Liya Pi

Liya Pi

Research Assistant Professor

Business Phone: (352) 294-5679
Business Email:

About Liya Pi

Dr. Liya Pi obtained a M.S degree majoring in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the University of Calfornia Davis in 2000. During her time at UC-Davis, she contributed to six peer-reviewed papers (in Science, J Bio Chem, Mol Gen Genet, Plant J, Plant Cell). She obtained her Ph.D at University of Florida Gainesville in 2005. At this time, she identified connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) as an important mediator in liver progenitor/oval cell activation and liver regeneration. Within these years, five publications were generated and she was recognized as first author on two papers. One is entitled “Role of connective tissue growth factor in oval cell response during liver regeneration after 2-AAF/PHx in rats” (Gastroenterology. 2005 128(7):2077-2088) and the other is “Connective tissue growth factor with a novel fibronectin binding site promotes cell adhesion and migration during rat oval cell activation” (Hepatology. 2008 47(3):996-1004). Her postdoctoral research was about the role of CTGF in the recruitment of bone marrow-derived stem cells during angiogenesis and neovascularization. Using mouse eye and tumor models, she determined that CTGF was specifically expressed in retinal vascular beds and contributed to both the fibrovascular reaction and vascular repair by recruiting bone marrow-derived stem cells (Pi et al., Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 52(12):8701-8710). In addition, she uncovered a novel mechanism of angiogenesis mediated by CTGF through targeting a conserved cysteine knot motif present in key angiogenic regulators (Pi et al FASEB J. 2012 26(8):3365-3379). She advanced to a junior faculty position in the Department of Pediatrics at UF in 2012. Her work has revealed that CTGF functions together with integrin avb6 to regulate ductular reaction and biliary fibrosis (Hepatology. 2015 61(2):678-691). She has also identified a novel protease for CTGF in hepatic progenitor/oval cell niche (Am J Pathol. 2015 185(6):1552-1563). Her work with CTGF in liver has led to principal investigator awards from the American Cancer Society as well as NIH KO1 and RO1 grants.


Chris DiMarco Institutional Research Award
2014 · American Cancer Association
Best Poster Award in Research Day at UF Department of Pediatrics
2013 · University of Florida Gainesville, Department of Pediatrics
Elected Excellent International Student Award
2004 · University of Florida Gainesville

Research Profile

My research focuses on mechanisms of liver progenitor cell activation, liver regeneration, and liver cancer development. A combination of transgenic and gene knockout approaches are utilized to understand the genes and signalling networks involved in these processes.

Areas of Interest
  • Liver Disease
  • Stem Cell biology


2020 FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
2017 Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy
2014 Investigative ophthalmology & visual science
2012 FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
2004 The Plant journal : for cell and molecular biology


Feb 2020 ACTIVE
Regulation of the pro-fibrotic connective tissue growth factor in alcoholic liver disease: mechanisms and targeting approaches
NATL INST OF HLTH NIAAA · Principal Investigator
Feb 2016 ACTIVE
Connective tissue growth factor: an intriguing therapeutic target in alcoholic liver disease
NATL INST OF HLTH NIAAA · Principal Investigator
Jan 2012 – Dec 2016
Institutional Research Grant
AMER CANCER SOC · Project Manager


Issued June 2004


2005 · University of Florida Gainesville
2000 · University of California, Davis
1992 · Lanzhou University China

Contact Details

(352) 294-5679