Hongxiang Liu

Associate Professor
  • Ph.D., Beijing Medical University (currently Peking University)
  • M.Sc., Henan Medical University (currently Zhengzhou University)
  • M.D., Henan Medical University (currently Zhengzhou University)

In the Lab

The sense of taste informs our nutritive choices, which are essential for life and quality of life. In mammals, taste bud cells in lingual taste papillae transduce chemical stimuli into neural signals conveyed to the central nervous system. Since 2001, my research on the development of taste organs, using a tongue organ culture system and transgenic mouse lines for functional and morphological analysis, has led to a conceptual new finding about the deviation of taste bud cells that includes a neural crest origin and demonstrated stage- and tissue-specific roles of multiple regulatory signaling pathways in the development of the embryonic tongue and taste papillae. My current research focuses on the neural crest derivation of taste bud cells characterizing (1) how neural crest cells migrate and differentiate to taste cells and (2) how neural crest derived mesenchymal cells interact with the overlying lingual epithelium for the development of taste papillae and taste buds. My research plan for the future will incorporate (1) identification of progenitor/stem cells of taste buds and (2) mechanisms of taste dysfunction associated with aging and diseases. ….Read More

Research Interest

  • Neural crest cells


  • ​Publications by Hongxiang Liu may be found at PubMed.
  • ​For more information visit the Liu Lab.

About Dr. Liu

Hongxiang was born and grew up in China. She received her M.D. and M.Sc. in Neurophysiology from Zhengzhou University, PhD in neuroscience from Peking University. She has a broad research background in neuroscience, including studies on the roles of neuropeptides in spinal modulation of inflammatory and neuropathic nociception in rodent animal models. Over the past 13 years her interests have switched into the field of developmental biology, focusing on the development and maintenance of the tongue, taste papillae and taste buds. Using transgenic mouse models and embryo/organ/cell culture system, her research program includes (1) demonstration of neural crest contribution to taste bud cells; (2) characterization of how neural crest derived mesenchymal cells, via molecular signaling pathways, interact with the overlying epithelium for regulating the development and maintenance of taste papillae and taste buds.