Youhua Liu, PhD
Professor of Pathology

Dr. Liu
Dr. Liu is a member of the Division of Experimental Pathology and a member of the Cellular and Molecular Pathology Graduate Training Program.

Office Location:
Rm. S405
200 Lothrop St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Contact Information:
Office Telephone: 412-648-8253
Lab Telephone: 412-648-9508


  • BS - 1982, Anhui University
  • PhD - 1998, Peking Union Medical College

Research Interests

Studies in Dr. Liu's laboratory are focused on dissecting the cellular and molecular pathways leading to chronic renal fibrosis, and exploring novel strategies for therapeutic interventions. Using a series of experimental approaches, we are addressing several fundamental issues in renal fibrosis, such as what types of cells produce a large amount of matrix proteins under pathologic conditions and how they are regulated. Current studies in our laboratory include: 1) to decipher the mechanisms controlling tubular epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and epithelial-mesenchymal cross-talks (EMC) in renal fibrogenesis; 2) to dissect several key signal pathways such as Wnt/β-catenin, hedgehog and integrin-linked kinase in the pathogenesis of renal fibrosis; 3) to elucidate the patho-mechanisms of podocyte injury and proteinuria; 4) to develop novel therapeutic strategies aimed at ameliorating renal fibrosis and kidney dysfunction.

Selected Publications

View Dr. Liu's publications on PubMed

  1. He W, Dai C, Li Y, Zeng G, Monga SP, and Liu Y. 2009. Wnt/β-catenin signaling promotes renal interstitial fibrosis. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 20: 765-776.
  2. Li Y, Tan X, Dai C, Stolz DB, Wang D, and Liu Y. 2009. Inhibition of integrin-linked kinase attenuates renal interstitial fibrosis. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 20: 1907-1918.
  3. Dai C, Stolz DB, Kiss LP, Monga SP, Holzman LB, and Liu Y. 2009. Wnt/β-catenin signaling promotes podocyte dysfunction and albuminuria. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 20: 1997-2008. (Featured on JASN cover; and Editorial Activation of canonical Wnt Signaling meets with podocytopathy, JASN 20:1864-1866, 2009).
  4. Tan X, He W, and Liu Y. 2009. Combination therapy with paricalcitol and trandolapril reduces renal fibrosis in obstructive nephropathy. Kidney Int. 76: 1248-1257. (Featured on Commentary: Vitamin D, a new hope for chronic kidney disease? KI 76: 1219-1221, 2009).
  5. Liu Y. 2010. New insights into epithelial-mesenchymal transition in kidney fibrosis. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 21: 212-222.
  6. Dai C, Saleem MA, Holzman LB, Mathieson P, and Liu Y. 2010. Hepatocyte growth factor signaling ameliorates podocyte injury and proteinuria. Kidney Int. 77: 962-973.
  7. Kang YS, Li Y, Dai C, Kiss LP, Wu C, and Liu Y. 2010. Inhibition of integrin-linked kinase blocks podocyte epithelial-mesenchymal transition and ameliorates proteinuria. Kidney Int. 78: 363-373.
  8. He W, Tan R, Dai C, Li Y, Wang D, Hao S, Kahn M, and Liu Y. 2010. Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 is a transcriptional target of the canonical pathway of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. J. Biol. Chem. 285: 24665-24675.
  9. Wen X, Li Y, and Liu Y. 2010. Opposite action of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor- in regulating renal inflammation: functional switch by its ligand. J. Biol. Chem. 285: 29981-29988. (Featured on Editors' Choice. N. R. Gough, NF- B needs PPAR . Sci. Signal. 3: ec296, 2010).
  10. Hao S, Shen H, Hou Y, Mars WM, and Liu Y. 2010. tPA is a potent mitogen for renal interstitial fibroblasts: role of 1 integrin/focal adhesion kinase signaling. Am. J. Pathol. 177: 1164-1175.
  11. Liu Y. 2011. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of renal fibrosis. Nat. Rev. Nephrol. 7: 684-696.
  12. He W, Kang YS, Dai C, and Liu Y. 2011. Blockade of Wnt/β-catenin signaling by paricalcitol ameliorates proteinuria and kidney injury. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 22: 90-103. (Featured on Faculty of 1000 Medicine).
  13. Hao S, He W, Li Y, Ding H, Hou Y, Nie J, Hou FF, Kahn M, and Liu Y. 2011. Targeted inhibition of β-catenin/CBP signaling ameliorates renal interstitial fibrosis. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 22: 1642-1653.
  14. Wang D, Li Y, Wu C, and Liu Y. 2011. PINCH1 is transcriptional regulator in podocytes that interacts with WT1 and represses podocalyxin expression. PLoS One. 6: e17048.
  15. Dai C, Wen X, He W, and Liu Y. 2011. Inhibition of pro-inflammatory RANTES expression by TGF- 1 is mediated by glycogen synthase kinase-3 -dependent β-catenin signaling. J. Biol. Chem. 286: 7052-7059.
  16. Wang D, Dai C, Li Y, and Liu Y. 2011. Canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling mediates transforming growth factor-?1-driven podocyte injury and proteinuria. Kidney Int. 80: 1159-1169. (Featured on Kidney Int cover; and Editorial Old friends form alliance against podocytes, Kidney Int 80:1117-1119, 2011).
  17. Cao W, Zhou QG, Nie J, Wang GB, Liu Y, Zhou ZM, and Hou FF. 2011. Albumin overload activates intrarenal renin-angiotensin system through protein kinase C and NADPH oxidase-dependent pathway. J. Hypertens. 29: 1411-1421.
  18. He W, Tan RJ, Li Y, Wang D, Nie J, Hou FF, and Liu Y. 2012. Matrix metalloproteinase-7 as a surrogate marker predicts renal Wnt/β-catenin activity in CKD. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 23(2): 294-304, In press. (Featured on Faculty of 1000 Biology).
  19. Li Y, Wen X, and Liu Y. 2012. Tubular cell dedifferentiation and peritubular inflammation are coupled by the transcription regulator Id1 in renal fibrogenesis. Kidney Int. 81(9): 880-891, in press.
  20. Ding H, Zhou D, Hao S, Zhou L, He W, Nie J, Hou FF, and Liu Y. 2012. Sonic hedgehog signaling mediates epithelial-mesenchymal communication and promotes renal fibrosis. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 23(5): 801-813, In press.
  21. Zhou D, Li Y, Lin L, Zhou L, Igarashi P, and Liu Y. Tubule-specific ablation of endogenous β-catenin aggravates acute kidney injury in mice. Kidney Int. 00: 000-000, 2012, in press. (Featured on Editorial: Role changes of β-catenin in kidney injury and repair. Kidney Int. 82(5): 537-547).