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Molecular Pharmacology Highlighted Trainee Author, October 2019

September 12, 2019

Xu LiuXu Liu is the Molecular Pharmacology Highlighted Trainee Author for the October 2019 issue. Dr. Liu is a post-doctoral trainee in the Department of Biochemistry at Emory University.  His mentor is Dr. Eric A. Ortlund. The Molecular Pharmacology article that earned his selection as a Highlighted Trainee Author is titled "First High-Resolution Crystal Structures of the Glucocorticoid Receptor Ligand-Binding Domain–Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Ɣ Coactivator 1-α Complex with Endogenous and Synthetic Glucocorticoids" and is available at

Dr. Liu’s research encompasses structural biology and pharmacology of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). Distinct endogenous and synthetic glucocorticoid ligands are used for the treatment of asthma, muscle dystrophy, and other inflammatory conditions and allergenic states. These drugs exert their actions through binding to GR and ultimately transactivating or transrepressing a variety of genes, which lead to both therapeutic effects and adverse side effects. He is currently comparing a novel synthetic glucocorticoid under clinical trial with two FDA-approved drugs to understand their different mechanisms of action via GR. He employs an arsenal of techniques ranging from X-ray crystallography to biophysical chemistry and cell biology.

The anticipated impact of Dr. Liu’s research is to design new dissociated GR ligands expected to be the future of corticoid-driven treatment; these ligands will preferentially induce transrepression rather than transactivation to achieve significant clinical benefits with reduced side effects.

When not in the lab, Xu enjoys reading books and practicing soccer with his kids. He also enjoys watching NBA basketball and premier league games.

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Last Updated: September 18, 2019

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