Qian (Vivian) Liu

Assistant Professor

T: 514 398 xxxx  |  qian.liu3 [at] mcgill.ca (Email)  |  Parasitology Building, P-040


BSc (The Ocean University of China)
PhD (Washington State University)

Short Bio

After receiving her B.Sc. degree in biotechnology at the Ocean University of China in 2008, Vivian moved to Washington State University for her graduate study. She continued her Ph.D. study at the Center for Global Animal Health, where her projects focused on viral entry and membrane fusion. She did her postdoctoral training at the University of British Columbia from 2016 to 2020. She conducted research on virus assembly and budding, and obtained skills in developing super-resolution microscopes (single-molecule localization microscope and structure illuminated microscope) and image analysis.

Research Interests

Our goal is to investigate the interplay among pathogens, membrane-bound organelles and cytoskeleton structures as this is key to understanding 1) how pathogens cause diseases by disrupting cells’ organization and function; and 2) how we can develop therapeutics to tackle these diseases. Specifically, we are interested in mapping out the dynamics, spatial organization and stoichiometry of proteins and protein interactions within cells. The major tools used to achieve these goals are super-resolution microscopy, bio-computation, biochemistry and molecular biology approaches.

Current Research

Virus assembly and budding
Viruses are obligated intracellular pathogens. Upon entry, viruses hijack cellular machinery of host cells for genome replication and viral proteins production. These components are assembled into progeny virus particles and released from the host cells. Our projects are aiming to address questions on how viral components meet for assembly and how they escape the host cell as a virus particle.

Virus vs. extracellular vesicles
Extracellular vesicles are membrane-enclosed entities produced by cells at physiological state for cell-cell communication. They often carry proteins and mRNAs, and release them to adjacent cells by direct membrane fusion. Some non-enveloped viruses can take extracellular vesicles for a ride to escape from host cells without lysing the cells. These discoveries imply a connection between viruses and extracellular vesicles. Our goal is to reveal this connection by studying how virus interacts with extracellular vesicles

Select Publications

Q. Liu, L. Chen, H. C. Aguilar and K. C. Chou (2018) A stochastic assembly model for Nipah virus revealed by super-resolution microscopy Nat Commun 9: 3050

Q. Liu, J. A. Stone, B. Bradel-Tretheway, J. Dabundo, J. A. Benavides Montano, J. Santos-Montanez, S. B. Biering, A. V. Nicola, R. M. Iorio, X. Lu and H. C. Aguilar (2013) Unraveling a three-step spatiotemporal mechanism of triggering of receptor-induced Nipah virus fusion and cell entry PLoS Pathog 9: e1003770

Back to top