Bo Liu, PHD

Position title: Professor, Surgery


Phone: 608-263-5931

Organ System/Disease Focus:
Vascular diseases, in particular restenosis and abdominal aortic aneurysm and venous thrombosis
Aligned Research Focus:
Vascular biology (signaling transduction, cell death, regulation of cell phenotypes, cell-cell communications, vascular inflammation)


More information:
Research Description:

The mission of the Liu lab is to advance the fundamental knowledge of biology and contribute to healthy living through research and therapeutic development. Our research involves stem cells in several broad areas. The arterial and venous walls contain endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, fibroblasts and residential progenitors. Endothelial cells are susceptible to chemical and mechanical injuries. Circulating and resident progenitors are believed to contribute the regeneration of damaged endothelial cells. Smooth muscle cells, on the other hands, are very plastic. In response to injuries, smooth muscle cells undergo a process called phenotypic change or “reprogramming” by re-entering cell cycles and by switching to different cellular identities such as macrophages. In addition to investigating the transcription factors within smooth muscle cells that control the “reprogramming” process, we seek to understand how cells within diseased vessels communicate with one another and with the immune system. For example, we demonstrated that smooth muscle cells promote endothelial regeneration by secreting soluble factors that attract circulating cells. Currently, we focus on how smooth muscle cells communicate with the inflammatory cells as well as the blood clotting system through extracellular vesicles. Finally, we study the regulatory mechanism of cell necrosis and inhibitors we develop may be used to improve the survival of stem cells in cell therapies.

Selected References:
  • Si Y, Ren J, Wang P, Rateri D, Daugherty A, Shi X, Kent KC, and Liu B. Protein kinase C-delta mediates adventitial cell migration through regulation of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 expression in a rat angioplasty model. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2012 32:943-54 (PMC3311123)
  • Wang Q, Liu Z, Ren J, Assa C, Morgan S, and Liu B. Receptor-interacting protein kinase-3 contributes to abdominal aortic aneurysm via smooth muscle cell necrosis and inflammation. Circ Res  2015 116:600-11 (PMC4329096)
  • Liu Z, Morgan S, Ren J, Wang Q, Annis DS, Mosher DF, Zhang J, Sorenson CM, Sheibani N, and Liu B. Thrombospondin-1 (TSP1) contributes to the development of vascular inflammation by regulating monocytic cell mobility in mouse models of abdominal aortic aneurysm. Circ Res 2015 117:128-41 (PMC4490953)
  • Ren J, Zhou T, Pilli VS, Phan NM, Wang Q, Gupta K, Liu Z, Sheibani N, Liu B. Novel Paracrine Functions of Smooth Muscle Cells in Supporting Endothelial Regeneration Following Arterial Injury. Circ Res 2019 124:1253-1265 (PMC6459708)
  • Yang H, Zhou T, DeRoo, E, and Liu B. Single-cell RNA sequencing reveals heterogeneity of vascular cells in early stage murine abdominal aortic aneurysm. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2021 41:1158-1166 (PMC7904588)