Jia Liu received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Wesleyan University with the focus on understanding the molecular mechanisms of DNA repair in neuronal excitotoxicity and epilepsy. Following her graduate study, she joined Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai as a postdoctoral fellow. Liu’s postdoctoral work used cutting-edge genetic and epigenetic techniques and has characterized extensively the molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating myelination and oligodendrocyte development in the central nervous system in physiological conditions as well as the underlying cause for remyelination failure in multiple sclerosis. Following her postdoctoral training, she became a Research Assistant Professor at the Friedman Brain Institute at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Her current research focus is to understand the functional role of oligodendrocytes and myelination in psychiatric disorders and their causal role in psychiatric symptoms experienced by individuals with demyelinating diseases.
The goal of my research is to provide better understanding of the environmental impact through neural-glia interplay on psychiatric disorders. I use animal models combined with molecular tools to identify ways stress change gene expression in the brain and lead to depressive-like symptoms. I have demonstrated that the impaired myelination and transcriptional response preceded and accompany the behavioral consequences in stress-induced depressive-like behavior using rodent models of depression. I have also defined the mechanisms associated with impaired epigenetic regulation in oligodendrocyte as the driving force for abnormalities in these models. This body of work has changed the traditional view of oligodendrocyte function in depression and serves as the principal foundation of my laboratory.