Liu Lab

The University of Michigan School of Dentistry

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ABOUT

Research in our laboratory is focused on understanding cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate physiological and pathological bone metabolism, skeletal and craniofacial bone development and diseases. In particular, we are interested in the following lines of research:

THE ROLES OF AUTOPHAGY IN SKELETAL AND CRANIOFACIAL BONE METABOLISM

Autophagy is a conserved lysosomal degradation pathway that is regulated by particular autophagy genes such as fip200 (FAK-family Interacting Protein of 200 kDa) and atg5 (autophagy-related 5). Mounting evidence supports the vital role of autophagy in bone health. Our previous work showed that ablation of either fip200 or atg5 in osteoblasts leads to osteopenia in mice. However, the molecular mechanisms by which autophagy regulates osteoblast bone formation are primarily unclear, creating a significant knowledge gap in understanding autophagy dysfunction-related bone diseases. Moreover, additional significant gaps lie in the need to understand the autophagy-specific contribution to bone health, mainly because autophagy genes have autophagy-independent functions. Our current effort is to determine the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways by which autophagy regulates osteoblast metabolic wiring, function, and lineage commitment using a combination of molecular, cell biological and mouse genetic approaches.

THE REGULATION OF SKELETAL AND CRANIOFACIAL BONE DEVELOPMENT BY mTOR SIGNALING

Tuberous sclerosis (TS) is a genetic disorder characterized by the presence of benign congenital tumors in multiple organs and is caused by mutations in one of two genes, called TSC1 and TSC2. Tuberous sclerosing bone dysplasia is characterized by osteosclerotic changes in skeletal and craniofacial bones. In this disease, hyperactivity of mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) signaling is implicated. Despite the high frequency of osseous manifestation (>66%) in TSC patients, it is unknown to what extent and how mTOR signaling regulates bone metabolism in vivo. We established the first craniofacial sclerotic bone lesion mouse model of Tuberous sclerosis and found that enhanced mTOR signaling in neural crest-derived cells can increase bone mass through enlargement of the osteoprogenitor pool, which likely explains the sclerotic bone lesion observed in Tuberous sclerosis patients. We are currently using various genetic mouse models to elucidate the mechanisms by which mTOR signaling regulates skeletal and craniofacial bone development.

DIRECTOR

fei liu

Fei Liu

DDS, MS, PhD
Associate Professor of Dentistry

Contact
feiliu@umich.edu | | 734-936-0911


BIOGRAPHY

Dr. Liu received his BS, MS and DDS degrees from West China School of Stomatology, Sichuan University. Subsequently, he completed a PhD in the Skeletal, Craniofacial and Oral Biology Program and a specialty certificate in Prosthodontics, both from the University of Connecticut Health Center. Prior to the faculty appointment, Dr. Liu received a postdoctoral training in cell and molecular biology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Liu is a Diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics, a fellow of American College of Prosthodontists, a fellow of American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, and a member of American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics, American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research, American Dental Education Association, and International Association for Dental Research. Dr. Liu serves as the Associate Chair of Prosthodontics. Dr. Liu’s research program focuses on the cell and molecular biology of mineralized tissues, with an emphasis on skeletal and craniofacial bone development and diseases. He teaches courses for both dental students and Prosthodontic residents and treats Prosthodontic patients. Dr. Liu serves as reviewer or editorial board member for more than 20 scientific journals, including Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, Bone, Bone Research, Bone Reports, Autophagy, FEBS Journal, Communications Biology, Journal of Dental Research, Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, Journal of Prosthodontics, etc.

Education and Training:

  • Post-doc, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2006-2009
  • Certificate in Prosthodontics, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT, 2006
  • PhD, Biomedical Science, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT, 2006
  • DDS, West China University of Medical Sciences (Si Chuan University), Chengdu, China, 1999
  • BS/MS, Stomatology, West China University of Medical Sciences (Si Chuan University), Chengdu, China, 1996

SERVICES AT THE SCHOOL OF DENTISTRY

2023-present Associate Chair of Prosthodontics, Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences & Prosthodontics, University of Michigan School of Dentistry
2022-2023 Interim Chair, Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences & Prosthodontics, University of Michigan School of Dentistry
2021-2024 Interim Program Director, Graduate Prosthodontics, University of Michigan School of Dentistry
2020-2022 Associate Chair of Prosthodontics, Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences & Prosthodontics, University of Michigan School of Dentistry
2018-2021 Member, Executive Committee, University of Michigan School of Dentistry
2018-2022 Chair, PhD admission Committee, Oral Health Science Program, University of Michigan School of Dentistry
2016-present Member, PhD candidate Preliminary Exam Committee, University of Michigan School of Dentistry
2012-2018 Member, Research Committee, University of Michigan School of Dentistry

