Xin Liu earned an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Nanjing University in China and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, where he conducted research in the laboratory of Ronen Marmorstein, carrying out structural and functional studies on the retinoblastoma and p300/CBP tumor suppressor proteins and their regulation by viral oncoproteins. Liu was a Jane Coffin Childs postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Roger Kornberg at Stanford University, where he studied the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription. He is a W.W. Caruth, Jr. Scholar in Biomedical Research of the UT Southwestern Medical Center and a CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
In eukaryotes such as humans, genomic DNA is wrapped around histone proteins to be packaged into chromatin fiber. The 3-D chromatin structure exerts a profound impact on gene expression and is associated with human diseases, including cancer and developmental disorders, when dysregulated. Liu’s research is focused on understanding the structural and biophysical basis for formation of chromatin loop and facultative heterochromatin mediated by large macromolecular assemblies. His laboratory mainly uses X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, biochemical reconstitution and deep sequencing to achieve its research goals.