Nicholas B. Liaw.

Nicholas Liaw


Mechanical Engineering


Hemodynamics Induced Intracranial Aneurysm Initiation: Mechanism and Model Exploration (Completed 2013)

The role of high wall shear stress/positive wall shear stress gradient on intracranial aneurysm (IA) initiation was investigated.

-Molecular mechanism was explored using a rabbit hemodynamic IA model:

-High wall shear stress/positive wall shear stress gradient leads to increased endothelial nitric oxide synthase in the intima and increased superoxide in the media at the basilar tip, the zone of IA initiation.

-Nitric oxide from endothelial nitric oxide synthase and smooth muscle derived superoxide independently are important for IA initiation.

-Both nitric oxide and superoxide affect a common pathway involving loss of smooth muscle contractility, leading to MMP production and IA damage.

-To improve study of molecular mechanism in animal models, bilateral common carotid artery ligation was attempted in the rat and compared against the existing rabbit model:

-Hemodynamic analysis via computational fluid dynamics was successfully demonstrated in the rat.

-Rat ligation fails to generate IA damage seen in rabbits, in part due to differences and variability in vascular geometry around the basilar tip.

Residency Placement

Neurology, Jackson Memorial Hospital/Jackson Health Systems, Miami, FL

Undergraduate Education

Biomedical Engineering,
Case Western Reserve University

Thesis Advisor


  • Meng H, Xiang J, Liaw N, “The role of hemodynamics in intracranial aneurysm initiation.” Intl Rev Thrombosis, 7(1):40-59, 2012.
  • Meng H, Metaxa E, Gao L, Liaw N, Natarajan SK, Swartz DD, Siddiqui AH, Kolega J, Mocco J, “Progressive aneurysm development following hemodynamic insult.” J Neurosurg, 114(4):1095-103, 2011.
  • Tanweer O, Metaxa E, Liaw N, Sternberg DS, Siddiqui AH, Kolega J, Meng H, “Inhibition of stretch-activated ion channels on endothelial cells disrupts nitric oxide-mediated arterial outward remodeling.” J Biorheology, 24(2):77-83, 2010.

Professional/Educational Meetings/Abstracts

  • Liaw N, Dolan J, Siddiqui AH, Kolega J, Meng H, “Hemodynamics-induced intracranial aneurysm formation: independent roles for nitric oxide and superoxide.” International Symposium on Biomechanics in Vascular Biology and Cardiovascular Disease 2013 (Rotterdam, Netherlands).
  • Dolan J, Liaw N, Mandelbaum M, Siddiqui AH, Kolega J, Meng H, “Exploring the hemodynamically driven mechanisms of intracranial aneurysm formation.” International Symposium on Biomechanics in Vascular Biology and Cardiovascular Disease 2012 (Atlanta, GA).
  • Liaw N, Ionita C, Spernyak JA, Kolega J, Meng H, “Obtaining three dimensional vasculature and blood flow in the rat brain for computational fluid dynamics analysis.” Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting 2011 (Hartford, CT).
  • Gao L, Mandelbaum M, Liaw N, Natarajan SK, Siddiqui AH, Meng H, Kolega J, “Early cellular and molecular changes during hemodynamic initiation of intracranial aneurysms in a rabbit model.” American Society of Mechanical Engineering Summer Bioengineering Conference 2010 (Naples, FL).
  • Liaw N , Tanweer O, Metaxa E, Sternberg DS, Siddiqui AH, Kolega J, Meng H, “Inhibition of stretch- activated ion channels on endothelial cells disrupts nitric oxide-mediated arterial outward remodeling.” Neuroscience Research Day 2009 (Buffalo, NY), Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Poster Competition 2010 (Buffalo, NY), American Physician Scientists Association Annual Meeting 2010 (Chicago IL).
  • Mandelbaum M, Liaw N, Tremmel M, Gao L, Metaxa E, Swartz D, Mocco J, Siddiqui A, Kolega J, Meng H, “Nascent aneurysm formation at rabbit basilar terminus by hemodynamics.” Neuroscience Research Day 2008 (Buffalo, NY).
  • Paciorek A, Swartz D, Liaw N, Meng H, Kolega K, “Optimization of fibrin gel for the therapeutic treatment of cerebral aneurysms.” Biomedical Engineering Society 2007 (Los Angeles, CA).
  • Liaw N, “Manipulation of platelet targeting and liposome clearance time by the surface modification of liposomes.” Summer Program for Undergraduate Research 2004 (Cleveland, OH).


  • Honorarium for Post-baccalaureate Program Instruction, 2009
  • Brookhaven Science Associates Scholarship, 2002 – 2006
  • Robert C. Byrd Scholarship, 2002 – 2006
  • Case Western Reserve University Trustee’s Scholarship, 2002 – 2006
  • Case Alumni Association Junior/Senior Scholarship, 2005

Medical School Activities

  • Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic Manager, 2007 – 2008
  • University at Buffalo Graduate Student Ethics Committee founding member, 2012 – present
  • American Physician Scientists Association member, 2010 – present
  • Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences MD-PhD Program Council founding member, webmaster, 2008 – present
  • Logo/Graphic Design, 2002 – present

Extracurricular Interests

Comic book art, video game concept design, digital and natural media painting