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Li Liu

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Informatics


 (480) 727-9813


  • M.D. Medicine, Peking Union Medical College 1999

  • M.S. Information System, New Jersey Institute of Technology 2001


Dr. Liu is an assistant professor of Biomedical Informatics and the director of the Bioinformatics Core Facility at Arizona State University. She holds an M.D. degree in Medicine and an M.S. degree in Information System. As a trained clinician and a bioinformatics researcher, she fully appreciates the critical roles genomic medicine and bioinformatics play in advancing precision medicine. By integrating genomic, phylogenetic, population genetic, statistical and machine-learning techniques, Dr. Liu and her research team investigate clinical and molecular signatures of human diseases, and develop novel computational methods to discover biomarkers for early diagnosis and accurate prediction of therapeutic responses for individual patients. Before joining ASU, Dr. Liu helped build and directed the bioinformatics core facility at University of Florida.

Research Interests

Dr. Liu’s research focuses on developing and applying computational methods to advance precision medicine, with a special aspect of incorporating evolutionary and functional information in model construction. Via close collaborations with biomedical and clinical researchers world-wide, she aims to translate bioinformatics discoveries into improvements in patient care. Her past and current research projects include:

  • Development of a novel evolution-informed modeling approach to discover biomarkers for accurate prediction of treatment outcomes. This method has been applied to leukemia, prostate cancer, breast cancer and bladder cancer.
  • Optimization of anticancer therapy by understanding intratumor heterogeneity via subclonal reconstruction.
  • Multi-task learning to discover biomarkers for complex diseases in under-represented populations. This method has been applied to type-2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Novel method for eQTL analysis with flexible LD structure and tree-guided group lasso. This method has been applied to inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Diagnosis of deleterious variants in personal exomes using evolutionary profiles. Methods have been developed for Mendelian diseases and differential drug responses.
  • Investigate evolutionary origins of human disease.
  • Assessment of biodiversity in immunoglobulin pools for autoimmune diseases.
  • Method development and analysis of metagenomics data.

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Research Publications

Kumar S, Sanderford M, Gray VE, Ye J, Liu L (2012) Evolutionary Diagnosis Method for Variants in Personal Exomes. Nature Methods 9(9):855-6

Kumar S, Liu L. (2014) No positive selection for G-allele in a p53 response element in Europeans. Cell 157(7):1497-1499

Liu L, Tamura K, Sanderford M, Gray VE, Kumar S (2016) A Molecular Evolutionary Reference for the Human Variome. Molecular Biology and Evolution 33(1):245-54

Liu L, Kumar S. (2013) Evolutionary balancing is critical for correctly forecasting disease associated amino acid variants. Molecular Biology and Evolution 30(6):1252-7

Liu L, Chang Y, Yang T, Noren DP, Long B, Kornblau S. Qutub A, Ye J (2016) Evolution-informed Modeling Improves Outcome Prediction for Cancers. Evolutionary Applications 10.1111/eva.12417

Gerek ZN, Liu L, Gerold K, Biparva P, Thomas ED, Kumar S. (2015) Evolutionary Diagnosis of non-synonymous variants involved in differential drug response. BMC Medical Genomics 8(1):534

Yin L, Liu L, Sun Y, Hou W, Lowe AC, Gardner BP, Salemi M, Williams WB, Farmerie WG, Sleasman JW, Goodenow MM (2012) High-resolution deep sequencing reveals biodiversity, population structure, and persistence of HIV-1 quasispecies within host ecosystems. Retrovirology 9:108

Sun Y, Cai YP, Liu L, Yu F, Farrell M, McKendree W, Farmerie WG. (2009) ESPRIT: estimating species richness using large collectins of 16S rRNA shotgun sequences. Nucleic Acid Research 37(10):e76

Moroz LL, Edwards JR, Puthanveettil SV, Kohn A, Ha T, Heyland A, Knudsen B, Sahni A, Yu F, Liu L, Jezzini S, Sadreyev R, Lovell P, Iannucculli W, Chen M, Nguyen T, Sheng H, Shaw R, Kalachikov S, Panchin Y, Farmerie WG, Russo JJ, Ju J, Kandel ER (2006) The Neuronal Transcriptome of Aplysia californica: A Platform for the Neurogenomics of Defined Neurons, Neuronal Compartments and Neuronal Circuitry. Cell. 127(7):1453-1467

Cousins RJ, Blanchard RK, Popp MP, Liu L, Cao J, Moore JB and Green CL.  (2003) A Global View of the Selectivity of Zinc Deprivation and Excess on Genes Expressed in Human THP-1 Mononuclear Cells, PNAS, 100:6952-6957.