faculty portrait if available
Yong-Yu Liu
Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences
PHAR 368
ULM logo

Yong-Yu Liu, PhD
Professor, Pharmacy


Ph D

1989, Biochemistry
Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine


1984, Medicine
Soochow University School of Medicine

faculty feature photo

Biographical Sketch


1986 – 1989        Ph.D., Biochemistry

                            Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, P. R. China

1984 – 1985        Intern, Medicine and Surgery

                            Soochow University School of Medicine Hospital, Suzhou, P. R. China

1979 – 1984        M.D., Medicine & Surgery

                            Soochow University School of Medicine, Suzhou, P. R. China

Professional training:

1997 – 1999        Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular Oncology

                             John Wayne Cancer Institute, Santa Monica, California, USA

1996 – 1997        Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular Endocrinology

                            Department of Physiology and Department of Internal Medicine

                            University of Manitoba, Canada 

1993 – 1996        Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular Endocrinology

                            Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, Dept. of Internal Medicine,

                             University of Rome-Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy

Professional Experience

Professional Appointments: 

2016 –                  Professor of Pharmacology (tenured)

                             Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences

                             University of Louisiana at Monroe, Monroe, LA

2012 – 2016         Associate Professor of Pharmacology (tenured)

                             Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences

                             University of Louisiana at Monroe, Monroe, LA

2006 – 2012         Assistant Professor of Pharmacology (tenure track)

                             Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences

                             University of Louisiana at Monroe, Monroe, LA

2007 – present     Adjunct Professor

                             Department of Medicine

                             Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana

2008 – present     Adjunct Professor

                             Division of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine

                             LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

2005 – 2006         Assistant Researcher of Molecular Biology

                             Department of Molecular Cell & Developmental Biology

                             University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

2002 – 2005         Assistant Member, Assistant Director, Experimental Therapeutics

                             John Wayne Cancer Institute, Santa Monica, California

1999 – 2002         Junior Member, Breast Cancer Research Program

                             John Wayne Cancer Institute, Santa Monica, California

1989 – 1992         Assistant Professor of Biochemistry

                             Department Biochemistry and Department of Endocrinology

                            Soochow University School of Medicine, Suzhou, P. R. China

Awards and Honors:

2015               Foundation Award for Excellent in Research, University of Louisiana at Monroe

2012               Honorary Chair, the Annual Race for the Cure, Komen-NELA

2012               Distinguished Research, LBRN/NIH

2000-03         Joseph B. Gould Fellow in Breast Cancer

1995               Fellowship in University of Rome-Tor Vergata, Italy

1993-94         Fellowship of National Biomedical Institute, Italy

Patents: Ceramide-Rubusoside nanomicelles and their use in cancer therapy (PCT/US2015/029379)




Representative Publications  

1.        Hosain SB, Khiste SK, Uddin MB, Vorubindi V, Igram C, Zhang S, Hill RA, Gu X and Liu YY. 2016. Inhibition of glucosylceramide synthase eliminates the oncogenic function of p53 R273H mutant in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition and induced pluripotency of colon cancer cells. Oncotarget 7(37):60575-92 PMID: 27517620 (recommended in F1000Primer)

2.Patwardhan GA, Hosain SB, Liu DX, Khiste SK, Zhao Y, Bielawski J, Jazwinski SM, Liu Y.Y. 2014. Ceramide modulates pre-mRNA splicing to restore the expression of wild-type tumor suppressor p53 in deletion-mutant cancer cells. Biochim Biophys Acta 1841(11):1571-1580

3.Liu, Y.Y., Hill, R.A. and Li, Y.T. Ceramide glycosylation catalyzed by glucosylceramide synthase and cancer drug resistance. 2013. Adv Cancer Res 117:59-89 (citation>40)

4.Gupta, V., Liu, Y.Y. 2013. New insights on glucosylceramide synthase in cancer drug resistance and myelosuppression. Biochem & Pharmacol 2:120

5.Hosain, S.B., Hill, R.A., and Liu, Y.Y. 2013. The role of sphingolipids in modulating pluripotency of stem cells. Trends in Stem Cell Proliferation and Cancer Research by Rodrigo Resende, Henning Ulrich, Springer, ISBN 978-94-007-6210-7, p167-191

