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Cell signaling; cancer; mTOR; Akt; post-translational modification; protein-protein interaction

Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
(PhD – East Carolina University)

Trained Faculty Mentor endorsed by Office of Graduate Ed UNC Chapel Hill


2022 Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation Award
2021 American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) Innovation Challenge Winner
2021 Department of Defense Kidney Cancer Research Program Idea Development Award
2021 Sapphire North America’s Return to Research Grant
2021 Jefferson-Pilot Fellowship in Academic Medicine
2020 Breast Cancer Alliance Young Investigator Grant
2020 Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation Medical Research Award
2019 Avantor Sciences Foundation Grant
2019 UNC Lineberger Developmental Grant
2019 Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Cancer Career Development Award (declined)
2019 North Carolina Biotechnology Center Flash Grant
2019 Joseph Li Travel Award
2019 NCTraCS Pilot Grant
2018 V Scholar Award, V Foundation for Cancer Research
2017 UNC IBM Junior Faculty Development Award
2017 Atomwise Artificial Intelligence Molecular Screen (AIMS) Award
2016 East Carolina University 40 under 40 Leadership Award
2014 National Cancer Institute Pathway to Independence (K99) Award
2012 NIH/NHLBI Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award
2006 Carol F. Volkman Award, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University


Our laboratory focuses on deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying aberrant cell signaling events that contribute to tumorigenesis including but not limited to the oncogenic mTOR/Akt pathway. Understanding these events may lead to identification of novel drug targets. Moving forward, we are also interested in developing new experimental systems and tools to further understand the interplays between key cancer signaling events to connect cancer signaling, metabolism and epigenetics, with the ultimate goal of identification and development new targeted therapies to combat human diseases.


Link to all pubs

Su, S.#, Chen, J.#, Jiang, Y,#, Wang, Y., Vital, T., Zhang, J., Laggner, C., Nguyen, K.T., Zhu, Z., Prevatte, A.W., Barker, N.K., Herring, L.E., Davis, I.J.,* and Liu, P.* SPOP and OTUD7A control EWS-FLI1 protein stability to govern Ewing sarcoma growth. 2021. Advanced Science. e2004846. PMID: 34060252.

Su, S.#, Chen, J.#, Wang, Y.#, Wong, L.M., Zhu, Z., Jiang, G. and Liu, P. Lenalidomide downregulates ACE2 protein abundance to alleviate infection by SARS-CoV-2 spike protein conditioned pseudoviruses. 2021. Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy. 6(1):182. PMID:33972500. 

Boyer, J.A.*, Spangler, C.J.*, Strauss, J.D., Cesmat, A.P., Liu, P., McGinty, R.K. #, Zhang, Q#. Structure basis of nucleosome-dependent cGAS inhibition. 2020. Science. eabd0609. PMID: 32913000.

Zhang, Y.*, Ma, Z.*, Wang, Y.*, Boyer, J., Ni, G., Cheng, L., Su, S., Zhang, Z., Zhu, Z., Qian, J., Su, L., Zhang, Q., Damania, B. #, and Liu, P. # Streptavidin Promotes DNA Binding and Activation of cGAS to Enhance Innate Immunity. 2020. iScience. 23(9):101463. PMID: 32861998. 

Jiang, Y.,* Zhang, Y.,* Leung, J.Y., Fan, C., Popov, K.I., Su, S., Qian, J., Wang, X., Hanks, A. H., Ubil, E., Xiang, Y., Davis, I., Dokholyan, N. V., Wu,G., Perou, C. M., Kim, W. Y., EarP, S. H., and Liu, P. MERTK governed Novel Site Akt phosphorylation alleviates SAV1 suppression. 2019. Nature Communications. 10(1):1515. PMID: 30944303.

Liu, P.*#, Gan, W.*, Su, S., Hauenstein, A., Fu, T-m, Brasher, B., Schwerdtfeger, C., Liang, A. C., Xu, M. and Wei, W#. K63-linkage poly-ubiquitin chains bind DNA to facilitate DNA damage repair. 2018. Science Signaling. 11: pi: eaar8133. PIMD: 29871913. 

Liu, P., Gan, W., Chin, Y.R., Ogura, K., Guo, J.,Zhang, J., Wang, B., Blenis, J., Cantley, L.C., Toker, A., Su, B. and Wei, W. PtdIns(3,4,5)P3-dependent Activation of the mTORC2 Kinase Complex. 2015. Cancer Discovery. pii: CD-15-0460PMID: 26293922.

Liu, P.*, Gan, W.*, Guo, C., Xie, A., Gao, D., Guo, J., Zhang, J., Willis, N., Su, A., Asara, J.M., Scully, R. and Wei, W.  Akt-mediated Phosphorylation of XLF Impairs Non-homologous End Joining DNA Repair. 2015. Molecular Cell. 57:1-14. PMID: 25661488. 

Liu, P., Begley, M., Michowski, W., Inuzuka, H., Ginzberg, M., Gao, D., Tsou, P., Gan, W., Papa, A., Kim, B,M., Wan, L., Singh, A., Zhai, B., Yuan, M., Wang, Z., Gygi, S.P., Lee, T.H., Lu, K.P., Toker, A., Pandolfi, P.P., Asara, J.M., Kirschner, M.W., Sicinski, P., Cantley, L. Wei, W. Cell-cycle-regulated activation of Akt kinase by phosphorylation at its carboxyl terminus. 2014. Nature. 508(7497): 541-545. PMID: 24670654. 

Pengda Liu PhD
  • Phone Number

    919-966-3522 (Office Phone)

  • Address

    21-237 Lineberger Cancer Center

    450 West Drive, P. Liu lab

    Campus Box 7295

    Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7295