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Mingyu Liang, M.B., Ph.D.
Eminent Scholar


Director of the Center of Systems Molecular Medicine
Phone: (414) 955-8539 
Email: mliang@mcw.edu
M.B. Medicine, Shanghai Medical University, Shanghai, China, 1994
Ph.D. Biomedical Sciences-Physiology, Mayo Graduate School, 1999
Postdoctoral Fellow Nephrology, Mayo Clinic and Foundation, 2000
Postdoctoral Fellow Physiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, 2002

Research areas: Renal Physiology
  Genetics & Genomics
  Molecular & Cellular Physiology


My laboratory's research interest is in understanding and integrating multiple aspects and components of physiology.  With hypertension, tissue injury, and metabolic disorders as the disease context, our current work is focused on three areas: microRNA, cellular metabolism, and epigenomics and molecular regulatory network.  We have established a diverse research platform in our laboratory that enables studies in human subjects, animal models, and ex vivo and in vitro preparations using a variety of approaches including genome-scale analysis, in vivo gene manipulation (knockdown, knockout, transgenesis), and molecular, biochemical, and physiological measurements.


For a complete list of our laboratory’s publications since 2002, search PubMed for “Mingyu Liang”.


Selected Honors and Services:

2015-present: Center Director, American Heart Association Strategically Focused Hypertension Research Center

2012: Henry Pickering Bowditch Award, American Physiological Society

2009: Outstanding Teacher of the Year, MCW Graduate School

2007-2015: Associate Editor, Physiological Genomics

1994: Outstanding Graduate, Shanghai Municipality


Research Area 1: MicroRNA

The general significance of microRNAs in the regulation of gene expression, cellular function, and disease development is now widely recognized.  However, many aspects of basic microRNA biology and the specific role of many microRNAs in numerous physiological and disease processes remain to be examined.  Our laboratory investigates the role of microRNAs in hypertension and cardiovascular and renal injury and the molecular mechanism involved in microRNA regulation.

Selected publications:

  • Mladinov D, Liu Y, Mattson DL, Liang M.  MicroRNAs contribute to the maintenance of cell-type-specific physiological characteristics: miR-192 targets Na+/K+-ATPase β1.  Nucleic Acids Res. 2013 Jan; 41(2): 1273-83.
  • Xu X, Kriegel AJ, Liu Y, Usa K, Mladinov D, Liu H, Fang Y, Ding X, Liang M.  Delayed ischemic preconditioning contributes to renal protection by upregulation of miR-21.  Kidney Int. 2012 Dec; 82(11): 1167-75.
  • Kriegel AJ, Fang Y, Liu Y, Tian Z, Matus IR, Mladinov D, Ding XQ, Greene AS, and Liang M.  MicroRNA-Target Pairs in Human Renal Epithelial Cells treated with Transforming Growth Factor b1: A Novel Role of miR-382.  Nucleic Acids Res 2010 Dec 1; 38(22): 8338-47. 
  • Liu Y, Taylor NE, Lu L, Usa K, Cowley AW Jr, Ferreri NR, Yeo NC, and Liang M.  Renal medullary microRNAs in Dahl salt-sensitive rats: miR-29b regulates several collagens and related genes.  Hypertension 2010 Apr; 55(4):974-82.
  • Tian Z, Greene AS, Pietrusz JL, Matus IR, and Liang M.  microRNA-target pairs in rat kidneys identified through microRNA microarray, proteomic, and bioinformatic analysis.  Genome Res 2008 March; 18: 404-411.

Research Area 2: Cellular metabolism

Our laboratory routinely combines exploratory approaches and hypothesis-driven approaches to discover novel disease mechanisms.  Recent discoveries that we are exploring in depth include novel roles of abnormalities in cellular metabolism in the development of hypertension and tissue injury.

Selected publications:

  • Liang M.  Hypertension as a mitochondrial and metabolic disease.  Kidney Int. 2011 Jul; 80(1): 15-6.
  • Tian Z, Liu Y, Usa K, Mladinov D, Fang Y, Ding X, Greene AS, Cowley AW Jr, Liang M.  Novel Role of Fumarate Metabolism in Dahl Salt-Sensitive Hypertension.  Hypertension 2009 Aug; 54(2): 255-60.
  • Liang M, Pietrusz JL.  Thiol-related genes in diabetic complications: A novel protective role for endogenous thioredoxin 2.  Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2007 Jan; 27(1): 77-83.

Research Area 3: Epigenomics and molecular regulatory network

Complex physiological processes and diseases are likely mediated not by a single molecule or biological pathway, but rather a network of molecules and pathways.  Our laboratory is interested in constructing molecular regulatory networks underlying the development of hypertension and tissue injury, with a focus on epigenomics.

Selected publications:

  • Liu Y, Liu P, Yang C, Cowley AW Jr, Liang M.  Base-resolution maps of 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in Dahl S rats: effect of salt and genomic sequence.  Hypertension. 2014 Apr; 63(4): 827-38.
  • Wang F, Li L, Xu H, Liu Y, Yang C, Cowley AW Jr, Wang N, Liu P, Liang M.  Characteristics of long non-coding RNAs in the Brown Norway rat and alterations in the Dahl salt-sensitive rat.  Sci Rep. 2014 Nov 21; 4: 7146.
  • Liang M.  Pathway knowledgebase as a tool for systems molecular medicine.  Physiol Genomics 2007 Aug 20; 30(3): 209-12.


Link to MCW Faculty Collaboration Database


Please contact Dr. Liang if you are interested in a post-doctoral fellow or pre-doctoral student position in his laboratory.

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