Wei Liu, MB, PhD


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Personal profile


I am currently a British Heart Foundation (BHF) Intermediate Research Fellow. After I obtained my first degree in Medicine (2003) at Beijing University in China, curiosity on basic sciences research drove me to pursue PhD (2007) at Faculty of Life Sciences, the University of Manchester. Afterwards, I began my postdoctoral training to investigate the cell signalling regulatory mechanisms in cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. In 2015, I was awarded British Heart Foundation (BHF) Intermediate Fellowship, and promoted to be a Senior Research Fellow in FBMH in 2020. My research is focusing on the understanding of novel mechanisms and treatment strategies for metabolic disorders induced cardiovascular diseases.

Research interests

The diabetes mellitus is growing rapidly, about 90% of them are type 2 diabetes (T2D), which increases the risk for cardiovascular diseases. The heart is not the organ playing a central role in the pathophysiology of T2D, however, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of diabetes related mortality. Although the causes of T2D associated heart diseases are multifactorial, extensive epidemiological studies suggest that diabetes mellitus can affect cardiac structure and function independent of vascular diseases or hypertension, termed diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM) demonstrating significant impairment in cardiac metabolic flexibility. Abnormal usage of cardiac metabolic substrate (glucose and fatty acid) in diabetes leads to severe cardiac lipotoxicity, insulin resistance, ROS accumulation, and mitochondrial dysfunction, which contributes to cardiac dysfunction eventurally. However, the molecular mechanisms of metabolic responses and energy adaption are largely unknown.

The main research interest in my group is to elucidate the novel understandings of molecular mechanisms underlying adaption of cardiac energy to the changing metabolic environment  (including cell signalling pathways, endoplasmic reticulum stress involvement, pro-inflammatory cytokines stress, and epigenetic regulation, etc.). Additionally, we aim to explore the novel gene or pharmacological therapies and alternative remedies in disease conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, ischemic heart disease and heart failure. For achieving this, I would like to create gene modified animal models using Flox/Cre system, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR associated protein 9 (Cas9) system, or adeno-associated virus (AAV) delivery. In addition, induced human pluripotent stem (iPS)-cardiomyocytes will be used for prospective drug screening and development for treatment of cardiovascular disease caused by metobolic disorders.


Diabetes is the world's fastest growing disease, creating a tremendous health care and financial burden. Even without hypertension and coronary diseases, obese and diabetes mellitus can directly damage heart structure and function, termed metabolic cardiomyopathy. Fatty acid and glucose are two main ‘fuel’ to support heart beating. Normal balance of their usage is maintained in healthy heart. However, the balance is impaired in metabolic cardiomyopathy, which increases the risk of heart failure. The molecular basis and treatment for metabolic cardiomyopathy are largely unknown. My lab will investigate the novel mechanism of cardiac metabolism maintenance in disease conditions, which supports to discover novel therapeutic.

My collaborations

Xin Wang, 


Lisa Swanton

Gina Galli

Martin Rutter

Andy Trafford

Martin Pool

Alan Whitmarsh



Methodological knowledge

gene modification techniques 

molecular biological methods

cardiac function studies

metabolic biochemistry

tissue or cell culture


PhD 2007 Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester

Bachelor 2003 Medical School, Beijing University

Research interests

gene function, molecular mechanism, and treatment development of cardiovascular diseases. 


BHF Research Fellow

FBMH Senior Research Fellow

Programme Deputy Director - MRes Cardiovascular Health & Disease

Supervision information

PhD students:

Namrita Kaur, Rida Raja, Tayyiba Azam

The role of cardiac Pak2 in ischemic heart (Lucy Collins, 2021)

ERK5 as a metabolic regulator in the heart (Andrea Ruiz Velasco Hernandez, 2019)

The cardioprotective role of PRCR in the heart (Binh Nguyen, 2019)



Master students:

Rida Raja (2019)

Tayyiba Azam (2019)

Chloe Darragh-Hickey (2019)

John-Michael Emmonds (2020)

Aroon Sohail (2020)

Iwan Roberts (2020)

Yingshu Guan (2021)

Rafia Noor (2021)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Manchester

Award Date: 31 Oct 2007

Doctor of Medicine, clinical medicine, Beijing University (Peking University)

Award Date: 31 Jul 2003

Areas of expertise

  • Q Science (General)
  • R Medicine (General)


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