Our laboratory primarily focuses on the cancer biology and cancer stem cell biology of pediatric hematopoietic malignancies, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and early T precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ETP-ALL). We are interested in understanding the role of hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF1α) in these malignancies and have recently extended our scope to include a central role for HIF1α in pediatric MYC-driven Group 3 medulloblastoma, as well as donor T-cell cytotoxicity in Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD). We are also actively exploring the implications of an epigenetic switch of the Epm2a gene in leukemia stem cells prior to relapse, and the additional roles of Epm2a in several other conditions, including epilepsy and septic shock. Finally, we are investigating the roles of heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) in leukemogenesis, and the E3 ligase FBXO30 in genome stability, mammopoiesis, and tumorigenesis. The central effort of our lab is to identify key elements of pathological pathways, which can be targeted for therapeutic intervention using a rational-based approach, to provide the best possible treatment options for patients in the clinic.


Yan Liu, PhD

Representative publications:

Yin Wang, Yan Liu, Fei Tang, Kelsie Bernot, Reuven Schore, Guido Marcucci, Michael A. Caligiuri, Pan Zheng and Yang Liu. Preclinical Evaluation of Echinomycin: Therapeutic Efficacy in Relapsed Acute Myeloid Leukemia without Adverse Effects on Host Hematopoietic Stem cells. Blood, 2014. 2014 Aug 14;124(7):1127-35.

Newman B, Liu Y, Lee H-F, Sun D, and Wang Y. HSP90 inhibitor 17-AAG selectively abrogates lymphoma cancer stem cells. Cancer Res 2012 Sep 1;72(17): 4551-61.

Wang Y, Liu Y, Malek S, Zheng P, Liu Y. Targeting HIF1α eliminates cancer stem cells in hematological malignancies. Cell Stem Cell 2011 Apr 8;8(4):399-411.

Wang Y, Bruce AT, Tu C, Ma K, Zeng L, Zheng P, Liu Y, Liu Y. Protein aggregation of SERCA2 mutants associated with Darier Disease elicits ER stress and apoptosis in keratinocytes. J Cell Sci 2011 Nov 1;124(Pt 21):3568-80.

Wang Y, Liu Y, Wu C, McNally B, Liu Y, Zheng P. Laforin confers cancer resistance to energy deprivation-induced apoptosis. Cancer Res 2008 Jun 1;68(11):4039-44.

Wang Y, Liu Y, Zheng Z, Geiger T, Liu Y, Zheng P. Epm2a suppresses tumor growth in an immunocompromised host by inhibiting Wnt signaling. Cancer Cell 2006 Sep;10(3):179-90.