Qili Liu, PhD

Assistant Professor
Research Description: 

Animals can exhibit hunger for not only calories but also specific nutrients, which energize behaviors to search for and ingest particular types of food in response to internal nutritional deficiency. My lab aims to understand the neurobiological basis of nutrient-specific appetite, and investigate how hunger for distinct nutrients are systematically coordinated to ensure that a balanced diet is consumed. To this end, we will harness the power of the Drosophila model system and employ a multidisciplinary approach, including large-scale genetic and behavioral analyses, immunohistochemistry, functional imaging, and patch-clamp electrophysiology. These studies will shed light on the fundamental principles for the organization and modulation of motivated behaviors. Given the global obesity epidemic, illuminating the regulation of food choice guided by nutrient specific appetite may facilitate the development of novel treatments for obesity.

Primary Thematic Area: 
Secondary Thematic Area: 
Cancer Biology & Cell Signaling
Research Summary: 
Cellular and Molecular basis of nutrient-specific appetite.



Clock-Generated Temporal Codes Determine Synaptic Plasticity to Control Sleep.


Tabuchi M, Monaco JD, Duan G, Bell B, Liu S, Liu Q, Zhang K, Wu MN

A Genetic Toolkit for Dissecting Dopamine Circuit Function in Drosophila.

Cell reports

Xie T, Ho MCW, Liu Q, Horiuchi W, Lin CC, Task D, Luan H, White BH, Potter CJ, Wu MN

Branch-specific plasticity of a bifunctional dopamine circuit encodes protein hunger.

Science (New York, N.Y.)

Liu Q, Tabuchi M, Liu S, Kodama L, Horiuchi W, Daniels J, Chiu L, Baldoni D, Wu MN

Sleep interacts with aß to modulate intrinsic neuronal excitability.

Current biology : CB

Tabuchi M, Lone SR, Liu S, Liu Q, Zhang J, Spira AP, Wu MN