Julia Liu, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology (IBP)

Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institutes of Health, 2020

PhD, Biophysics, Harvard University, 2014

AB, Physics, Princeton University, 2008


Awards & Recognition

  • NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence, 2017
  • NHLBI Orloff Award (group award), 2017
  • NIGMS Postdoctoral Research Associate Training (PRAT) Fellowship, 2015-2018
  • NHLBI Lenfant Fellowship (declined in favor of PRAT Fellowship), 2015
  • NHLBI Director’s Award for Outstanding Translational Science (group award), 2015
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2010-2013
  • Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, 2010
  • Kusaka Memorial Prize in Physics, 2008
  • Program in Quantitative and Computational Biology Prize for Academic Excellence, 2008


Research Summary/Interests

My lab studies the role of mitochondria in generating, signaling, and responding to cellular stress, particularly in cardiac and skeletal muscle. In particular, we currently focus on how the dysregulation of mitochondrial calcium leads to physiological changes in mouse models. Mitochondrial calcium handling plays a critical role in energy production as well as cell death. To decipher the impact of calcium perturbation on multiple scales, our approaches span a variety of experimental techniques, from biochemical measurements on isolated mitochondria to live cell microscopy to in vivo phenotyping.


Puente BN, Sun J, Parks RJ, Fergusson MM, Liu C, Springer DA, Aponte AM, Liu JC*, Murphy E*. (2020). MICU3 plays an important role in cardiovascular function. Circ Res. 127(12):1571-1573. *co-corresponding

Liu JC. (2020). Is MCU Dispensable for Normal Heart Function? J Mol. Cell Cardiol. S0022-2828(20)30120-6.

Liu JC, Syder NC, Ghorashi NS, Willingham TB, Parks RJ, Fergusson MM, Liu J, Holmström KM, Menazza S, Springer DA, Liu C, Glancy B, Finkel T, Murphy E. (2020). EMRE is essential for mitochondrial calcium uniporter activity in a mouse model. JCI Insight. 5(4):e134063.

Parks RJ, Murphy E, Liu JC. (2018). Mitochondrial Permeability Transition Pore and Calcium Handling. Methods Mol Biol. 1782:187-196.

Liu JC, Parks RJ, Liu J, Stares J, Rovira II, Murphy E, Finkel T. (2017). The In Vivo Biology of the Mitochondrial Calcium Uniporter. Adv Exp Med Biol. 982:49-63.

Liu JC, Liu J, Holmström KM, Menazza S, Parks RJ, Fergusson MM, Yu ZX, Springer DA, Halsey C, Liu C, Murphy E, Finkel T. (2016). MICU1 Serves as a Molecular Gatekeeper to Prevent In Vivo Mitochondrial Calcium Overload. Cell Reports. 16(6):1561-1573.

Paek AL, Liu JC, Loewer A, Forrester W, and Lahav G. (2016). Cell-to-cell variation in p53 dynamics leads to fractional killing. Cell. 165(3):631-642.

Holmström KM, Pan X, Liu JC, Menazza S, Liu J, Nguyen TT, Pan H, Parks RJ, Springer DA, Anderson SA, Murphy E, Finkel T. (2015). Assessment of cardiac function in mice lacking the mitochondrial calcium uniporter. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 85:178-82.

Liu JC, Lerou PH, and Lahav G. (2014). Stem cells: balancing resistance and sensitivity to DNA damage. Trends Cell Biol. 24(5):268-74.

Liu JC, Guan X, Ryan JA, Rivera AG, Mock C, Agrawal V, Letai A, Lerou PH, and Lahav G. (2013). High mitochondrial priming sensitizes hESCs to DNA-damage-induced apoptosis. Cell Stem Cell. 13(4):483-91.