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Juan                           Liu

Juan Liu PhD

Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences

Assistant Professor

Professional Summary:

"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution", Theodosius Dobzhansky (1973)

I am an evolutionary biologist and vertebrate paleontologist who studies both living and extinct fishes. My research interests span their systematic interrelationships (phylogeny), age and growth characteristics through ontogeny and evolution, and morphological responses and pathological changes to environmental toxicity and climate changes. I currently focus on Otophysi fishes including suckers, carps, and Zebrafish (Cypriniformes), as well as Asian and North American catfishes (Siluriformes). My lab uses the methods in both descriptive and quantitative anatomy including computational tomography for digital anatomy, 3-D printing for visual aids, geometric morphometrics for quantitative anatomy analysis, and bone histology for characterization of pathologies.

Phylogeny is the omnipresent context of evolutionary biology. My laboratory research centers around (1) exploring the utility of anatomical features for estimating phylogeny, (2) describing important fossil taxa to provide deep-time longitudinal data for macroevolutionary studies, and (3) conducting integrated analyses that combine anatomical features with molecular data phylogenetic reconstruction and divergence time estimates.

There is a general correlation between form (anatomy) and function, as well as morphological adaptions and ecological roles, among organisms. My laboratory employs techniques involving (1) digitization of form using geometric morphometrics to explore the correlations of body shape changes and ecological niches, as well as structures and functions. We also examine and digitize age and growth characteristics preserved on fish otoliths and bones to infer organisms’ responses to environmental changes at the geological timescale level.

Zebrafish is a powerful model organism for vertebrate biology and biomedical sciences. My lab uses Zebrafish for experiments on environmental toxicity, development of bone structures, and functional anatomy simulations.

Education and Training:
  • PhD, Systematics and Evolution, University of Alberta (2016)
  • MS, Paleontology and Biostratigraphy, Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (2009)
  • BS, Biological Sciences, Anhui Univercity (2005)
  • Assistant Professor, Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, University at Buffalo (2017-present)
  • Teaching & Research Assistant, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Canada (2009–2014)
  • Research Fellow, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China (2009)

Journal Articles:

Professional Memberships:
  • Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (2010–present)
  • University of Alberta Palaeontological Society (2009–2013)
  • Chinese Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (2006–2008)

School News:
In the Media:

Clinical Specialties:
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Contact Information

309 Farber Hall
Buffalo, NY 14214
Phone: 716-829-3276
Fax: 716-829-2911

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