Dezhi Liao, Ph.D., M.D.

Professor, Department of Neuroscience

E-MAIL: [email protected]

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 focus 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.)

  • Singh G, Liu P, Yao KR, Strasser JM, Hlynialuk C, Leinonen-Wright K, Teravskis PJ, Choquette JM, Ikramuddin J, Bresinsky M, Nelson KM, Liao D, Ashe KH, Walters MA, Pockes S.Caspase-2 Inhibitor Blocks Tau Truncation and Restores Excitatory Neurotransmission in Neurons Modeling FTDP-17 Tauopathy. ACS Chem Neurosci. 2022 May 18;13(10):1549-1557. 
  • Braun NJ, Liao D, Alford PW. Orientation of neurites influences severity of mechanically induced tau pathology. Biophys J. 2021 Aug 17;120(16):3272-3282.
  • Teravskis PJ, Oxnard BR, Miller EC, Kemper L, Ashe KH, Liao D. Phosphorylation in two discrete tau domains regulates a stepwise process leading to postsynaptic dysfunction. J Physiol. 2021 May;599(9):2483-2498.
  • Braun NJ, Yao KR, Alford PW, Liao D. Mechanical injuries of neurons induce tau mislocalization to dendritic spines and tau-dependent synaptic dysfunction. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Nov 17;117(46):29069-29079.
  • Teravskis PJ, Ashe KH, Liao D. The accumulation of Tau in postsynaptic structures: A common feature in multiple neurodegenerative diseases? Neuroscientist. 2020 Oct-Dec;26(5-6):503-520.
  • 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.

Former Graduate Students:

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

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

Picture of Dezhi Liao