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Han Liang, Ph.D.

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Associate Professor, Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Deputy Department Chair, Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Dual/Joint/Adjunct Appointment

Associate Professor, Department of Systems Biology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Regular Member, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston, Houston, TX
Faculty Member, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

Bio Statement

Dr. Liang received Ph.D. training from the Quantitative and Computational Biology program at Princeton University, which provides graduate education in the interface of biology, the physical sciences, and computational science. His PhD thesis is about RNA informatics on translation termination and alternative splicing. As a postdoctoral researcher, Dr. Liang completed three years of research on computational and evolutionary genomics at the University of Chicago, where his research was about microRNA regulation and gene duplication. Currently, Dr. Liang's research interests include the analysis of next-generation sequencing data,  the integration of cancer genomics data, microRNA regulation, and the evolutionary process of tumor cells. More information is available at

Office Address

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1400 Pressler Street
Unit Number: 1410
Houston, TX 77030
Phone: 713-745-9815
Fax: 713-563-4242

Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

2006 Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, PHD, Quantitative and Computational Biology
2001 Peking University, Beijing, China, BS, Chemistry


Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor, Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Division of Quantitative Sciences, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 6/2009-11/2014
Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Ecology and Evolution, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 5/2006-6/2009

Honors and Awards

2015-present STARS Award, The University of Texas System
2014-2016 R. Lee Clark Fellow Award, UT Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
2012-2014 Uterine SPORE Career Development Award, NIH/NCI
2011 Institutional Nominee for Mary Kay Research Fund 2012 Competition, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center
2008 SMBE Travel Award, SMBE Society
2007 RNA Conference Travel Fellowship, RNA Society
2006 Branco Weiss Fellowship Shortlist, Society in Science, Zurich
2005 Association of Princeton Graduate Alumnae Travel Fellowship, Princeton University
2001 Best Senior Thesis Award, Peking University, China
2000 Outstanding Student Award, Peking University, China
1998 Dupont Fellowship, Peking University, China

