Qin Liu, PhD

Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology

  Email Qin Liu, PhD


Dr. Liu joined the Center for the Study of Itch at Washington University School of Medicine in 2012, after she finished her postdoctoral training in the Department of Neuroscience, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Using genetically modified mouse models and a combination of molecular, cellular, and behavioral techniques, Dr. Liu identified several novel itch receptors mediating non-histaminergic itch. Her discoveries not only reveal a novel mechanism for itch perception, but also open the door to studying both the cause and mechanism of chronic itch. Dr. Liu’s future research interests include understanding how primary sensory neurons detect itch-inducing stimuli, how itch signals are encoded and transmitted in the nervous system, and the molecular and neural pathogenesis of chronic itch conditions. Dr. Liu has been invited to lecture at many universities. She is also the recipient of 2011 Helen B. Taussig Award and 2015 Pew Biomedical Scholar Award.

Sensory Neurons Co-opt Classical Immune Signaling Pathways to Mediate Chronic Itch.

Oetjen LK, Mack MR, Feng J, Whelan TM, Niu H, Guo CJ, Chen S, Trier AM, Xu AZ, Tripathi SV, Luo J, Gao X, Yang L, Hamilton SL, Wang PL, Brestoff JR, Council ML, Brasington R, Schaffer A, Brombacher F, Hsieh CS, Gereau RW 4th, Miller MJ, Chen ZF, Hu H, Davidson S, Liu Q, Kim BS. Cell. 2017…

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A histamine-independent itch pathway is required for allergic ocular itch.

Huang CC, Kim YS, Olson WP, Li F, Guo C, Luo W, Huang AJ, Liu Q. A histamine-independent itch pathway is required for allergic ocular itch. J Allergy Clin Immunol.…

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Pirt contributes to uterine contraction-induced pain in mice.

Wang C, Wang Z, Yang Y, Zhu C, Wu G, Yu G, Jian T, Yang N, Shi H, Tang M, He Q, Lan L, Liu Q, Guan Y, Dong X,…

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Transient receptor potential A1 activation prolongs isoflurane induction latency and impairs respiratory function in mice.

Li F, Guo CJ, Huang CC, Yu G, Brown SM, Xu S, Liu Q. Transient receptor potential A1 activation prolongs isoflurane induction latency and impairs respiratory function in mice. Anesthesiology.…

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The role of the Mrgpr receptor family in itch.

Liu Q, Dong X. The role of the Mrgpr receptor family in itch. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2015;226:71-88. doi: 10.1007/978-3-662-44605-8_5. Review. PubMed PMID: 25861775

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Peptidomimetics of Arg-Phe-NH2 as small molecule agonists of Mas-related gene C (MrgC) receptors.

Hin N, Alt J, Zimmermann SC, Delahanty G, Ferraris DV, Rojas C, Li F, Liu Q, Dong X, Slusher BS, Tsukamoto T. Peptidomimetics of Arg-Phe-NH2 as small molecule agonists of…

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Activation of MrgC receptor inhibits N-type calcium channels in small-diameter primary sensory neurons in mice.

Li Z, He SQ, Xu Q, Yang F, Tiwari V, Liu Q, et al. Pain. 2014;155(8):1613-21.

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MrgC agonism at central terminals of primary sensory neurons inhibits neuropathic pain.

He SQ, Li Z, Chu YX, Han L, Xu Q, Li M, Yang F, Liu Q, Tang Z, Wang Y, Hin N, Tsukamoto T, Slusher B, Tiwari V, Shechter R,…

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A subpopulation of nociceptors specifically linked to itch

Han L, Ma C, Liu Q, et al. Nature Neuroscience. 2013;16(2):174-82.  

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Mechanisms of itch evoked by beta-alanine.

Liu Q, Sikand P, Ma C, Tang Z, Han L, Li Z, Sun S, LaMotte R, and Dong X. The Journal of Neuroscience. 2012; 32(42):14532-7. 

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TLR3 deficiency impairs spinal cord synaptic transmission, central sensitization, and pruritus in mice.

Liu T, Berta T, Xu ZZ, Park CK, Zhang L, Lü N, Liu Q, et al. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2012; 122(6):2195-207. 

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The distinct roles of two GPCRs, MrgprC11 and PAR2, in itch and hyperalgesia.

Liu Q*, Weng HJ*, Patel KN*, Tang Z, Bai H, and Dong X. Science Signaling 2011; 4(181):ra45 *Denotes equal contribution (Cover article).

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Pirt, a TRPV1 modulator, is required for histamine-dependent and -independent itch.

Patel KN, Liu Q, Meeker S, Undem BJ, Dong X. PLoS ONE. 2011; 6(5):e20559.

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TRPA1 is required for histamine-independent, Mas-related G protein-coupled receptor-mediated itch.

Wilson SR, Gerhold KA, Bifolck FA, Liu Q, Patel K, Dong X, Bautista DM. Nature Neuroscience, 2011; 14:595-602

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Mas-related G-protein-coupled receptors inhibit pathological pain in mice.

Guan Y*, Liu Q*, Tang Z, Raja SN, Anderson DJ, Dong X. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 2010; 107: 15933-8 *Denotes…

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Sensory neuron-specific GPCRs Mrgprs are itch receptors mediating chloroquine-induced pruritus.

Liu Q, Tang Z, Surdenikova L, et al. Cell, 2009; 139: 1353-65.

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Pirt, a phosphoinositide-binding protein, functions as a regulatory subunit of TRPV1.

Kim AY, Tang Z, Liu Q, et al.  Cell 2008; 133: 475-85.

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Agonists of the Mas Related Gene (Mrgs) orphan receptors as Novel Mediators of Mast Cell-Sensory Nerve Interactions.

Lee MG, Dong X, Liu Q, Patel KN, Choi OH, Vonakis B, Undem BJ. Journal of Immunology 2008; 180: 2251-2255.

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Molecular genetic visualization of a rare subset of unmyelinated sensory neurons that may detect gentle touch

 Liu Q, Vrontou S, Rice FL, et al. Nature Neuroscience 2007; 10: 946-8.

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Qin Liu named a 2015 Pew Scholar, Congratulations!

Qin Liu is among 22 outstanding young scientists named the 2015 class of Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Congratulations to Qin Liu for her achievement ! 

Read the news at the Pew Biomedical Scholars.

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