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Pengda Liu, PhD, is a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member and assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
UNC-Chapel Hill
Cancer Cell Biology

Area of Interest

The Pengda Liu Lab is interested in deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying aberrant signaling events that contribute to tumorigenesis mediated by protein modifications and protein-protein interactions. Understanding these events may lead to identification of novel drug targets and provide new treatment strategies to combat human cancer. To this end, we are interested in the potential of enzymes, and their inhibition, for generating traditional inhibitory chemical compounds or antibodies as potential therapeutic tools.

Cell signaling networks determine cell fate and aberrant activation of oncogenic signaling is a key mechanism during cancer development; however, cell-signaling networks are complicated and dynamic with fluxes in both space and time. Thus, to understand how cancer-associated aberrant cell decisions are made requires addressing the following questions through a global view of cell signaling networks, including to identify the key molecular events that lead to malignant diseases but do not occur in healthy cells and to elucidate how can cancer-associated signaling modules be targeted for cancer treatment.

Find publications on PubMed

Awards and Honors

  • Yang Family Biomedical Scholars Award, UNC School of Medicine, 2023-24
  • Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prizes for Scholarly Achievement, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2023
  • Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation Award, 2022
  • American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) Innovation Challenge Winner, 2021
  • Department of Defense Kidney Cancer Research Program Idea Development Award, 2021
  • Sapphire North America’s Return to Research Grant, 2021
  • Jefferson-Pilot Fellowship in Academic Medicine, 2021
  • Breast Cancer Alliance Young Investigator Grant, 2020
  • Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation Medical Research Award, 2020
  • Avantor Sciences Foundation Grant, 2019
  • UNC Lineberger Developmental Grant, 2019
  • Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Cancer Career Development Award (declined), 2019
  • North Carolina Biotechnology Center Flash Grant, 2019
  • Joseph Li Travel Award, 2019
  • NCTraCS Pilot Grant, 2019
  • V Scholar Award, V Foundation for Cancer Research, 2018
  • UNC IBM Junior Faculty Development Award, 2017
  • Atomwise Artificial Intelligence Molecular Screen (AIMS) Award, 2017
  • East Carolina University 40 under 40 Leadership Award, 2016
  • National Cancer Institute Pathway to Independence (K99) Award, 2014
  • NIH/NHLBI Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, 2012
  • Carol F. Volkman Award, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, 2006

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Headshot of Pengda Liu.