Dezhi Liao, Ph.D./MD

Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience


Research Interests:

Plasticity of dendritic spines, which are mostly excitatory glutamatergic synapses, plays important roles in learning and memory.  Addiction is believed to be a pathological form of learning.  Our studies reveal that MORs modulate the stability of dendritic spines.  We are focusing on the molecular and cellular mechanism underlying opioid addiction, particularly opioid-induced changes in the morphology and function of dendritic spines.

Selected Publications:

(For a comprehensive list of recent publications, refer to PubMed, a service provided by the National Library of Medicine.)

  • Teravskis PJ, Covelo A, Miller EC, Singh B, Martell-Martínez HA, Benneyworth MA, Gallardo C, Oxnard BR, Araque A, Lee MK, Liao D. A53T mutant alpha-synuclein induces tau dependent postsynaptic impairment independent of neurodegenerative changes. J Neurosci. 2018;38:9754-9767.
  • Liao D, Miller EC, Teravskis PJ. Tau acts as a mediator for Alzheimer's disease-related synaptic deficits. Eur J Neurosci. 2014 Apr;39(7):1202-13.
  • Lou X, Zhang J, Liu S, Xu N, Liao DJ. The other side of the coin: the tumor-suppressive aspect of oncogenes and the oncogenic aspect of tumor-suppressive genes, such as those along the CCND-CDK4/6-RB axis. Cell Cycle. 2014;13:1677-1693.
  • Miller EC, Teravskis PJ, Dummer BW, Zhao X, Huganir RL, Liao D.  Tau phosphorylation and tau mislocalization mediate soluble Aβ oligomer-induced AMPA glutamate receptor signaling deficits.  Eur J Neurosci. 2014;39:1214-1224.
  • Liao D, Miller EC, Teravskis PJ.  Tau acts as a mediator for Alzheimer's disease-related synaptic deficits. Eur J Neurosci. 2014;39(7):1202-1213.
  • Miller EC, Zhang L, Dummer BW, Cariveau DR, Loh H, Law PY, Liao D.  Differential modulation of drug-induced structural and functional plasticity of dendritic spines.  Mol Pharmacol. 2012;82:333-343.
  • Hoover BR, Reed MN, Su J, Penrod RD, Kotilinek LA, Grant MK, Pitstick R, Carlson GA, Lanier LM, Yuan LL, Ashe KH, Liao D. Tau mislocalization to dendritic spines mediates synaptic dysfunction independently of neurodegeneration. Neuron. 2010 Dec 22;68(6):1067-81.
  • Angel Y.F. Kam, Liao D, Loh HH, Law PY Morphine induces AMPA receptor internalization via calcineurin-dependent dephosphorylation of GluR1 subunit.  J Neurosci. 2010;30:15304-15316.
  • Lin H, Higgins P, Loh HH, Law PY, Liao D. Bidirectional effects of fentanyl on dendritic spines and AMPA receptors depend upon the internalization of mu opioid receptors. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2009 Aug;34(9):2097-111.

Former Graduate Students:

Katie Wiens (Ph.D. 2006, Neuroscience, University of Minnesota).

Eric Miller (Ph.D. 2013,Neurscience, University of Minnesota).