POSITION: Assistant Professor, Tenure Stream
ACADEMIC UNIT: Biology
PLACE OF BIRTH: Shijiazhuang, CN
JOINED UTM FACULTY: 2018
“Biology is booming and the field is growing very fast in terms of both knowledge and research techniques.”
Although his undergraduate degree is in physics, Baohua Liu has since turned his attention to neuroscience. “I take the logic, reasoning and quantitative skills I learned in physics and apply them to my current research,” says Liu.
Neuroscience research, he believes, offers greater opportunities for discovery than physics.
“Physics is a mature field and the remaining questions to be studied are all big questions that can’t be answered in a single lab,” Liu says. “Biology is booming and the field is growing very fast in terms of both knowledge and research techniques. There’s much more opportunity to discover something new and something big.”
Liu’s research examines the functions of the neocortex, the outer shell of the mammalian brain. In a series of studies, he investigated how the cortical circuitry works to understand visual information, how the neocortex influences our involuntary motor actions, such as breathing and eating, and how the cortex – through its control of an innate ocular reflex – stabilizes vision as we move in the environment. This behavioral adaptation allows mammals to better survive in a dynamically changing environment. Future research will investigate the mechanism underlying this phenomenon, and will include attempts to model the circuitry to better understand its operation.
Liu is currently recruiting students for his UTM lab where they will learn cutting-edge techniques of circuitry analysis, such as two-photon functional imaging, electrophysiology and optogenetics. “There are lots of opportunities for physics, engineering and computer science students.”
Liu is delighted to be at UTM because he values excellence. “I wanted to work someplace where I could do my best and where the challenge is high. Research is internationally competitive today, and you can recruit the best students and obtain the most support if you work at the best institution.”
- Liu BH, Huberman AD, Scanziani M. (2016). Cortico-fugal output from visual cortex promotes plasticity of innate motor behaviour. Nature. 538(7625): 383-387.
- Li YT*, Liu BH, Chou XL, Zhang LI, Tao HW. (2015). Synaptic Basis for Differential Orientation Selectivity between Complex and Simple Cells in Mouse Visual Cortex. The Journal of Neuroscience: the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 35(31): 11081-93.
- Li YT*, Liu BH, Chou XL, Zhang LI, Tao HW. (2015). Strengthening of Direction Selectivity by Broadly Tuned and Spatiotemporally Slightly Offset Inhibition in Mouse Visual Cortex. Cerebral Cortex (New York, N.Y.: 1991). 25(9): 2466-77.