MEMBERSHIP AND SERVICE IN PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

2024-present Chair, Credentials Committee of American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics
2024 Member, International Travel Award Review Committee, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
2022 Member, URM Mentorship review committee, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
2021-present Member, DEI committee, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
2020-present Member, American Dental Education Association
2018-present Member, program committee, International Chinese Musculoskeletal Research Society
2017- 2020 Board Director, American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics
2013-2018 Chair, Tylman Research Committee of American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics
2012-present Member, International Association of Dental Research
2012-2015 Member, Constitution Committee, American Association of Dental Research
2012-present Member, American Association of Dental Research
2012-2014 Chair, Scientific Research Committee of American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics
2012-present Member, Research Committee, American College of Prosthodontists
2012-2015 Member, Constitution Committee, American Association of Dental Research
2010-present Fellow, American College of Prosthodontists
2009-present Member, International Chinese Musculoskeletal Research Society (Lifetime member from 2017)
2008-2013 Member, Tylman Research Committee of American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics
2007-present Member, American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics
2004-present Member, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research

HONORS

2021 Fellow, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
2010 Fellow, American College of Prosthodontists
2004 First place of Remo Sinibaldi Memorial Table Clinic Competition, American College of Prosthodontics
2004 ASBMR Young Investigator Award from American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
2004 Young Investigator Award, Advances in Skeletal Anabolic Agents for the Treatment of Osteoporosis (American Society for Bone and Mineral Research)
1998 First place of DENTSPLY dental graduate student scholarship, West China University of Medical Sciences (Si Chuan University)
1997 First place of Xuan Rui Ling dental graduate student scholarship, West China University of Medical Sciences (Si Chuan University)

AWARDS TO TRAINEES

2013

Travel Award from American Society for Bone and Mineral Research to Dr. Fang Fang (post-doc fellow)

2015

Travel Award from American Society for Bone and Mineral Research to Dr. Li Wang (post-doc fellow)

2016

1. ASBMR Young Investigator Award from American Society for Bone and Mineral Research to Dr. Xiaoxi Wei (PhD student)

2. Plenary oral presentation and ASBMR Young Investigator Award from American Society for Bone and Mineral Research to Dr. Chunhui Sun (visiting scholar)

2017

1. AADR student research fellowship to Neil Thomas (DDS candidate)

2. Travel Award from American Society for Bone and Mineral Research to Dr. Han Kyoung Choi (post-doc fellow)

2018

1. Janice E. Berry Prize for Excellence in Research to Dr. Xiaoxi Wei (visiting scientist)

2. 2nd place in Basic Science Research, University of Michigan School of Dentistry Annual Research Day to Dr. Yuanlynn Hsieh (MS student)

3. Travel Award at second annual musculoskeletal symposium from Michigan Integrative Musculoskeletal Health Core Center to Dr. Jinfeng Yao (visiting scholar)

2019

1. 1st place in Basic Science Research, University of Michigan School of Dentistry Annual Research Day to Dr. Yuanlynn Hsieh (MS student)

2. 1st place in Visiting Scholar Research to Dr. Xiaoxi Wei at University of Michigan School of Dentistry Annual Research Day (visiting scholar)

3. 2nd place in Visiting Scholar Research to Dr. Bei Yin at University of Michigan School of Dentistry Annual Research Day (visiting scholar)

4. 3rd place in Visiting Scholar Research to Dr. Shuqun Qi at University of Michigan School of Dentistry Annual Research Day (visiting scholar in Dr. Liu’s lab)

5. 3rd place in basic science research at University of Michigan School of Dentistry Annual Research Day to Dr. Han Kyoung Choi (research fellow)

6. Delta dental fellowship award to 2019 dental student graduates at University of Michigan School of Dentistry to Neil Thomas (DDS research pathway student)

7. Young Investigator Travel Award from American Society for Bone and Mineral Research to Shuqun Qi (PhD student)

8. Young Investigator Travel Award from American Society for Bone and Mineral Research to Dr. Han Kyoung Choi (post-doc fellow)

2020

1. 2nd place in Basic Science Research, University of Michigan School of Dentistry Annual Research Day to Di Xie (U of M undergraduate student, 2024 DDS class)

2. 2nd place in Visiting Scholar Research to Dr. Shuqun Qi at University of Michigan School of Dentistry Annual Research Day (visiting PhD student)

3. 3rd place in Visiting Scholar Research to Dr. Yating Wang at University of Michigan School of Dentistry Annual Research Day (visiting scholar)

4. ASBMR Young Investigator Award from American Society for Bone and Mineral Research to Shuqun Qi (PhD student)

2021

1. Outstanding PhD thesis award from Stomatological Association of SiChuan to Shuqun Qi (PhD student)

2. ASBMR Young Investigator Award for ECTS Digital Masterclass, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research to Shuqun Qi (post-doc fellow)

2022

1. Finalist of 6th annual Michigan Musculoskeletal Health Center Symposium Travel Award Competition (Shuqun Qi, post-doc)

2023

1. Travel Award at the 7th annual musculoskeletal symposium from Michigan Integrative Musculoskeletal Health Core Center to Dr. Danielle Moon (U of M undergraduate student)

Publications


View the complete listing of publications.

TEAM

shuqun qi

Hui Li, DDS, PhD
Research Fellow

huilih@umich.edu

daniela mendonca

Rawan Mohsen, DDS
Prosthodontics Master degree student

rawanm@umich.edu

thomas kim

Danielle Moon, BS
U of M undergraduate student (Biology)

moondani@umich.edu

CONTACT

Liu Lab
University of Michigan School of Dentistry
1011 N University Ave,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Lab room: 4214, 4228
Office room: 4205
Lab phone: 734-763-8532
Office phone: 734-936-0911
Email: feiliu@umich.edu