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Yuan Y, Liu L, Chen H, Wang Y, Xu Y, Mao H, Li J, Mills GB, Shu Y, Li L, Liang H. Comprehensive Characterization of Molecular Differences in Cancer between Male and Female Patients. Cancer Cell 29(5):711-22, 5/2016. PMCID: PMC4864951.
2. Liu X, Xiao ZD, Han L, Zhang J, Lee SW, Wang W, Lee H, Zhuang L, Chen J, Lin HK, Wang J, Liang H, Gan B. LncRNA NBR2 engages a metabolic checkpoint by regulating AMPK under energy stress. Nat Cell Biol 18(4):431-42, 4/2016. e-Pub 3/2016. PMCID: PMC4814347.
3. Lin A, Li C, Xing Z, Hu Q, Liang K, Han L, Wang C, Hawke DH, Wang S, Zhang Y, Wei Y, Ma G, Park PK, Zhou J, Zhou Y, Hu Z, Zhou Y, Marks JR, Liang H, Hung MC, Lin C, Yang L. The LINK-A lncRNA activates normoxic HIF1α signalling in triple-negative breast cancer. Nat Cell Biol 18(2):213-24, 2/2016. e-Pub 1/2016. PMCID: PMC4791069.
4. Li J, Han L, Roebuck P, Diao L, Liu L, Yuan Y, Weinstein JN, Liang H. TANRIC: An Interactive Open Platform to Explore the Function of lncRNAs in Cancer. Cancer Res 75(18):3728-37, 9/2015. e-Pub 7/2015. PMCID: PMC4573884.
5. Han L, Diao L, Yu S, Xu X, Li J, Zhang R, Yang Y, Werner HM, Eterovic AK, Yuan Y, Li J, Nair N, Minelli R, Tsang YH, Cheung LW, Jeong KJ, Roszik J, Ju Z, Woodman SE, Lu Y, Scott KL, Li JB, Mills GB, Liang H. The Genomic Landscape and Clinical Relevance of A-to-I RNA Editing in Human Cancers. Cancer Cell 28(5). e-Pub 9/2015. PMID: 26439496.
6. Yang JY, Werner HM, Li J, Westin SN, Lu Y, Halle MK, Trovik J, Salvesen HB, Mills GB, Liang H. Integrative Protein-Based Prognostic Model for Early Stage Endometrioid Endometrial Cancer. Clin Cancer Res. e-Pub 7/2015. PMID: 26224872.
7. Cheung LW, Yu S, Zhang D, Li J, Ng PK, Panupinthu N, Mitra S, Ju Z, Yu Q, Liang H, Hawke DH, Lu Y, Broaddus RR, Mills GB. Naturally occurring neomorphic PIK3R1 mutations activate the MAPK pathway, dictating therapeutic response to MAPK pathway inhibitors. Cancer Cell 26(4):479-94, 10/2014. e-Pub 10/2014. PMCID: PMC4198486.
8. Zhang P, Wei Y, Wang L, Debeb BG, Yuan Y, Zhang J, Yuan J, Wang M, Chen D, Sun Y, Woodward WA, Liu Y, Dean DC, Liang H, Hu Y, Ang KK, Hung MC, Chen J, Ma L. ATM-mediated stabilization of ZEB1 promotes DNA damage response and radioresistance through CHK1. Nat Cell Biol 16(9):864-75, 9/2014. e-Pub 8/2014. PMCID: PMC4150825.
9. Wang Y, Waters J, Leung ML, Unruh A, Roh W, Shi X, Chen K, Scheet P, Vattathil S, Liang H, Multani A, Zhang H, Zhao R, Michor F, Meric-Bernstam F, Navin NE. Clonal Evolution in Breast Cancer Revealed by Single Nucleus Genome Sequencing. Nature 512(7513):155-60, 8/2014. e-Pub 7/2014. PMCID: PMC4158312.
10. Yuan Y, Van Allen EM, Omberg L, Wagle N, Amin-Mansour A, Sokolov A, Byers LA, Xu Y, Hess KR, Diao L, Han L, Huang X, Lawrence MS, Weinstein JN, Stuart JM, Mills GB, Garraway LA, Margolin AA, Getz G, Liang H. Assessing the clinical utility of cancer genomic and proteomic data across tumor types. Nat Biotechnol 32(7):644-652, 7/2014. e-Pub 6/2014. PMID: 24952901.
11. Piao HL, Yuan Y, Wang M, Sun Y, Liang H, Ma L. α-catenin acts as a tumour suppressor in E-cadherin-negative basal-like breast cancer by inhibiting NF-κB signalling. Nat Cell Biol 16(3):245-54, 3/2014. e-Pub 2/2014. PMCID: PMC3943677.
12. Yang Y, Han L, Yuan Y, Li J, Hei N, Liang H. Gene co-expression network analysis reveals common system-level properties of prognostic genes across cancer types. Nat Commun 5:3231, 2014. PMCID: PMC3951205.
13. Han L, Yuan Y, Zheng S, Yang Y, Li J, Edgerton ME, Diao L, Xu Y, Verhaak RG, Liang H. The Pan-Cancer analysis of pseudogene expression reveals biologically and clinically relevant tumour subtypes. Nat Commun 5:3963, 2014. e-Pub 7/2014. PMID: 24999802.
14. Omberg L, Ellrott K, Yuan Y, Kandoth C, Wong C, Kellen MR, Friend SH, Stuart J, Liang H, Margolin AA. Enabling transparent and collaborative computational analysis of 12 tumor types within The Cancer Genome Atlas. Nat Genet 45(10):1121-6, 9/2013. PMID: 24071850.
15. Li J, Lu Y, Akbani R, Ju Z, Roebuck PL, Liu W, Yang JY, Broom BM, Verhaak RG, Kane DW, Wakefield C, Weinstein JN, Mills GB, Liang H. TCPA: A Resource for Cancer Functional Proteomics Data. Nat Methods 10(11). e-Pub 9/2013. PMID: 24037243.
16. Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network (including Liang H). The Cancer Genome Atlas Pan-Cancer analysis project. Nat Genet 45(10):1113-20, 9/2013. PMID: 24071849.
17. Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network (including Liang H). Integrated Genomic Characterization of Endometrial Carcinoma. Nature 497(7447):67-73, 5/2013. PMCID: PMC3704730.
18. Li Y, Zhang L, Ball RL, Liang X, Li J, Lin Z, Liang H. Comparative analysis of somatic copy-number alterations across different human cancer types reveals two distinct classes of breakpoint hotspots. Hum Mol Genet 21(22):4957-65, 11/2012. e-Pub 8/2012. PMID: 22899649.
19. Liang H*, Cheung LW, Li J, Ju Z, Yu S, Stemke-Hale K, Dogruluk T, Lu Y, Liu X, Gu C, Guo W, Scherer SE, Carter H, Westin SN, Dyer MD, Verhaak RG, Zhang F, Karchin R, Liu CG, Lu KH, Broaddus RR, Scott KL, Hennessy BT, Mills GB. Whole-exome sequencing combined with functional genomics reveals novel candidate driver cancer genes in endometrial cancer. Genome Res 22(11):2120-9, 11/2012. e-Pub 10/2012. PMCID: PMC3483541 (*corresponding author).
20. Chen D, Sun Y, Wei Y, Zhang P, Rezaeian AH, Teruya-Feldstein J, Gupta S, Liang H, Lin HK, Hung MC, Ma L. LIFR is a Breast Cancer Metastasis Suppressor Upstream of the Hippo-YAP Pathway and a Prognostic Marker. Nat Med 18(10):1511-7, 9/2012. e-Pub 9/2012. PMID: 23001183.
21. Kim YH*, Liang H*, Liu X, Lee JS, Cho JY, Cheong JH, Kim H, Li M, Downey TJ, Dyer MD, Sun Y, Sun J, Beasley EM, Chung HC, Noh SH, Weinstein JN, Liu CG, Powis G. AMPKα modulation in cancer progression: multilayer integrative transcriptome analysis in Asian gastric cancer. Cancer Res 72(10):2512-21, 5/2012. e-Pub 3/2012. PMCID: PMC(* co-first and co-corresponding author).
22. Yuan Y, Xu Y, Xu J, Ball RL, Liang H. Predicting the lethal phenotype of the knockout mouse by integrating comprehensive genomic data. Bioinformatics 28(9):1246-52, 5/2012. e-Pub 3/2012. PMCID: PMC3338016.
23. Li J, Roebuck P, Grünewald S, Liang H. SurvNet: a web server for identifying network-based biomarkers that most correlate with patient survival data. Nucleic Acids Res 40(W):W123-126, 5/2012. e-Pub 5/2012. PMID: 22570412.
24. Ji Y, Xu Y, Zhang Q, Tsui KW, Yuan Y, Norris C, Liang S, Liang H. BM-Map: Bayesian Mapping of Multireads for Next-Generation Sequencing Data. Biometrics 67(4):1215-24, 12/2011. e-Pub 4/2011. PMCID: PMC3190637.
25. Cheung LW, Hennessy BT, Li J, Yu S, Myers AP, Djordjevic B, Lu Y, Stemke-Hale K, Zhang F, Ju Z, Cantley LC, Scherer SE, Liang H, Lu KH, Broaddus RR, Mills GB. High Frequency of PIK3R1 and PIK3R2 Mutations in Endometrial Cancer Elucidates a Novel Mechanism for Regulation of PTEN Protein Stability. Cancer Discov 1(2):170-185, 7/2011. PMCID: PMC3187555.

