Brian Liau

Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
12 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: 617-496-9921

Lab Size: Between 5-10


The Liau lab is building a multidisciplinary research program at the interface of chemistry, gene regulation, and epigenetics research. Layered atop the genetic code, ‘epigenetic’ chromatin modifications have been implicated in regulating cell state and are often deregulated in human disease, suggesting that intervention in these pathways may hold great promise for potential therapeutic applications. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms that govern these epigenetic processes and gene regulation remain unclear. To address this, we are developing novel chemical biology and functional genomic approaches to illuminate such molecular mechanisms, while exploring the promise of chromatin regulators as therapeutic targets for cancer. Technology development will blend chemistry with molecular and cell biology, and downstream applications and studies will integrate functional genomics and cancer biology.


Flavahan, W. A.*, Drier, Y.*, Liau, B. B., Gillespie, S. M., Venteicher, A. S., Stemmer-Rachamimov, A. O., Suvà, M. L. & Bernstein, B. E. Insulator dysfunction and oncogene activation in IDH mutant gliomas. Nature 529, 110–114 (2016).

Pelish, H. E.*, Liau, B. B.*, Nitulescu, I. I., Tangpeerachaikul, A., Poss, Z. C., Da Silva, D. H., Caruso, B. T., Arefolov, A., Fadeyi, O., Christie, A. L., Du, K., Banka, D., Schneider, E. V., Jestel, A., Zou, G., Si, C., Ebmeier, C. C., Bronson, R. T., Krivtsov, A. V., Myers, A. G., Kohl, N. E., Kung, A. L., Armstrong, S. A., Lemieux, M. E., Taatjes, D. J. & Shair, M. D. Mediator kinase inhibition further activates super-enhancer-associated genes in AML. Nature 526, 273–276 (2015).

Lee, A. S., Liau, B. B. & Shair, M. D. A unified strategy for the synthesis of 7-membered-ring-containing Lycopodium alkaloids. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 136, 13442–13452 (2014).

Liau, B. B., Milgram, B. C. & Shair, M. D. Total syntheses of HMP-Y1, hibarimicinone, and HMP-P1. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 134, 16765–16772 (2012).

Liau, B. B. & Shair, M. D. Total synthesis of (+)-fastigiatine. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 132, 9594–9595 (2010).