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Ruya Liu, BM, PhD

Academic Title:

Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:



670 W Baltimore St, Baltimore, MD 21201

Phone (Primary):

(410) 706-1252

Education and Training


Beihua University Faculty of Medicine, China, BM, Clinical Medicine, 2007

Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, China, Medicine, PhD, 2012

Postgraduate Training:

Jilin No.2 Central Hospital, China, Intern, 2006

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, Research Fellow, 2013

Houston Methodist Research Institute, Houston, TX, Postdoc, 2014

Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, Postdoc 2015


Dr. Liu's research has focused on the molecular modulation of cardiomyocyte homeostasis and cardiac metabolism. During her postdoc training at Baylor College of Medicine, she spearheaded the project which identified the imperative roles of TEAD1 in the maintenance of normal adult heart contractility. This effort utilized a cardiac-specific in-ducible Tead1 knock-out allele and demonstrated TEAD1’s critical function in sarcoplasmic reticulum Calcium homeostasis (Liu et al., JCI Insight, 2017). In line with the crucial role of Hippo pathway in proliferation, she also demonstrated the requirement of TEAD1 in modulating perinatal cardiomyocyte replication (Liu et al., PLos One, 2019). Subsequently, she discovered that mitochondrial dysfunction also underlies an important aspect regulated by TEAD1 in the pathogenesis of cardiomyopathy (Liu et al., Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physio, 2020). By extension, her mechanistic studies of TEAD1 and its regulation of mitochondrial quality control processes were funded by the American Heart Association’s Career Development Award in 2019.

Dr. Liu's lab at the UMB studies regulatory factors of Hippo-TEAD signaling, also works on exploring novel regulators of cardiomyocyte cell cycle, hypertrophy, and regeneration. Using conditional cardiomyocyte specific knockout mouse models, her lab identified the surprisingly critical functionality of C5x, a previously uncharacterized factor, as a modulator of cardiomyocyte turnover and heart size. With this project, she has successfully competed for four internal or local funds (Dr. Liu as PI) as well as four undergraduate fellowships and one postgraduate grant for her trainees (Dr. Liu as mentor). In addition, she has served as co-mentor and has successfully assisted research fellows obtaining competitive conference award and training grants.

Another important line of research in her lab involves the investigation on the pathophysiological basis of pulmonary hypertension (PH) in the setting of metabolic syndrome and heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). Employing the multi-omics approach, her lab works closely with Dr. Mark Gladwin aiming at identifying novel culprits that contribute to the pathogenesis of PH-HFpEF, bearing the ultimate goal of developing targeted gene therapies and precision medicine approaches.

Research/Clinical Keywords

metabolism, heart failure, cardiovascular diseases, cardiomyocyte, proliferation

Highlighted Publications

Liu R, Lee J, Kim BS, Wang Q, Buxton SK, Balasubramanyam N, Kim JJ, Dong J, Zhang A, Li S, Gupte AA, Hamilton DJ, Martin JF, Rodney GG, Coarfa C, Wehrens XHT, Yechoor VK & Moulik M. “Tead1 is required for maintaining adult cardiomyocyte function and its loss results in lethal dilated cardiomyopathy.” JCI Insight. 2017 Sep 7;2(17):e93343. PMID: 28878117

Liu R, Jagannathan R, Li F, Lee J, Balasubramanyam N, Kim BS, Yang P, Yechoor VK & Moulik M. “Tead1 is required for perinatal cardiomyocyte proliferation.” PLoS One. 2019 Feb 27;14(2):e0212017. PMID: 30811446

ǂLiu R, Xiong X, Nam D, Yechoor V, ǂMa K. “SRF-MRTF signaling suppresses brown adipocyte development by modulating TGF-β/BMP pathway.” Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2020 Jun 27;110920. PMID: 32603734 ǂCorresponding

Liu R, Jagannathan R, Sun L, Li F, Yang P, Lee J, Negi V, Garcia-Perez EM, Shiva S, Yechoor VK & Moulik M. “Tead1 is essential for mitochondrial function in cardiomyocytes.” Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2020 Jul 1;319(1):H89-H99. PMID: 32502376

Xiong X, Li W, Liu R, Saha P, Yechoor V, Ma K. “Circadian clock control of MRTF-SRF pathway suppresses beige adipocyte thermogenic recruitment.” Journal of Molecular Cell Biology. 2022 Dec 29;mjac079. PMID: 36581314

Li F, Liu R, Negi V, Yang P, Lee J, Jagannathan R, Moulik M, Yechoor V. “VGLL4 and MENIN function as TEAD1 corepressors to block pancreatic β cell proliferation.” Cell Reports. 2023 Jan 18;42(1):111904. PMID: 36662616

Additional Publication Citations

Awards and Affiliations

Outstanding Graduate (Top 1%), Faculty of Medicine, Beihua University, China, 2007

Outstanding Graduate (Top 5%), Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, China, 2012

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Scholarship, Keystone Symposium – Mitochondria, Metabolism and Heart Failure, NM, USA, 2015

1st place Best Presentation, Department of Medicine Housestaff Research Symposium, Baylor College of Medicine, TX, USA, 2015

Basic Cardiovascular Sciences (BCVS) Abstract Travel Grant, AHA Scientific Sessions, Chicago, IL, USA, 2018

Grants and Contracts

Active grants:

"C5x as a Novel Regulator of Cardiomyocyte Homeostasis." University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Competitive Medical Research Fund. Role: PI. 07/01/2021-06/30/2023

Completed grants:

"Circadian Clock and Beta Cell Stress Adaptation." NIH/NIDDK R01DK097160. Role: co-I. 02/01/2014-01/31/2019

"Tead1 - A Regulator of Quiescence and Proliferation in Pancreatic Beta Cells." VA Merit 1I01BX002678. Role: co-I. 01/01/2016-12/31/2021

"Tead1 and Cardiac Adaptation." NIH/NHLBI R01HL147946. Role: co-I. 07/01/2021-12/31/2021

"C5x Emerging as a Novel Target for Cardiomyocyte Renewal and Heart Regeneration." Samuel and Emma Winters Foundation. Role: PI. 07/01/2021-06/30/2022

"Tead1 As A Novel Regulator of Mitochondrial Function in Cardiomyocytes." American Heart Association Career Development Award 19CDA34770034. Role: PI. 04/01/2019-03/31/2023 (NCE)

"Mechanistic Investigation of C5x Regulation of Cardiomyocyte Renewal." University of Pittsburgh Department of Medicine Catalytic Grant. Role: PI. 12/01/2021-11/30/2023