order nuclear architecture at nanoscale provide earlier and more accurate prediction of cancer progression? Second, if it does, can we develop clinically applicable instrument to interrogate nanoscale nuclear architecture with a high throughput to better inform the clinical decision-making?

We are working with a large multidisciplinary team that encompasses expertise in bioengineering, physics, electrical engineering, chemistry, cancer biology, pathology, oncology, gastroenterology and surgery at University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). The main goal of our research is to translate bench-top imaging technologies into clinical practice and improve patient care.

Our group focuses on the following projects:

Selected Recent Publications

Other Publications

Current Lab Members

Research Associate: Shikar, Ph.D.; Jiauquan Xu, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Associate: Hoa V Pham, Ph.D.; Hongqiang Ma, Ph.D.

Graduate Student: Jingyi Jin

Current Research Sponsors


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