James Liao

Harold H. Hines J Professor Department of Medicine
Chief Section of Cardiology
Committee on Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition
Director Physician Scientist Development Program
University of Chicago

Dr. James Liao is a vascular biologist, who has made seminal discoveries in cell signaling and has helped translate basic discoveries to clinical practice. His laboratory discovered how HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors or statins exert “pleiotropic” effects, which provided the basis for statin therapy in ischemic stroke. In particular, his laboratory identified Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) as a target for statin’s pleiotropic effect, and subsequently developed a novel ROCK assay for cardiovascular risk assessment. His laboratory also identified epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs), as endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factors with anti-inflammatory properties and is developing EET analogs for cardiovascular conditions. Furthermore, his work has led to the discovery of a rapid, nongenomic action of nuclear hormone receptors, which provides a method for screening selective nuclear hormone receptor modulators for therapeutic use. Recently, his work has implicated the gut microbiome as an important mediator of arterial-venous malformations and non-surgical bleeding in patients with left ventricular assist devices.