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Xiaorong Liu

Associate Professor of Biology and Psychology
Lab Website

Office Address: 480 Gilmer Hall


B.S. Peking University, 1996
Ph.D., University of Virginia, 2002
Postdoctoral, The Scripps Research Institute, 2002
Postdoctoral, University of California San Francisco, 2003-2007

Research Interests

I have been interested in understanding the regulation and misregulation of retinal structures and functions during normal development and in diseased conditions since my PhD study. I started my own laboratory in 2008 as a research assistant professor in Neurobiology and Physiology at Northwestern University, mainly working on visual system development and function. I started my tenure-track position in Ophthalmology in 2011, around which time I expanded my research interests to investigating how visual system degenerates in mouse models of experimental glaucoma. Glaucoma is a major cause of blindness characterized by progressive retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death and vision loss. Much remains to be investigated how RGCs degenerate and die with glaucoma progression. Our research on RGC normal development and function provides unique and innovative tools to characterize RGC degeneration in glaucoma, which is much needed to advance the field. In my laboratory, we have established mouse models of experimental glaucoma to study RGC death and its underlying molecular mechanisms. We combine mouse genetics, in vivo imaging, molecular biology, and physiology techniques to study the structural and functional development of RGCs as well as how RGCs degenerate in glaucoma. Moreover, we are also interested in developing novel neuroprotection strategies to preserve vision in glaucoma. 

Representative Publications:

Grannonico, M.†, Miller, D.A.†, Liu, M.†, Norat, P., Deppmann, C.D., Netland, P.A., Zhang, H.F.* and Liu, X.* (2021). Global and regional damages in retinal ganglion cell axon bundles monitored by visible-light optical coherence tomography fibergraphy. J. Neurosci., 41 (49) 10179-10193; DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0844-21.2021 PMC8660041  

Gao, J. †, Griner, E. †, Liu, M. †, Moy, J., Provencio, I.* and Liu, X.* (2022) Differential effects of experimental glaucoma on subtype ipRGC survival and visual behaviors in mice. J Comp Neurol. 5, 30: 1494–1506, https://DOI: 10.1002/cne.25293 PMC9010357

 Liu, X* and Zhang, H.F. (2023) Characterization of retinal ganglion cell damage at the single Axon Bundle level in mice by Vis-OCT Fibergraphy Neural Regen Res (perspective) 18(1):135-136

Grannonico, M. †, Miller, D.A. †, Gao, J. †, McHaney, K.M., Liu, M., Krause, M., Netland, P.A., Zhang, H.*, and Liu, X. * (2023) Longitudinal analysis of retinal ganglion cell damage at individual axon bundle level in mice using visible-light optical coherence tomography fibergraphy Transl Vis Sci Technol. 5399,

Chang, S., Xu, W., Fan, V., McDaniel, J.A., Grannonico, M., Miller, D.A., Liu, M., Zhang, H.F., and Liu, X. (2023) Alignment of in vivo vis-OCT images with ex vivo confocal images of mouse retina J. Vis. Exp. e65237, doi:10.3791/65237

†: co-first authors; *: corresponding authors; underlined: students and postdocs from Liu lab.