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Dongmin Liu, PhD

  • Focus area(s): Identification of bioactive compounds for preventing obesity and diabetes and promoting metabolic health; discovery of phytochemicals to delay aging
A Virginia Tech HNFE faculty member sits in a studio for a professional headshot.
1030 ILSB
  • Graduate Program Track(s): Molecular & Cellular Science
  • Fax: 540-231-5522


Ph.D., Animal Nutrition and Physiology, Virginia Tech, 2000

M.S., Animal Science, Gansu Agricultural University, China, 1992

B.S., Animal Science,  Gansu Agricultural University, China, 1989


2018 – present: Faculty, Health Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

2015 – present: Professor, Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

2010 – 2015: Associate Professor, Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

2004 – 2010: Assistant Professor, Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

2000 – 2003: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Internal Medicine, the University of Iowa Medical College, Iowa City, IA  

Selected Major Awards

  • 2013 – Research Excellence Award, Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech 
  • 2008 – Research Excellence Award, Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech
  • 2002 – Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, American Heart Association Heartland Affiliates
  • 1999 – Postdoctoral Research Award, the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

Program Focus

Research in my lab primarily focuses on two areas: 1) identifying and characterizing bioactive compounds that can be used to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes; and 2) developing novel nutraceuticals to extend healthy lifespan. We utilize tissue culture and various rodent models of obesity and diabetes to explore the food-or medicinal herb-derived small molecular compounds. His lab uses a wide range of techniques including metabolic phenotyping, immunohistochemistry, biochemical, cellular and molecular assays, glucose and lipid metabolism analyses, pancreatic islet function evaluation, as well as characterization of the cellular signaling pathways targeted by natural compounds. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop approach using natural and low-cost compounds to promote metabolic health and extend life expectancy. 

Refereed Journal Articles

  • Moore WT, Luo J, Liu D, 2023. Kaempferol improves glucose uptake in skeletal muscle via an AMPK-dependent mechanism. Food Science and Human Wellness 12: 929-941.
  • Wang Y, Wu Y, Wang A, Wang A, Alkhalidy H, Helm R, Zhang S, Ma H, Zhang Y, Gilbert E, Xu B, Liu D, 2022. An olive-derived small molecule stimulates hormone release from L-cells and exerts potent beneficial metabolic effects in obese diabetic mice. Frontier in Nutrition; 2022.1051452 (1-13).  doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.1051452
  • Nallasamy P, Kang ZY, SunX, Anandh Babu PV, Liu D, Jia Z, 2021.  Natural compound resveratrol attenuates TNF-alpha-induced vascular dysfunction in mice and human endothelial cells: the involvement of the NF-κB signaling pathway International Journal of Molecular Science 22, 12486.
  • Luo J, Si H, Liu D, Dietary anti-aging polyphenols and potential mechanisms, 2021. Antioxidants 10(2), 283.
  • Wang Y, Wang A, Alkhalidy H, Luo J, Moomaw E, Neilson AP, Liu D, 2020. Flavone Hispidulin Stimulates Glucagon-Like peptide-1 secretion and Ameliorates Hyperglycemia in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Mice. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. 64: e2070015. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201900978
  • Si H, Wang X, Zhang L, Parnell LD, Admed B, LeRoith T, Ansah T-A, Zhang L, Ordovás JM, Si, H-Z, Liu D, Lai C-Q, 2019. Dietary epicatechin improves survival and delays skeletal muscle degeneration in aged mice. FASEB Journal. 33:965-977.  doi: 10.1096/fj.201800554RR
  • Alkhalidy H, Wang Y, Liu D, 2018. Dietary Flavonoids in the Prevention of T2D: An Overview. Nutrients. 10: 438-471. doi: 10.3390/nu10040438
  • Luo J, Wang A, Zhen W, Wang Y, Si H, Jia Z, Alkhalidy H, Cheng Z, Gilbert E, Xu B, Liu D, 2018. Phytonutrient genistein is a survival factor for pancreatic β-cells via GPR30-mediated mechanism. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 58:59-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2018.04.018
  • Alkhalidy H, Moore W, Wang A, Luo J, McMillan RP, Wang Y, Zhen W, Hulver MW, Liu D, 2018. Kaempferol ameliorates hyperglycemia through suppressing hepatic gluconeogenesis and enhancing hepatic insulin sensitivity in diet-induced obese mice. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 58:90-101. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2018.04.014

Google Scholar


Oral Presentations

  • 2023, Exploring plant bioactive compounds for diabetes treatment.” College of Pharmacy, Virginia Commonwealth University, September 1.
  • 2023, Identification of novel bioactive small Molecules for obesity and type 2 diabetes Treatment”, 9th World Congress on Foods and Nutrition, Osaka, Japan. May 14-16.
  • 2023, Identification of bioactive small molecules for obesity and type 2 diabetes. College of Pharmacy, Henan University, China. August 5.
  • 2023, Identification of a novel multi-target food-derived small molecule with potent anti-obesity and anti-diabetic activities. The 11th International Symposium of Food Science. Nanjing, China. August 6-9.
  • 2022, Phytochemicals for type 2 diabetes treatment.” Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Wisdom Lake Academy of Pharmacy. November 23.
  • 2022, Identification of novel bioactive small molecules for obesity and type 2 diabetes. 6th International Conference on Nutrition and Nutraceuticals, Rome, Italy.  November 17-18.
  • 2021, Is isoflavone intake beneficial for prevention and management of type 2 diabetes? North American Chinese Society for Nutrition, July 17.
  • 2021, Identification of bioactive small molecular compounds for prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes, American Society for Nutrition Annual Meeting, June 8.
  • 2020, Identification of bioactive small molecules for the treatment of obesity and T2D. North American Chinese Society for Nutrition, July 11.