Invited Articles

1. Liang H, Kim YH. Identifying molecular drivers of gastric cancer through next-generation sequencing. Cancer Lett. e-Pub 11/2012. PMID: 23178814.
2. Liang H. Decoding the Dual-coding Region: Key Factors Influencing the Translational Potential of a Two-ORF-containing Transcript. Cell Res 20(5):508-9, 5/2010. PMID: 20436511.

Grant & Contract Support

Title: MicroRNA regulation of metastasis, EMT and stem cells
Funding Source: Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)
Role: Collaborator
Principal Investigator: Li Ma
Duration: 8/1/2015 - 10/31/2015
Title: Systematic Functional Characterization of Expressed Pseudogenes in Cancer
Funding Source: Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 8/31/2014 - 8/30/2017
Title: Systematic Functional Characterization of RNA Editing in Endometrial Cancer
Funding Source: NIH/NCI
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 4/22/2014 - 3/31/2019
Title: Systematic Functional Annotation of Somatic Mutations in Clinically Actionable Cancer Genes
Funding Source: UT MD Anderson Cancer Center
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 4/1/2014 - 3/31/2016
Title: MD Anderson Cancer Center Bioinformatics Gift - The Lorraine Dell Program in Bioinformatics for Personalization of Cancer Medicine (Core Projects: Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer)
Funding Source: Michael and Susan Dell Foundation
Role: Co-Investigator
Principal Investigator: John Weinstein
Duration: 4/25/2011 - 3/31/2016
Title: An Integrative Pipeline for Analysis & Translational Application of TCGA Data (GDAC)
Funding Source: NIH/NCI
Role: Investigator
Principal Investigator: John Weinstein
Duration: 9/29/2009 - 7/31/2016

Last updated: 1/11/2016