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Junchen Liu

Junchen Liu

Regular Member

Assistant Professor

[email protected]
MMS - MSE R354

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology

Dr. Junchen Liu is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Integrative Biology and
Pharmacology, which is part of University of Texas McGovern Medical School at Houston. Dr.
Liu’s lab combines high resolution imaging and pharmacogenetic approaches coupled with mouse
cancer models to study how glycosylated lipids regulate KRAS oncogenesis. Oncogenic KRAS
mutations occur at a high rate in pancreatic and lung cancers; therefore, the lab employs multiple
mouse cancer models to simulate these diseases. In mouse orthotropic PDAC and lung cancer
models, KPC (KRAS-LSL.G12D/+, p53R172H/+; Cre+) cells stably expressing luciferase were
implanted into the pancreas or lungs of syngeneic mice and monitored by in vivo luminescent
imaging. In xenograft models, multiple human lung and pancreatic cancer cell lines carrying
varying KRAS mutations were injected subcutaneously into nude mice to evaluate tumor
response to different conditions. At the molecular level, Dr. Liu specializes in using transmission
electron microscopy (EM) to image KRAS molecules in the plasma membrane using goldconjugated antibodies. Coupled with spatial statistics, this powerful tool allows measurement of
the abundance and extent of nanoclustering of KRAS molecules on the plasma membrane. Taken
together, these techniques enable the lab to resolve KRAS biology at molecular, cellular, and
whole animal levels. Dr. Liu believes in work-life balance and advocates implementing skillcentered research training program, rather than over-focused on outcomes, for motivated
graduate students interested in lipid metabolism and mouse disease models.


McGovern Medical School Faculty

Education & Training

PhD, Texas A&M University College of Medicine, 2017