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Liu’s Work Featured in Special Issue of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Journal

Allen Liu

A research paper authored by Allen Liu, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, will be published in the Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Journal.  The full-length article, specially selected by the co-editors of the journal, will be featured in the 2014 Young Innovators Special Issue along with approximately twelve other chosen articles.

Upon publication, the journal will endow Liu the title of “2014 Young Innovator in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering.” The journal has also invited him to present his research findings, explained in the article, at the 2014 Biomedical Engineering Society Conference. The annual meeting is scheduled to take place during the latter part of October in San Antonio, Texas.

The particular publication is one of three official journals published and headed by the BMES— a professional society comprised of almost 6,500 members. The organization’s mission states its dedication to enhancing growth of knowledge and education in the field of biomedical engineering and bioengineering across the globe. Furthermore, the society promotes using this knowledge to improve human health and well-being.

Liu’s article will appear in the 2014 September edition of the journal. The research being featured was done in collaboration with Dr. Cheri Deng, Professor of Biomedical Engineering. Their work focuses on studying the gating mechanisms of MscL expressed in mammalian cells.

MscL, short for “mechanosensitive channel of large conductance,” achieves molecular transport through increase in membrane tension in bacteria. Liu and Deng explored whether other modes of force transduction could open MscL in mammalian cells, where there are no homologs identified to date. They found that a “localized mechanical stress can mediate opening of MscL that requires force transduction through the actin cytoskeleton.” This newly discovered mode of activation might be highly valuable as a tool for mechanobiology and drug delivery research.

In his lab, Liu pursues his interest in biological signal processing at the membrane, combining both biology and engineering. Additionally, his work focuses on cellular dynamics and mechanics, especially during cell migration and clathrin-mediated endocytosis.

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