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Yongmei Liu

Professor of Medicine
Medicine, Cardiology
300 N. Duke Street, Durham, NC 27701
Office hours By Appointment Only  

Research Interests


Our research program is centered on genomics, especially immunogenomics, to better understand the interplay of genetic and environmental factors in the development of diabetes, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. We have been leading the genome-wide association study of Health, Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) cohort, a population-based, multi-ethnic, and prospective cohort of 3,000 elders. Our grant, Epigenomic Study of Atherosclerosis in the Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), funded through NIH RoadMap Epigenomics Initiatives in 2009 has enabled us to collect and purify high quality CD14+ monocytes and CD4+ T cells from fresh blood, drawn from 2,800 MESA participants at MESA exam 5 (2010-2012) from four out of the six communities. Our group is among the first to show that immunogenomics (e.g., DNA methylomics and transcriptomics) of purified disease-relevant cells, in a large cohort (e.g., circulating monocytes from ~1260 subjects), has robust power and promise, to discover the biology of inflammatory diseases. These published works have yielded new genes and gene pathways potentially causal to diabetes and CVD.

Our work in this area has been continuously funded by several NIH grants, including a randomized clinical trial grant. The aims of the grants are to assess the predictive power of the identified genomic features on the incidence of inflammatory diseases, and better understand the causes and consequences of the identified genomic features. We are also examining the causes of longitudinal changes of the genomic features by repeating the epigenomics and transcriptomics profiling of monocytes at MESA exam 6. Our current projects focus on the roles of transcriptomics, epigenomics (e.g., DNA methylation, histone modification, chromatin accessibility, et.al.,) and non-coding RNAs (in particular microRNAs, enhancer RNAs) in various tissue/cell types (including monoctyes, macrophages, T cells, and adipocytes), using state-of- the-art sequencing and new single-cell genomic technologies. We also conduct mechanistic and functional studies (in vitro and in vivo experiments) to follow up on most promising signals from population-based observational studies.

 

Selected Grants


T helper cells in development of chronic inflammation and multi-morbidity

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by Wake Forest University Health Sciences · 2023 - 2028

Common mechanistic biomarkers of vascular and neuro-degeneration

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by National Institute on Aging · 2023 - 2027

Sexual dimorphism in susceptibility to emphysematous tissue injury

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by University of Virginia - Charlottesville · 2023 - 2027

PacBio Sequel IIe for GCB Sequencing Core

EquipmentMajor User · Awarded by National Institutes of Health · 2023 - 2024

Aging Biomarkers: Integrating Omic Profiles with Mechanistic Measures

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by Wake Forest University School Of Medicine · 2019 - 2024

T helper cells in development of chronic inflammation and multi-morbidity

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by Wake Forest University Health Sciences · 2023 - 2028

Common mechanistic biomarkers of vascular and neuro-degeneration

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by National Institute on Aging · 2023 - 2027

Sexual dimorphism in susceptibility to emphysematous tissue injury

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by University of Virginia - Charlottesville · 2023 - 2027

PacBio Sequel IIe for GCB Sequencing Core

EquipmentMajor User · Awarded by National Institutes of Health · 2023 - 2024

Aging Biomarkers: Integrating Omic Profiles with Mechanistic Measures

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by Wake Forest University School Of Medicine · 2019 - 2024

Race/Ethnicity, DNA Methylation, and Disparities in Cardiovascular Mortality: NHANES 1999-2002

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by University of Michigan · 2017 - 2024

Trajectories of blood-based biomarkers of AD, their determinants, and ability to predict cognitive impairment

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by National Institutes of Health · 2022 - 2023

Low-level Arsenic Exposure and Cardiovascular Disease in Multi-Ethnic Adults

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by Columbia University · 2018 - 2023

Epigenetics of Weight-Loss and Glycemic Improvement

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by Wake Forest University School Of Medicine · 2019 - 2023

A Longitudinal Epigenetic Study of Atherosclerosis

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by National Institutes of Health · 2020 - 2022

Cell-Specific genomic features of Alzheimer's disease progression Supplment

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by Wake Forest University Health Sciences · 2019 - 2022

Obesity-Related Epigenetic Changes and Type-2 Diabetes

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by National Institutes of Health · 2019 - 2022

Cell-Specific genomic features of Alzheimer's disease progression

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by Wake Forest University School Of Medicine · 2019 - 2022

miRNA Epigenetic Roles in Regulations of Cholesterol Metabolism and CVD Risk

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by National Institutes of Health · 2014 - 2019

Aging Biomarkers: Integrating Omic Profiles with Mechanistic Measures

ResearchPrincipal Investigator · Awarded by Wake Forest University School Of Medicine · 2019 - 2019