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Zhenhua Liu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Graduate Prgroam Director of Nutrition

Research Areas:

B-vitamins, Folate Metabolism, Nutritional Epigenetics, Obesity and Inflammation, Cancer Prevention

Current Research
Diet and lifestyle are modifiable factors which play prominent roles in public health. My laboratory investigates how those factors and their metabolically-related gene variants interact to mediate the development of chronic diseases. Particularly, my research centralizes on the nutritional modulation of the Wnt-signaling pathway as it tightly relates to many chronic diseases including cancer and obesity-associated medical complications. Currently, my laboratory focuses on Nutritional Epigenetics and Obesity-associated Inflammation in the context of the regulation of Wnt pathway and the prevention of cancer. We utilize cell culture and animals, biochemical & molecular techniques, as well as functional genomics and systems biology approaches to understand the etiology of human chronic diseases. The ultimate goal of my laboratory is to integrate our biological findings with dietary and lifestyle strategies to diminish the burden of chronic diseases in our society. - See more at: www.umass.edu/sphhs/person/faculty/zhenhua-liu#sthash.wFvq52Pr.dpuf

Learn more at www.umass.edu/sphhs/person/faculty/zhenhua-liu

Academic Background

  • BS Hunan Agricultural University, Hunan, P.R.C.
  • MS China Agricultural University, Beijing, P.R.C.
  • MS Auburn University
  • PhD Auburn University
  • Postdoctoral Training: Tufts University-New England Medical Center and Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University
Li J, Frederick AM, Jin Y, Guo C, Xiao H, Wood RJ, Liu Z. 2019. The prevention of a high dose of vitamin D or its combination with sulforaphane on intestinal inflammation and tumorigenesis in Apc1638N mice fed a high-fat diet. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. 63(4):e1800824.PMID: 30447137.
Pfalzer AC, Leung K, Crott JW, Kim SJ, Tai AK, Parnell LD, Kamanu FK, Liu Z, Rogers G, Shea MK, Garcia PE, Mason JB. 2018. Incremental elevations of TNF-α and IL-6 in the human colon and pro-cancerous changes in the mucosal transcriptome accompany adiposity. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 27(12):1416-1423. PMID: 30291114
Kadappan AS, Chi Guo C, Gumus CE, Bessey A, Wood RJ, McClements DJ, Liu Z. 2018. The efficacy of nanoemulsion-based delivery to improve vitamin D absorption: comparison of in vitro and in vivo studies. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. 62(4). 62(4). PMID: 2+266712.
Wang W, Yang J, Zhang J, Wang Y, Hwang SH, Qi W, Wan D, Kim D, Sun J, Sanidad KZ, Yang H, Park Y, Liu JY, Zhao X, Zheng X, Liu Z, Hammock BD, Zhang G. 2018. Lipidomic profiling reveals soluble epoxide hydrolase as a therapeutic target of obesity-induced colonic inflammation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 115:5283-5288.
Bird JK, Ronnenberg, AG, Choi, SW, Du, F, Mason, JB, Liu Z. 2015. Obesity is associated with an increased red blood cell folate despite lower dietary intakes and serum concentrations. Journal of Nutrition. 145:79-86. PMID: 25527662.
Llanos AA, Marian C, Brasky TM, Dumitrescu RG, Liu Z, Mason JB, Makambi KH, Spear SL, Kallakury BV, Freudenheim JL, Shields PG. 2015. Associations between genetic variation in one-carbon metabolism and LINE-1 DNA methylation in histologically normal breast tissues. Epigenetics. 10: 727-735
Liu Z, Brooks RS, Ciappio ED, Kim SJ, Crott JW, Bennett G, Greenberg AS, Mason JB. 2012. Diet-induced obesity elevates colonic TNF-α in mice and is accompanied by an activation of Wnt signaling: a mechanism for obesity-associated colorectal cancer. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 23: 1207-13. PMID: 22209007 PMCID: PMC4142203
Flood, A., Mason, J. B., Liu, Z., Cash, B. D., Schatzkin, A., Schoenfeld, P. S., Cross, A. J. 2011. Concentration of folate in colorectal tissue biopsies predicts prevalence of adenomatous polyps. Gut, 60:66-72.
Liu, Z, Ciappio, E. D., Crott, J. W., Brook, R. S., Mason, J. B. 2011. Mild inadequacy in multiple one-carbon vitamins elevates Wnt-signaling and promotes intestinal tumorigenesis in the BAT-LacZ×Apc1638N mouse
Liu Z, Choi SW, Crott JW, Keyes MK, Jang H, Smith DE, Kim M, Laird PW, Bronson R, Mason JB. 2007. Mild depletion of dietary folate combined with other B-vitamins alters multiple components of the Wnt pathway in the mouse colon. Journal of Nutrition. 137: 2701-2708.
Contact Info

School of Public Health and Health Sciences

Department of Nutrition

Office: Chenoweth 210C

100 Holdsworth Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9292

(413) 545-1075