6.Gupta, V., Bhinge, K.N., Hosain, S.B., Xiong, K., Gu, X., Shi, R., Ambudkar, S., Jazwinski, S.M. and Liu, Y. Y. 2012. Ceramide glycosylation catalyzed by glucosylceramide synthase is a critical process maintaining the stemness of breast cancer stem cells. J Biol Chem 278(44):37195-205 (highlighted in ASBMB News, citation>30)

7.Bhinge, K., Gupta, V., Hosain, S.B., Meyer, S.A., Blaylock, B., Zhang, Q., Liu, Y.Y. 2012. The opposite effects of doxorubicin on bone marrow stem cells versus breast cancer stem cells depend on glucosylceramide synthase. Int. J. Biochem. Cell Biol. 44(11):1770-1778

8.Liu, Y.Y. 2011. Resuscitation of wild-type p53 tumor suppressor by disrupting ceramide glycosylation: a novel approach to target mutant p53 tumors. Cancer Res. 71(20):6295-99

9.Liu, Y.Y., Patwardhan, G.A., Xie, P., Gu, X., Giuliano, A.E., and Cabot, M.C. 2011. Glucosylceramide synthase, a factor in modulating multidrug resistance, is overexpressed in metastatic breast carcinoma. Int. J Oncol 39:425-431 (citation>40)

10.Liu, Y.Y., Patwardhan, G.A., Bhinge, K., Gupta, V., Gu, X., and Jazwinski, S.M., 2011. Suppression of glucosylceramide synthase restores p53-dependent apoptosis in mutant p53 cancer cells. Cancer Res. 71(6):2276-85 (citations>40)

11.Gupta, V., Zhang, Q. and Liu, Y.Y. 2011. Evaluation of anticancer agents using flow cytometry analysis of cancer stem cells. Methods Mol Biol. 716:179-91.

12.Patwardhan, G.A., Liu, Y.Y. 2011. Sphingolipids and expression regulation of genes in cancer. Prog. Lipid Res. 50:104-114 (Most Read Article in 2011, citations>60)

13.Liu, Y.Y., Gupta, V., Patwardhan, G.A., Yin, D., Bhinge, K., Zhao, Y., Bao, J., Mehendale, H., Cabot, M. C., Li, Y., and Jazwinski, S.M. 2010. Glucosylceramide Synthase upregulates MDR1 expression in the regulation of cancer drug resistance through cSrc and beta-catenin signaling. Mol Cancer 9(1):145 (highly accessed, citations>90)

14.Patwardhan, G.A., Gupta, V., Huang, J., Gu, X., Liu, Y.Y. 2010. Direct assessment of P-glycoprotein to determine tumor response to chemotherapy. Biochem. Pharmcol. 80:72-79 (citation>20)

15.Gupta, V., Patwardhan, G.A., Zhang, Q., Senkal, C.E., Ogretmen, B., Cabot, M.C., Jazwinski, S.M., and Liu, Y.Y. 2010. Direct quantitative determination of ceramide glycosylation in vivo: a new approach to evaluate the enzyme activity of glucosylceramide synthase. J. Lipid Res 51:866-874 (highlighted in ASBMB Today; citation>16).

16.Patwardhan, G.A., Zhang, Q., Yin, D., Gupta, V., Bao, J., Senkal, C.E., Ogretmen, B., Cabot, M.C., Jazwinski, S.M., Liu, Y.Y. 2009. A new mixed-backbone oligonucleotide against glucosylceramide synthase sensitizes multidrug-resistant tumors to apoptosis. PLoS One 4(9):e6938 (citations>40)

17.Liu, Y.Y., Yu, J.Y., Yin, D., Patwardhan, G., Gupta, V., Hirabayashi, Y., Holleran, W.M., Jazwinski, S.M., Giuliano, A.E., Gouaze-Andersson, V., Consoli, D.P., Cabot, M.C. 2008. A role for ceramide in driving cancer cell resistance to doxorubicin. FASEB J. 22, 2541-2551 (citations >100)

