Da Zhi Liu, Ph.D., UC Davis

Da Zhi Liu, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor

Med Neuroscience Building
1515 Newton Court, Rm 510D
Davis, CA 95618

Research Interests

During his early career, Dr. Liu came up with a new concept “Aberrate Cell Cycle Disease (ACCD)”, revealing that tumor growth in cancers and neuronal death in neurological disorders share the common mechanism of “aberrant cell cycle re-entry”. Based on the ACCD concept, he established a research program entitled “Leveraging Cancer Elements to Study Neurological Disorder and Mental Illness”. This research program has led to four patented products, such as FDA-approved cancer drugs (dasatinib, abemaciclib) and tumor suppressor microRNAs (miR-122, miR-125b) for the treatment of traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other disorders. In addition to academic pursuits, Dr. Liu founded a UCD-affiliated startup company "Mirnova Therapeutics” in the process of licensing the four patented products from the UCD, with the mission to develop safe, effective and affordable drugs.


University of California at Davis, Post-doc, Neuroscience, 2006-2010

Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, PhD, Neuro-Pharmacology, 2002-2005

Professional Memberships

Society of Neuroscience
American Heart Association
National Neurotrauma Society
Society for Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism  

Curriculum Development and Teaching

Aberrant Cell Cycle Disease (UC Davis Course #: 44276)

Wet lab research (UC Davis Course #: NEU 199)


DoD-TBIPHRP study panels (TR-DD, FP-TT, etc.)

Admission Committee (UC Davis SOM)

Research Activities and Funding

MicroRNA Therapeutics for Traumatic Brain Injury (R01NS114061)         2/15/2020- 1/31/2025
Role of the Src in Traumatic Brain Injury (R01NS089901)                        5/15/2015- 2/28/2020


Liu DZ. Methods for Treating Brain Injury. PCT/US19/019235 https://patents.google.com/patent/WO2019165267A1/en 


Liu DZ, Lyeth B. Martin R, Shahlaie K. METHODS OF USINg Abemaciclib to TREAT TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY PCT/US2022/051931


NIH Public Bibliography

Ameen SS, Griem-Krey N, Dufour A, Hossain MI, Hoque A, Sturgeon S, Nandurkar H, Draxler DF, Medcalf RL, Kamaruddin MA, Lucet IS, Leeming MG, Liu D, Dhillon A, Lim JP, Basheer F, Zhu HJ, Bokhari L, Roulston CL, Paradkar PN, Kleifeld O, Clarkson AN, Wellendorph P, Ciccotosto GD, Williamson NA, Ang CS, Cheng H C. N-Terminomic Changes in Neurons During Excitotoxicity Reveal Proteolytic Events Associated With Synaptic Dysfunctions and Potential Targets for Neuroprotection. Mol Cell Proteomics. 2023, 22: 100543.

Lui A, Vanleuven J, Perekopskiy D, Liu D, Xu D, Alzayat O, Elgokhy T, Do T, Gann M, Liu DZ.  FDA-Approved Kinase Inhibitors in Preclinical and Clinical Trials for Neurological Disorders. Pharmaceuticals. 2022, 15: 1546

Lui A, Vanleuven J, Perekopskiy D, Liu D, Xu D, Alzayat O, Elgokhy T, Do T, Gann M, Liu DZ.  FDA-Approved Kinase Inhibitors in Preclinical and Clinical Trials for Neurological Disorders. Pharmaceuticals. (Submitted, Invited review)

Lui A, Alzayat O, Do T, Perekopskiy D, Gann M, Elgokhy TS, Gao J, Liu DZ. Multi-targeted anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment of neurological disorders. Neural Regen Res. 2023 Apr;18(4):805-806. PMID: 36204844 Perspective

Ye Z, Izadi A, Gurkoff GG, Rickerl K, Sharp FR, Ander BP, Bauer AZ, Lui A, Lyeth BG, Liu DZ. Combined Inhibition of Fyn and c-Src Protects Hippocampal Neurons and Improves Spatial Memory via ROCK after Traumatic Brain Injury. J Neurotrauma. 2022 Apr;39(7-8):520-529. PMID: 35109711

Lv B, Cheng XY, Sharp FR, Ander BP, Liu DZ. Broad therapeutic window of miR-122 mimic to improve stroke outcome through indirect inhibition of NOS2. Front. Neurosci. 2018;12:767. PMID: 30405345

Liu DZ. Repurposing cancer drugs to treat neurological diseases – Src inhibitors as examples. Neural Regen Res. 2017 Jun;12(6):910-911. PMID: 28761420 Perspective

Liu DZ, Jickling GC, Ander BP, Hull H, Zhan X, Cox C, Shroff N, Dykstra-Aiello C, Stamova B, Sharp FR. Elevating microRNA-122 in blood improves outcomes after temporary middle cerebral artery occlusion in rats. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2016;36(8):1374-83. PMID: 26661204

Liu DZ. Aberrant cell cycle re-entry: Links between Cancers and Alzheimer’s disease. JSM Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia. 2014; 1(2):1006. Editorial

Jickling GC, Ander BP, Zhan X, Noblett D, Stamova B, Liu D. microRNA Expression in Peripheral Blood Cells following Acute Ischemic Stroke and Their Predicted GeneTargets. PLos One. 2014;9(6):e99283. PMID: 24911610

Liu DZ, Sharp FR, Van KC, Ander BP, Ghiasvand R, Stamova B, Zhan X, Jickling GC, Lyeth BG. Inhibition of Src Family Kinases Protects Hippocampal Neurons and Improves Cognitive Function after Traumatic Brain Injury. J Neurotrauma. 2014 Jul 15;31(14):1268-76. PMID: 24428562

Liu DZ. Mutations in Tumor Suppressor Genes: Links between Cancers and Autism Spectrum Disorders? Journal of Cytology & Histology. 2013; 5:e109. Editorial

Liu DZ, Ander BP, Cell Cycle Inhibition without Disruption of Neurogenesis is a Strategy for Treatment of Aberrant Cell Cycle Diseases: an Update. ScientificWorldJournal. 2012; 2012:491737. PMID: 22547985. Review

Liu DZ, Tian Y, Ander BP, Xu H, Stamova B, Zhan X, Turner RJ, Jickling G, Sharp FR. Brain and blood microRNA expression profiling of ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage and kainate seizures. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2010 Jan;30(1):92-101. PMID: 19724284

Liu DZ, Ander BP, Xu H, Shen Y, Kaur P, Deng W, Sharp FR. Blood brain barrier breakdown and repair after thrombin-induced brain injury. Ann Neurol. 2010;67(4):526-33. PMID: 20437588

Liu DZ, Cheng XY, Ander BP, Xu H, Davis RR, Gregg JP, Sharp FR. Src kinase inhibition decreases thrombin-induced injury and cell cycle re-entry in striatal neurons. Neurobiol. Dis. 2008 May;30(2):201-11. PMID: 18343677.