Bo Liang, PhD

Assistant Professor

Emory University School of Medicine

I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Emory University School of Medicine. I am also the Co-Scientific Adviser of the Robert P. Apkarian Integrated Electron Microscopy Core (IEMC) at Emory University. I am broadly interested in the structural basis and physiological function of biologically important complexes in space and time. My research interests focus on integrated approaches of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), x-ray crystallography and fluorescence light microscopy to uncover the molecular mechanisms of human disease associated macromolecular machineries. I am also interested in sampling and deciphering the structural and dynamic aspects of molecules that are critical for their biological function in real time at single molecule level. I have the motivation, expertise, leadership, and training essential to successfully lead the research programs in the Liang laboratory at Emory.

I have a successful track record of interdisciplinary research and creativity throughout my scientific career. Prior to joining Emory, I was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. I received rigorous trainings under the supervision of Professors Stephen Harrison and Sean Whelan, where I mainly focused on the structural and functional analysis of a multifunction viral RNA polymerase, the L protein of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), using single particle cryo-EM. Two significant contributions resulted from this work: 1) the determination of the first near-atomic cryo-EM structure of an asymmetric protein with less than 250 kDa, which represents a landmark in the evolution of cryo-EM; 2) the first atomic view of the RNA synthesis machinery of non-segmented negative-sense (NNS) RNA viruses. Prior to my postdoctoral training, I obtained my Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biophysics in the Institute of Molecular Biophysics at Florida State University. As a graduate student and two-time American Heart Association predoctoral fellow with Professor Hong Li, I received outstanding training in x-ray crystallography where I focused on box H/ACA ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) that are essential for ribosome and spliceosome maturation. My primary contribution was the determination of a set of crystal structures which represent key stages of the box H/ACA RNP assembly and function. Before that, I earned dual bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Computer Science at University of Science and Technology of China, where intensive multidisciplinary trainings provided me with a solid background in biology and life sciences, and critical skills in computer scripting and coding.

I am also a team player and service provider. I have successfully collaborated with many researchers and produced several peer-reviewed publications from each project. I have published high-impact articles in top journals such as Cell, Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, Molecular Cell, PNAS and so on. I have routinely attended national and international conferences and meetings. I serve as a reviewer for many national and international scientific peer-reviewed journals, and an editorial board member of the Journal of Molecular Cell Biology. Throughout my career, I have participated in multiple important services aside my scientific research. For example, I served as the president of a student organization during graduate school, a trainee committee member of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology (BCMP) at Harvard Medical School and the chair of the Harvard Medical Postdoctoral Association.

Important, I am a strong advocate of education and trainings of trainees in the Liang laboratory. I am dedicated to integrating research and education and broadening the participation of underrepresented trainees. Engaging trainees of different levels using established research-oriented methods will effectively expand knowledge in science for future generations and greatly enrich the dynamics and culture of the laboratory. My research expertise and education experience have uniquely positioned me to tackle the challenging scientific problems and advance the infrastructure and implementation of research-oriented education. Success in the programs of the Liang laboratory will greatly advance the field and promote the research education. My long-term vision is to make significant contributions to the scientific research and to promote teaching, training and learning for the next generations of students and scholars.


Mailing Address and Contact

All inquiries should address to:

Bo Liang, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Biochemistry
Emory University School of Medicine
1510 Clifton Rd. NE
Atlanta, GA 30322

Office: Room G247, Biochemistry Connector, Rollins Research Center


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