Xinran Nick Liu MD, PhD

Research Scientist in Cell Biology; Director of Electron Microscopy Core Facility

Research Interests

Electron microscopy; Biological image analysis; Electron tomography; Synapse ultrastructure; Neuroscience

Research Summary

My research has been focused on 1) identifying synaptic proteins and its relation to synaptic structural specialization; 2) analyzing and characterizing the synaptic ultrastructural organization in genetically engineered animals; 3) correlating EM finding with electrophysiological recording on the mechanism of synaptic exocytosis and vesicle recycling. Currently we are: 1) developing electron tomography on synapses, this technique makes it possible to examine structural details in the 3D contest. 2) utilizing low-temperature methods to prepare cell and tissue samples aiming to reveal the dynamic events that associate with synaptic transmission or endocytosis.

Extensive Research Description

As one of the core facilities in the Medical School, We offer a wide range of services from conventional and immuno- electron microscopy to electron tomography. Our experienced staff routinely perform sample processing, sectioning and imaging for a set fee. Our facility is open to users who have had prior training in electron microscopy. The training on use of electron microscope and sample preparation is provided on a one-on-one basis throughout the year.

Selected Publications

  • Membrane adhesion dictates Golgi stacking and cisternal morphology. Lee I, Tiwari N, Dunlop MH, Graham M, Liu X, Rothman JE. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Feb 4;111(5):1849-54. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1323895111. Epub 2014 Jan 21.
  • A dynamin 1-, dynamin 3- and clathrin-independent pathway of synaptic vesicle recycling mediated by bulk endocytosis. Wu Y, O'Toole ET, Girard M, Ritter B, Messa M, Liu X, McPherson PS, Ferguson SM, De Camilli P. Elife. 2014 Jun 24;3:e01621. doi: 10.7554/eLife.01621.

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