James Liao, MD


  • Harold H. Hines J Professor, Committee on Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition
  • Chief, Deparment of Medicine - Section of Cardiology
  • Director, Physician Scientist Development Program


MD, University of California San Francisco, 1981

Residency Brigham and Women's Hospital, 1988

Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital, 1991


The University of Chicago
5841 South Maryland Avenue
MC 6092
Chicago, IL 60637


Phone: (773) 702-1234

Website (Department of Medicine)

Lab site: Cardiovascular Research Laboratory


Vascular Biology and Cell Signaling

Dr. Liao’s research focuses on the role of statins in stroke and atherosclerosis specifically the signaling pathways that govern vascular function, in both normal and diseased states. His laboratory work seeks to translate basic findings in the vascular wall to therapeutic applications in patients with vascular diseases. He has characterized the function of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) with regards to its regulation by G- proteins, lipoproteins, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), and steroid hormones. This has led to the discovery of eNOS upregulation by statin via the Rho/Rho kinase (ROCK) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (P13K) /protein kinase B (Akt) pathway. Dr. Liao coined the term “pleiotropic” effects on statins to help recognize and emphasize the clinical importance of non-cholesterol mechanisms of statins on endothelial function and in stroke protection. In addition, Dr. Liao is interested in the role of Rac1 and Notch1 in angiogenesis and stroke and was the first to delineate a rapid “nongenomic” effect of steroid hormone through cross coupling to the P13K/Akt pathway.

Research Papers in PubMed