Zhenhua Liu

Assistant Professor of Nutrition, University of Massachusetts

Email: zliu@nutrition.umass.edu
Z. Liu Nutrition Department Website

Ph.D.: Auburn University
Postdoctoral Training: New England Medical Center, Tufts University; Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University

Nutrition and Cancer Prevention

Diet and lifestyle are modifiable factors which play a prominent role in public health. My laboratory investigates how those factors and their metabolically-related gene variants interact to mediate the development of chronic diseases. Particularly, my research centralizes on the nutritional modulation of the Wnt-signaling pathway as it tightly relates to many chronic diseases including cancer and obesity-associated medical complications. Currently, my lab focuses on nutritional epigenetics and obesity-associated inflammation in terms of the regulation of Wnt-signaling and the prevention of cancer. We utilize cell culture and animal models, biochemical & molecular techniques, as well as systems biology approaches to understand the etiology of human chronic diseases. The ultimate goal of my laboratory is to integrate our biological findings with dietary and lifestyle strategies to diminish the burden of chronic diseases in our society.

Representative publications:

Liu, Z.*, Brooks, R. S., Ciappio, E. D., Bennett, G., Crott, J. W., Mason, J. B. 2012. TNF-α induced alterations in the Wnt signaling cascade: a potential mechanism for obesity-associated colorectal tumorigenesis. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 23: 1207-13.

Ciappio,E.D, Liu,Z., Brooks,R.S., Mason,J.B. Bronson,R.T. and Crott,J.W. 2011. Maternal B-vitamin supplementation from preconception through weaning suppresses intestinal tumorigenesis in Apc+/1638N mouse offspring. Gut. 60: 1695-1702. PMID:21659408.

Liu, Z.*, Ciappio, E. D., Crott, J. W., Brook, R. S., Mason, J. B. 2011. Mild inadequacy in multiple one-carbon vitamins elevates Wnt-signaling and promotes intestinal tumorigenesis in the BAT-LacZ×Apc1638N mouse model. FASEB Journal, 25:3136-3145. PMCID: PMC3157689.

Flood, A., Mason, J. B., Liu, Z., Cash, B. D., Schatzkin, A., Schoenfeld, P. S., Cross, A. J. 2011. Concentration of folate in colorectal tissue biopsies predicts prevalence of adenomatous polyps. Gut. 60:66-72. PMID: 21068136.

Protiva, P., Mason, J. B.,  Liu, Z., Hopkins, M. E., Nelson, C., Marshall, J. R., Lambrecht, R. W., Pendyala, S., Kopelovich, L., Kim, M., Kleinstein, S. H., Laird, P. W., Lipkin, M., Holt, P. R. 2011. Altered Folate Availability Modifies the Molecular Environment of the Human Colorectum: Implications for Colorectal Carcinogenesis. Cancer Prevention Research. 4:530-43. PMID: 21321062.

Sauer, J., Jang, H., Zimmerly,  E. M., Kim, K. C., Liu, Z., Chanson, A., Smith, D. E., Mason, J. B., Friso, S., Choi, S. W. 2010. Ageing, chronic alcohol consumption and folate are determinants of genomic DNA methylation, p16 promoter methylation and the expression of p16 in the mouse colon. British Journal of Nutrition. 104: 24-30. PMID: 20205967.

Chanson, A., Parnell, L. D., Ciappio, E. D., Liu, Z., Crott, J. W., Tucker, K. L., Mason, J. B. 2009. Polymorphisms in uracil-processing genes, but not one-carbon nutrients, are associated with altered DNA uracil concentrations in an urban Puerto Rican population. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 89:1927-36. PMCID: PMC2683003.

Liu, Z.*, Choi, S. W., Crott, J. W., Mason, J. B. 2008. Multiple B-vitamin inadequacy amplifies alterations induced by folate depletion in p53 expression and its downstream effector MDM2. International Journal of Cancer. 123: 519-525. PMCID: PMC2764718.

Mason, J. B., Choi, S. W., Liu, Z. 2008. One-carbon micronutrients and age modulate the effects of folate on colorectal carcinogenesis. Nutrition Reviews. 66: S15–S17. PMID: 18673480.

DeVos L, Chanson, A., Liu, Z., Ciappio, E. D., Parnell, L. D., Mason, J. B., Tucker, K. L., Crott, J. W. 2008. Associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms in folate uptake and metabolizing genes with blood folate, homocysteine, and DNA uracil concentrations. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 88:1149-1158. PMCID: PMC2728423.

Crott, J. W., Liu, Z., Keyes, M. K., Choi, S. W., Jang, H., Moyer, M. P., Mason, J. B. 2008. Moderate folate depletion modulates the expression of selected genes involved in cell cycle, intracellular signaling, and folate uptake in human colonic epithelial cell lines. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 19: 328-335. PMCID: PMC2759072.

Liu, Z., Choi, S. W., Crott, J. W., Keyes, M. K., Jang, H., Smith, D. E., Kim, M. Laird, P. W., Bronson, R., Mason, J. B. 2007. Mild depletion of dietary folate combined with other B-vitamins alters multiple components of the Wnt pathway in the mouse colon. Journal of Nutrition. 137: 2701-2708.

Keys, M. K, Jang, H., Mason, J. B., Liu, Z., Crott, J. W., Smith, D. E., Friso, S., Choi, S. W. 2007. Elder age and dietary folate are interactive determinants of genomic and p16-specific DNA methylation in the mouse colon. Journal of Nutrition. 137:1713-1717.

Crott, J. W., Liu, Z., Choi, S. W., Mason, J. B. 2007. Folate depletion in human lymphocytes up-regulates p53 expression despite marked induction of strand breaks in exons 5–8 of the gene. Mutation Research, 626:171-179.

Gabriel, H. E., Liu, Z., Crott, J. W., Choi,  S. W., Song, B. C., Mason, J. B., Johnson, E. J. 2006. Carotenoid, retinoid and tocopherol concentrations in serum and buccal mucosa of smokers is altered in a manner unrelated to diet. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 15:993-999.