Liam Chen, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

Liam Chen

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-301-2901

Office Address:
MMC 76 Mayo

Mailing Address:
Mailing Address
MMC 76 Mayo
420 Delaware
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Associate Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

Director of Neuropathology

MD, Shandong University, China, 1992

Residency in Anatomic Pathology, Harvard Medical School, 2007-2009

Fellowship in Neuropathology, Harvard Medical School, 2010-2012

Fellowship in Molecular Pathology, Harvard Medical School, 2009-2010

PhD, Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Canada, 2002

Post-doctoral fellow, Pathology, Harvard Medical School, 2002-2007


Significant progress has been made over the past two decades on the pathogenesis of individual neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), as well as their distinct neurodegenerative processes. However, different neurodegenerative syndromes have been mainly studied mechanistically in isolation. There has been a lack of concerted effort to ascertain whether and how these pathogenic processes may be linked to one another. The Chen laboratory is interested in understanding the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders, developing diagnostic markers and validating therapeutic targets. The laboratory uses an interdisciplinary approach involving Drosophila model, rodent model, iPS cells and postmortem human brain tissue to study the mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration in central nervous system.


  • Surgical Neuropathology
  • Molecular Pathology
  • Autopsy Neuropathology

Awards & Recognition

AFTD Susan Marcus Memorial Fund Clinical Research Award 2018

UTMB Team Leadership Scholarship 2018

Robert Terry Award Honorable Mention for the Best Translational Paper in Neurodegeneration, American Association of Neuropathologists 2017

McKnight Memory and Cognitive Disorders Award 2014

Davis Award for Poster Presentation, American Association of Neuropathologists 2012

Stanley Robbins Memorial Research Award, Brigham and Women’s Hospital 2009

Professional Associations

American Association of Neuropathologists 

Canadian Association of Neuropathologists 

Association for Molecular Pathology Society for Neuroscience

United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology 

College of American Pathologists



Cho SM, Geocadin RG, Caturegli G, Chan V, White B, Dodd-O J, Kim B-O, Sussman M, Choi C-W, Whitman G, Chen LL. Understanding characteristics of acute brain injury in adult extracorporeal membrane oxygenation: An autopsy study. Crit Care Med. 2020;48(6):e532-e536. doi:10.1097/CCM.0000000000004289

Donde A, Sun M, Ling JP, Braunstein KE, Pang B, Wen X, Cheng X, Chen L and Wong PC. Splicing repression is a major function of TDP-43 in motor neurons. Acta Neuropathologica. 2019; 138 (11):813–826. doi: 10.1007/s00401-019-02042-8

Rodriguez F, Brosnan‐Cashman J, Allen S, Vizcaino MA, Giannini C, Camelo‐Piragua S, Webb M,Matsushita M, Wadhwani N, Tabbarah A, Hamideh D, Jiang L, Chen L, Arvanitis LD, Alnajar H, Barber J, Velasco AR, Orr B, Heaphy CM. Alternative lengthening of telomeres, ATRX loss and h3‐k27m mutations in histologically defined pilocytic astrocytoma with anaplasia. Brain Pathology. 2019. 29 (1):126-140..

Nie SK, Tan Y, Zhang Z, Chen G, Xiong J, Hu D, Ye K, Zhang Y, Cao X, Zhang ZH, Chen L. Bilateral implantation of shear stress modifier in ApoE knockout mouse induces cognitive impairment and tau abnormalities. Frontiers Aging Neuroscience. 2018. 10:303.

Nino DF, Zhou Q, Yamaguchi Y, Chen L, Guajardo A, Kannan S, Sodhi CP, Hackam D. Cognitive impairments induced by necrotizing enterocolitis can be prevented by inhibiting microglial activation in mouse brain. Science Translational Medicine. 2018. 10(471). pii:eaan0237 

Chen L. What triggers tauopathy in chronic traumatic encephalopathy? Neural Regeneration Research. 2018. 13(6): 985-986.

Zhang F, Chen L. A 72-year-old female with an intraventricular mass. Brain Pathol. 2018. 28(4):587- 588.

Zhang Z, Nie S. Chen L. Targeting prion-like protein spreading in neurodegenerative diseases. Neural Regeneration Research. 2018. 13 (11):1875-1878. 

Sun M, Bell W, LaClair KD, Ling JP, Han H, Kageyama Y, Pletnikova O, Troncoso JC, Wong PC and Chen LL. Cryptic exon incorporation occurs in Alzheimer's brain lacking TDP-43 inclusion but exhibiting nuclear clearance of TDP-43. Acta Neuropathol. 2017;133(6):923-931. doi:10.1007/s00401-017-1701-2

Donde A, Wong PC, Chen LL. Challenges and advances in gene therapy approaches for neurodegenerative disorders. Curr Gene Ther. 2017;17(3):187-193. doi:10.2174/1566523217666171013124150



  • Anatomic and Clinical Pathology

Board Certifications

Board certified in Anatomic Pathology, Neuropathology, Molecular Genetic Pathology

Clinical Interests

Surgical Neuropathology; Molecular Pathology; Autopsy Neuropathology