Tsung-Jen Liao, Ph.D.

Incorporating in vitro and in silico Data to Improve Drug-Induced Liver Injury Predictive Models for Supporting FDA Review Process

2022 Translational Science Interagency Fellow


Tsung-Jen Liao joined NCATS in 2022 through the Translational Science Interagency Fellowship (TSIF) Program and will conduct research on developing in silico predictive models for drug-induced liver injury using in vivo and in vitro data to support the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review process. His interests lie in using computational modeling and high-throughput screening to assist in drug discovery and improve drug safety. Liao joined the TSIF Program because it will provide him with the opportunity to learn translational and regulatory science from mentors in multiple laboratories. The interagency training between NCATS and the FDA will strengthen his knowledge, diversify his skills and broaden his insight in dealing with issues in medical and clinical fields. These experiences will enhance Liao’s future career development as an independent scientist.

Prior to joining NCATS, Liao earned his Ph.D. in biophysics, with the focus on cancer biology, in 2021 from the University of Maryland, College Park. His previous research aimed to determine the mechanisms of Ras activation by its upstream regulators and Ras downstream effectors under the mentorship of Dr. Ruth Nussinov at the National Cancer Institute at Frederick. After graduation, Liao joined the FDA as a postdoctoral fellow and investigated the association of human leukocyte antigen and indeterminate acute liver failure. His expertise includes computational simulation for protein–protein interactions and genetic analysis for clinical outcomes, and now, he is transitioning to the fields of drug–protein and drug–gene interactions. Liao is enthusiastic about solving biological problems using computational and experimental methods and believes that his unique interdisciplinary background will assist in the strategy of drug discovery and improve the clinical treatment.

Fun Fact

He makes his household milk tea every day.


  1. Liao T-J, Pan B, Hong H, et al. Whole exome sequencing reveals genetic variants in HLA class II genes associated with transplant-free survival of indeterminate acute liver failure. Clin Transl Gastroenterol. 2022;13(7):e00502. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35905417
  2. Liao T-J, Jang H, Fushman D, Nussinov R. SOS1 interacts with Grb2 through regions that induce closed nSH3 conformations. J Chem Phys 2020;153(4):045106. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32752665
  3. Liao T-J, Jang H, Nussinov R, Fushman D. High-affinity interactions of the nSH3/cSH3 domains of Grb2 with the C-terminal proline-rich domain of SOS1. J Am Chem Soc. 2020;142(7):3401–3411. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31970984
  4. Liao T-J, Jang H, Fushman D, Nussinov R. Allosteric KRas4B can modulate SOS1 fast and slow Ras activation cycles. Biophys J. 2018;115(4):629–641. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30097175
  5. Liao T-J, Tsai C-J, Jang H, Fushman D, Nussinov R. RASSF5: An MST activator and tumor suppressor in vivo but opposite in vitro. Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2016;41:217–224. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27643882