Department of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh

Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Mezzanine Level,
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: (412) 648-9115

Yang Liu, PhD


Associate Professor of Medicine

Associate Professor of Bioengineering

Office: 5117 Centre Ave
Hillman Cancer Center 2.32
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Phone: 412-623-3751
Fax: 412-623-7828

PhD, Northwestern University, 2006
MS, University of Chicago, 2001
BS, Nankai University, 1999

Postdoctoral Scientist, Johnson & Johnson, 2007

Area of Specialization/Research Interest  
Development of novel optical microscopy systems (e.g., spectral-encoding of spatial frequency, spatial-domain low-coherence quantitative phase microscopy, 3D tomographic microscopy) and image processing methods for nanoscale structural characterization of cells and tissue;
Development of super-resolution fluorescence microscopy techniques for imaging highly scattering cells and tissue;
Super-resolution imaging of 3D nuclear architecture in cancer development and dynamic changes as a response to DNA damage and DNA repair;
High-throughput analysis of 3D nuclear architecture at a single-cell level from clinically obtained patient tissue and cell samples;
Investigation of physical properties of cell nucleus as novel markers for earlier and more accurate cancer detection, prognosis and more personalized risk assessment in cancer (e.g., breast, bladder, cervical, colorectal, esophageal, pancreatic, biliary).

Dr. Liu's research encompasses three distinct, but synergistic areas: imaging technology development, clinical translation and basic understanding of cancer biology. Our research centers around a fundamental question in cancer: What is the characteristic three-dimensional (3D) nuclear architecture at different stages of cancer development? Can we develop clinically applicable instruments that interrogates the three-dimensional (3D) nuclear architecture at the nanoscale in clinically obtained cells and tissue at a high-throughput as more accurate, cost-effective and easily detectable optical markers to better inform the clinical decision-making in several areas of cancer management, such as cancer screening, detection, diagnosis and prevention? in collaboration with basic cancer researchers, we are developing super-resolution imaging microscopy to analyze the 3D chromatin architecture. In collaboration with a large group of clinicians including pathologist, oncologists, surgeons and gastroenterologists, we are developing optical systems for 3D nanoscale nuclear architecture mapping as a more sensitive, cost-effective and easily detectable optical biomarkers to improve the detection of early-stage cancer and personalized cancer risk assessment in multiple cancers.

Lab Personnel and Web page
Research Associate: Shikhar Uttam; Postdoctoral Associate: Hoa Pham, Hongqiang Ma, Jianquan Xu; Research Specialist: Justin LaFace; Graduate student (Tsinghua Scholar): Jingyi Jin
View Lab Webpage
For Pub Med search results, click here.