Mingyao Liu, MSc, MD

Our research is focused on ischemia-reperfusion induced lung injury in lung transplantation, and the cellular and molecular mechanisms of acute lung injury. We have developed nano-particular based drug delivery systems for hydrophobic drugs/chemicals and are developing a high throughput drug screening for ischemia-reperfusion induced lung injury.

Another major research interest in our lab is the role of adaptor proteins in signal transduction. Our lab has cloned an adaptor protein, XB130 (AFAP1L2), which can couple protein tyrosine kinase to the PI3K pathway in cells. We have now generated XB130 knockout mice through a collaboration and are exploring the role of the XB130/PI3K/Akt pathway in lung tissue injury/repair and tumourigenesis.
  • Project I. Acute lung injury: from cellular mechanisms to molecular therapy
    We have developed a cell culture model to simulate hypothermic preservation and reperfusion in lung transplantation. Using this model, we are exploring the mechanisms of lung injury at the cellular and molecular levels. We also use this system for drug screening and discovery. In addition, we have developed a rat lung transplantation model to test the therapeutic effects of potential drugs in vivo.

    Through our collaboration with Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, we have access to pig lung transplantation and human ex vivo lung perfusion systems for pre-clinical studies. With this pipeline, we are exploring multiple therapeutic reagents for acute lung injury. 

    We have developed a self-assembly peptide-based nano-particle delivery system for hydrophobic drugs and are developing a gold nano-particle/peptide hybrid system for drug delivery as well.
  • Project II. Signal cross-talk in acute lung injury
    We have cloned a novel human gene, XB130, which encodes a novel adaptor type protein. This protein can directly activate Src and subsequently activate AP-1/SRE. This adaptor protein is involved in the PI3K/Akt pathway. XB130 is part of Rac-induced lamillipodia for cell migration. Using 3D confocal microscopic scanning and live cell imaging, we found that human airway epithelial cells could form podosomes during migration and invasion. Currently, we are working on the molecular mechanims of XB130 in cell signaling. Cell proliferation, cell death and cell migration are important to maintain the normal physiological function and tissue repair. Transgenic mice with XB130 knocked out will be used to further study the role of XB130 in the lung injury and repair and in tumourigenesis.

For a list of Dr. Liu’s publications, please visit PubMed, Scopus or ORCID.

Full Professor, Department of Surgery, Medicine and Physiology, University of Toronto