Shawn Liu, PhD

Shawn Liu, PhD

Research Interest

Research Summary

Our laboratory is interested in investigating the function of epigenetics, a molecular mechanism enabling our genome to integrate extrinsic signals, in brain functions and disorders. We combine molecular tool development with genetic and genomic approaches to explore epigenetic mechanisms in normal brain functions, and to uncover the epigenetic basis of neurological disorder to accelerate the development of therapeutics. We use iPSC-based system and genetically engineered mouse models to tackle these questions.

Three major research directions in our laboratory are 1) to develop CRISPR-based epigenome editing tools allowing to manipulate DNA methylation, histone modification, and 3D chromatin structures at a locus specific manner in a single cell; 2) to dissect the molecular basis of memory storage at the epigenetic level; and 3) to tackle human diseases by editing the epigenome.

  • Epigenome Editing Tool Development
  • Molecular Basis for Memory Storage
  • Tackle Brain Diseases by Sculpting the Epigenome

1. Qian, J., Guan, X., Xie, B., Xu, C., Niu, J., Tang, X., Li, C.H., Colecraft, H.M., Jaenisch, R. Liu, X.S. (2023). Multiplex Epigenome Editing of MECP2 to Rescue Rett Syndrome Neurons. Science Translational Medicine. 15(679):eadd4666. (Highlighted by Nature Reviews Neurology)

2. Shpokayte, M., McKissick, O., Guan, X., Yuan, B., Rahsepar, B., Fernandez, F., Ruesch, E., Grella, S.L., White, J.A., Liu, X.S.*, Ramirez, S.* (2022). Hippocampal cells multiplex positive and negative engrams. Nature Communication Biology. 5(1):1009. (*corresponding authors)

3. Li, C.H., Coffey, E.L., Dall’Agnese, A., Hannett, N.M., Tang, X., Henninger, J.E., Platt, J.M., Oksuz, O., Zamudio, A.V., Afeyan, L.K., Schuijers, J., Liu, X.S., Markoulaki, S., Lungjangwa, T., LeRoy, G., Svoboda, D.S., Wogram, E., Lee, T.I., Jaenisch, R., Young, R.A. (2020). MeCP2 links heterochromatin condensates and neurodevelopmental disease. Nature. 586, 440–444.

4. Liu, X.S., Wu, H., Krzisch, M., Wu, X., Graef, J., Muffat, J., Hnisz, D., Li, C.H., Yuan, B., Vershkov, D., Cacace. A., Young, R.A., and Jaenisch, R. (2018). Rescue of Fragile X syndrome by DNA methylation editing of the FMR1. Cell. 173, 1-14. (Highlighted by Nature Reviews Neuroscience and Nature Reviews Drug Discovery)

5. Liu, X.S., Wu, H., Ji, X., Stelzer, Y., Wu, X., Czauderna, S., Shu, J., Dadon, D., Young, R.A., and Jaenisch, R. (2016). Editing DNA methylation in the mammalian genome. Cell. 167, 233-247. (Highlighted by Nature)

Complete List of Published Work in MyBibliography

  • Xinyue Chen, PhD student 
  • Richard Pan, MD&PhD student 
  • Junming Qian, PhD student
  • Xiaonan Guan, FARA Postdoctoral fellow
  • Luis Flores, Postdoc 
  • Rachel Gonzalez, Postdoc 
  • Ji-Hyun Hwang, Postdoc