18.Liu, Y.Y., Han, T.Y, Yu, J.Y., Bitterman, A., Le, A., Giuliano, A.E., and Cabot, M.C. 2004. Oligonucleotides blocking glucosylceramide synthase expression selectively reverse drug resistance in cancer cells. J Lipid Res 45:933-940 (citations >80)

19.Liu, Y.Y., and Cabot, M.C. 2004. Development of a mammalian Tet-on expression cell line: glucosylceramide synthase regulates TNF--induced apoptosis. Methods Mol. Biol. 249:177-192

20.Liu, Y.Y., Han, T.Y., Giuliano, A.E. and Cabot, M.C.  2001.  Ceramide glycosylation potentiates cellular multidrug resistance. FASEB J. 15:719-730 (citations >300) 

21.Liu, Y.Y., Han, T.Y., Giuliano, A.E., Hansen, N., and Cabot, M.C.  2000.  Uncoupling ceramide glycosylation by transfection of glucosylceramide synthase antisense reverses adriamycin resistance. J. Biol. Chem. 275:7138-7143 (citation>140). 

22.Liu Y.Y., Han, T.Y, Giuliano A.E., and Cabot, M.C.  1999.  Glucosylceramide synthase potentiates cellular resistance to TNF- induced apoptosis. Exp. Cell Res. 252:464-470 (citations >80).

23.Liu Y.Y., Rajkumar K. and Murphy L.J.  1999.  Hepatic regeneration in insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 transgenic mice. J. Hepatol. 30:674-80. PMID:10207810

24.Liu Y.Y., Han T.Y., Giuliano A.E. and Cabot M.C.  1999.  Expression of glucosylceramide synthase converting ceramide to glucosylceramide impacts adriamycin resistance in human breast cancer cells. J. Biol. Chem. 274:1140-1146 (citation>280). 

Research Interests

Tumor cell response to chemotherapy and gene regulation.

We are investigating how genetic alterations affect cancer cell resistance to chemotherapy, aimed at discovering therapeutic approaches. Drug resistance or poor response to chemotherapy is a crucial reason for treatment failure, which occurs among 60% of patients with metastatic tumors during chemotherapy. Cell response to anticancer agents relies on the functions of certain group of genes involved in cells apoptosis and drug transportation, such as p53 mutation, multidrug resistance-1 (MDR1) and glucosylceramide synthase (GCS). Using state-of-the-art technologies and precision strategy in gene manipulation, we are identifying targets are causes of drug resistance in cancer cells, particularly in cancer stem cells.

Our program is distinguished by characterizing the roles of glycosphingolipids and sphingolipids playing in cancer drug resistance and in regulation of gene expression. We continuously study in:

Project 1: Glycosphingolipids and cancer stem cells. Among glycosphingolipids (GSLs), globotriosylceramide (Gb3/CD77), GD2 and others are highly associated with pluripotency of breast cancer cells. Gb2 can activate cSrc and β-catenin signaling pathways and upregulate stem cell factors.     

Project 2: pre-mRNA splicing and expression restoration of p53 mutation. Intriguingly, ceramide can restore p53 tumor suppressor and the anticancer activity in cancer cells carrying p53 mutants (deletion-, missense-mutation). Most likely, ceramide modulates pre-mRNA splicing process and the later determines cells expressing wild-type or mutant proteins by epigenetic mechanism.

Project 3: Epigenetic therapy approaches for cancer drug resistance. With collaborations, we characterize and develop nanoparticles based on natural materials to effectively deliver poor water-soluble agents targeting p53 mutant cells and cancer stem cells.        

The goal of our research interests is to discover and develop gene-based therapy that would overcome drug resistance and improve the treatments of cancers, particularly solid tumors in breast and colon.

Awards & Honors

March 2017 Ad Hoc Member.

September 2015 Foundation Award for Excellent in Reseaarch.

March 2013 NIH grant.

February 2012 Research grant.

January 2012 Distinguished Reseacher.

June 2008 Travel Grants for Emerging Faculty.

January 2008 Ajunct Assistant Professor.

January 2008 Ajunct Assistant Professor.

Courses Taught

PHAR 4036Pharmacology Lab, 1 course(s)



PHRD 4027Principles Of Drug Action Ii, 2 course(s)


PHRD 4074ENDOCRINE MODULE, 6 course(s)