Faculty Contact Info

OFFICE:  909 S Wolcott

              4093 COMRB

PH #:  (312) 996-1202

EMAIL:  yuruliu@uic.edu


Yuru Liu, PhD

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF PHARMACOLOGY

Research Interests

The normal alveolar epithelium is composed of two types of cells: flat type I cells, which comprise 95% of the gas-exchange surface, and cuboidal type II cells that secrete pulmonary surfactant. Injury of alveoli activates programs in potent type II cells that result in proliferation and differentiation into type I cells leading to alveolar barrier repair. Thus, type II cells function as “facultative progenitor cells” that have a crucial role in repair of the alveolar surface. We use  mouse models such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) infection-induced lung injury to define sub-population of type II cells for the progenitor cell function. We also use genetic models to define the proteins responsible for transition of type II cells to type I cells required for recovery from PA induced injury. We are currently focusing on two areas: 1) The factors that induce the progenitor cells phenotype of type II cell. 2) The consequences of functionally disrupting activated type II cells in the mechanism of chronic lung diseases.

Selected Publications

Liu Y. "Chapter 2: Type II Cells as Progenitors in Alveolar Repair" in "Lung Stem Cells in Epithelium and Vasculature", Jason Yuan and Amy Firth Ed., (Springer, New York, 2015), pp 13-33.


Chignalia AZ, Vogel SM, Reynolds AB, Mehta D, Dull RO, Minshall RD, Malik AB, Liu Y. p120-catenin expressed in alveolar type II cells is essential for the regulation of lung innate immune response. Am J Path. 185:1251-63, 2015.


Chernaya O, Shinin V, Liu Y, Minshall RD. Behavioral Heteogeneity of Adult Mouse Lung Epithelial Progenitor Cells.Stem Cells Dev. 23:2744-57, 2014.


Suresh Kumar V, Sadikot RT, Purcell JE, Malik AB, Liu Y. Pseudomonas aeruginosa induced lung injury model. J Vis Exp. Oct 29:e52044, 2014.


Liu Y, Suresh Kumar V, Zhang W, Rehman J, Malik AB. Activation of Type II Cells into Regenerative Sca-1+ Cells During Alveolar Repair. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. Dec 3, 2014 [Epub ahead of print]


Liu Y, Sadikot RT, Adami GR, Kalinichenko VV, Pendyala S, Natarajan V, Zhao YY, Malik AB. FoxM1 mediates the progenitor function of type II epithelial cells in repairing alveolar injury induced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. J Exp Med. 208:1473-84, 2011.


Liu Y, Martinez L, Ebine K, Abe MK. Role for mitogen-activated protein kinase p38 alpha in lung epithelial branching morphogenesis. Dev Biol. 314:224-35, 2008.


Liu Y, Stein E, Oliver T, Li Y, Brunken WJ, Koch M, Tessier-Lavigne M, Hogan BL. Novel role for Netrins in regulating epithelial behavior during lung branching morphogenesis. Curr Biol. 14:897-905, 2004.


Liu Y, Jiang H, Crawford HC, Hogan BL. Role for ETS domain transcription factors Pea3/Erm in mouse lung development. Dev Biol. 261:10-24, 2003.