Stadtman Tenure Track Investigator
Building 35A Room 3E410
35A Convent Drive, MSC 3757
Bethesda, MD 20892
Descending supraspinal pathways integrate signals from multiple brain regions and are the neural basis by which our brain controls our body. As yet, the design principles for such top-down control remain elusive. The mission of our lab is: (1) To decipher supraspinal circuits in somatosensory perception. (2) To investigate the underlying mechanisms of top-down control in chronic pain states. To achieve these goals, we will use a multidisciplinary approach combining intersectional viral-mediated gene manipulation, in vivo imaging, and electrophysiological and single-cell sequencing techniques. Ultimately, our research will help explain how our mental states directly alter normal and pathological somatosensory perception in different contexts or mood states, and will uncover potential targets for treating pain.
Dr. Yuanyuan (Kevin) Liu obtained his B.S. degree in biological pharmacy in Nanjing University, China. He received his Ph.D. in Dr. Ben Szaro’s lab at the State University of New York, focusing on the role of an RNA binding protein in axon development and regeneration in Xenopus Laevis. He completed his postdoc training in Dr. Zhigang He’s lab at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. During his postdoc career, he optimized an elegant, multi-step viral-based intersectional targeting tool, which he used to dissect the role of corticospinal neurons in controlling distinct spinal circuits involved in fine motor control and tactile sensation. He joined NIDCR/NCCIH in 2020 and will continue his work to decipher the supraspinal circuits which control somatosensory perception and pain.
- Ren X, Liu S, Virlogeux A, Kang S, Brusch J, Liu Y, et al. Identification of an essential spinoparabrachial pathway for mechanical itch. 2023 Mar 30:S0896-6273(23)00209-X. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2023.03.013.
- Zhou W, Ye C, Wang H, Mao Y, Zhang W, Liu A, et al. Sound induces analgesia via corticothalamic circuits. Science. 2022 Jul 8;377(6602):198-204. DOI: 10.1126/science.abn4663.
- Liu Y, Hegarty S, Winter C, Wang F, He Z. Viral vectors for neuronal cell type-specific visualization and manipulations. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2020 Aug;63:67-76. DOI: 10.1016/j.conb.2020.03.011.
- Barak B, Zhang Z, Liu Y, Nir A, Trangle S, Ennis M, et al. Neuronal deletion of Gtf2i, associated with Williams syndrome, causes behavioral and myelin alterations rescuable by a remyelinating drug. Nat. Neurosci. 2019 May;22(5):700-708. DOI: 10.1038/s41593-019-0380-9.
- Liu Y, Latremoliere A, Li X, Zhang Z, Chen M, Wang X, et al. Touch and tactile neuropathic pain sensitivity are set by corticospinal projections. Nature. 2018 Sep;561(7724):547-550. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0515-2.
- Wang X, Liu Y, Li X, Zhang Z, Yang H, Zhang Y, et al. Deconstruction of Corticospinal Circuits for Goal-Directed Motor Skills. Cell. 2017 Oct 5;171(2):440-455.e14. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.08.014.
- Liu Y, Wang X, Li W, Zhang Q, Li Y, Zhang Z, et al. A Sensitized IGF1 Treatment Restores Corticospinal Axon-Dependent Functions. Neuron. 2017 Aug 16;95(4):817-833.e4. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.07.037.
- Jin D, Liu Y, Sun F, Wang X, Liu X, He Z. Restoration of skilled locomotion by sprouting corticospinal axons induced by co-deletion of PTEN and SOCS3. Nat Commun. 2015 Nov 24;6:8074. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9074.
- Liu Y, Yu H, Deaton SK, Szaro BG. Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K, an RNA-binding protein, is required for optic axon regeneration in Xenopus laevis. J Neurosci. 2012 Mar 7;32(10):3563-74. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5197-11.2012.