Chunyu Liu, PhD
Research Associate Professor
Boston University School of Public Health
Dept of Biostatistics

PhD, Boston University
PhD, University of Maine
MA, Boston University

Chunyu Liu was trained as a statistical geneticist and has just moved from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), NHLBI, to Boston University, assuming a position of a research associate professor. She has participated in numerous projects evaluating risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). These collaborations have yielded >60 peer-reviewed manuscripts on diverse topics related to CVD, including deciphering genes related to blood pressure/hypertension, heart disease and identification of epigenetic factors for blood pressure, lipids, and body mass index. In addition, for eight years, Chunyu has taught statistical methods in epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health.
Her research spans several areas. After she joined the Population Sciences Branch and FHS, she focused on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genetics and CVD. During her tenure at the FHS, she was mentored by Dr. Daniel Levy, who encouraged Chunyu to develop the expertise in mtDNA genetics. Due to her expertise in analyzing mtDNA variants, she was the lead statistician of the mtDNA working group of the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genetic Epidemiology (CHARGE), through which a manuscript has recently submitted to Nature Genetics. Mitochondrial genetics is complex because a single human cell contains many mtDNA copies bearing age-related somatic mutations mixed with inherited mtDNA alleles, a phenomenon called heteroplasmy. Heteroplasmic mutations can only be optimally detected by deep sequencing. Studying mtDNA copy number alone with a spectrum of mtDNA mutations in relation to age-related CMD traits in large samples has now become possible thanks to whole genome sequencing (WGS) through NHLBI’s TOPMed project. At present, Chunyu has been leading the effort to develop methods to analyze mtDNA sequence variations through the Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Mitochondrial DNA working group, the world’s largest study of mitochondrial genetics. Another of Chunyu's research areas has been focused on epigenetics and CVD. She was the lead statistician of the CHARGE DNA methylation alcohol working group during 2014-2017. In addition, she has been the lead statistician to conduct epigenomewide DNA association studies with many CVD risk factors in FHS, which has yielded multiple publications in higher tier journals.

Framingham Heart Study

Boston University
Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research

Mitochondrial DNA Copy number and Sequence Variation in Relation to Age, Metabolic traits, and Alzheimer's Disease Related Phenotypes
09/15/2018 - 05/31/2022 (Multi-PI)
PI: Chunyu Liu, PhD
NIH/National Institute on Aging

Sex Differences in Alzheimer's Disease Progression: Framingham Heart Study
02/15/2021 - 02/14/2022 (Subcontract PI)
Duke University Cure Alzheimers Fund

Association Analysis of Heteroplasmic mtDNA Mutations in Whole Genome Sequencing: Methods and Application to Cardiometabolic Disease Traits
02/04/2019 - 01/31/2022 (PI)
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Mitochondrial heteroplasmy as an endophenotype of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders
07/23/2019 - 04/30/2021 (Subcontract PI)
Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine/CWRU NIH NIMH


Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

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  1. Liu C, Fetterman JL, Qian Y, Sun X, Blackwell TW, Pitsillides A, Cade BE, Wang H, Raffield LM, Lange LA, Anugu P, Abecasis G, Adrienne Cupples L, Redline S, Correa A, Vasan RS, Wilson JG, Ding J, Levy D. Presence and transmission of mitochondrial heteroplasmic mutations in human populations of European and African ancestry. Mitochondrion. 2021 Jul 21; 60:33-42.View Related Profiles. PMID: 34303007
  2. Au R, Li J, Liu C. Au et al. Response to Body mass index and risk of dementia- potential explanations for lifecourse differences in risk estimates and future research directions. Am J Epidemiol. 2021 Apr 08.View Related Profiles. PMID: 33831143
  3. Pathiravasan CH, Zhang Y, Trinquart L, Benjamin EJ, Borrelli B, McManus DD, Kheterpal V, Lin H, Sardana M, Hammond MM, Spartano NL, Dunn AL, Schramm E, Nowak C, Manders ES, Liu H, Kornej J, Liu C, Murabito JM. Adherence of Mobile App-Based Surveys and Comparison With Traditional Surveys: eCohort Study. J Med Internet Res. 2021 01 20; 23(1):e24773.View Related Profiles. PMID: 33470944; PMCID: PMC7857942; DOI: 10.2196/24773;
  4. Sarnowski C, Huan T, Jain D, Liu C, Yao C, Joehanes R, Levy D, Dupuis J. JEM: A joint test to estimate the effect of multiple genetic variants on DNA methylation. Genet Epidemiol. 2021 Apr; 45(3):280-292.View Related Profiles. PMID: 33038041; PMCID: PMC8005415; DOI: 10.1002/gepi.22369;
  5. Castellani CA, Longchamps RJ, Sumpter JA, Newcomb CE, Lane JA, Grove ML, Bressler J, Brody JA, Floyd JS, Bartz TM, Taylor KD, Wang P, Tin A, Coresh J, Pankow JS, Fornage M, Guallar E, O'Rourke B, Pankratz N, Liu C, Levy D, Sotoodehnia N, Boerwinkle E, Arking DE. Mitochondrial DNA copy number can influence mortality and cardiovascular disease via methylation of nuclear DNA CpGs. Genome Med. 2020 09 28; 12(1):84. PMID: 32988399; PMCID: PMC7523322; DOI: 10.1186/s13073-020-00778-7;
  6. Andersson C, Liu C, Cheng S, Wang TJ, Gerszten RE, Larson MG, Vasan RS. Metabolomic signatures of cardiac remodelling and heart failure risk in the community. ESC Heart Fail. 2020 Sep 10.View Related Profiles. PMID: 32909388; PMCID: PMC7754777; DOI: 10.1002/ehf2.12923;
  7. Lin H, Sardana M, Zhang Y, Liu C, Trinquart L, Benjamin EJ, Manders ES, Fusco K, Kornej J, Hammond MM, Spartano NL, Pathiravasan CH, Kheterpal V, Nowak C, Borrelli B, Murabito JM, McManus DD. Association of Habitual Physical Activity With Cardiovascular Disease Risk. Circ Res. 2020 10 23; 127(10):1253-1260.View Related Profiles. PMID: 32842915; PMCID: PMC7581630; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.120.317578;
  8. de Oliveira CM, Pavani J, Liu C, de Oliveira Alvim R, Balcells M, Mourão-Junior CA, Krieger JE, da Costa Pereira A. Triglyceride glucose index as a tool to motivate early lifestyle modification in young adults at diabetes risk: The Baependi Heart Study. Prev Med Rep. 2020 Dec; 20:101172. PMID: 32874826; PMCID: PMC7452098; DOI: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2020.101172;
  9. de Oliveira CM, Viater Tureck L, Alvares D, Liu C, Horimoto ARVR, Balcells M, de Oliveira Alvim R, Krieger JE, Pereira AC. Relationship between marital status and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in a Brazilian rural population: The Baependi Heart Study. PLoS One. 2020; 15(8):e0236869. PMID: 32745127; PMCID: PMC7398527; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0236869;
  10. Ma J, Rebholz CM, Braun KVE, Reynolds LM, Aslibekyan S, Xia R, Biligowda NG, Huan T, Liu C, Mendelson MM, Joehanes R, Hu EA, Vitolins MZ, Wood AC, Lohman K, Ochoa-Rosales C, van Meurs J, Uitterlinden A, Liu Y, Elhadad MA, Heier M, Waldenberger M, Peters A, Colicino E, Whitsel EA, Baldassari A, Gharib SA, Sotoodehnia N, Brody JA, Sitlani CM, Tanaka T, Hill WD, Corley J, Deary IJ, Zhang Y, Schöttker B, Brenner H, Walker ME, Ye S, Nguyen S, Pankow J, Demerath EW, Zheng Y, Hou L, Liang L, Lichtenstein AH, Hu FB, Fornage M, Voortman T, Levy D. Whole Blood DNA Methylation Signatures of Diet Are Associated With Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors and All-Cause Mortality. Circ Genom Precis Med. 2020 08; 13(4):e002766.View Related Profiles. PMID: 32525743; PMCID: PMC7442697; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCGEN.119.002766;
Showing 10 of 94 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 94 publications over 18 distinct years, with a maximum of 14 publications in 2017


In addition to these self-described keywords below, a list of MeSH based concepts is available here.

Genomewide associaiton study, mitochondrial DNA, DNA methylation and cardiovascular disease
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