Faculty Profile

James Liao
Section of Cardiology
Professor of Medicine
Referring Physician Access Line: 1-877-DOM-2730
Chief, Section of Cardiology;Harold H. Hines Jr. Professor; Director, Physician Scientist Development Program

Academic Interests

Dr. Liao’s research focuses on the role of statins in stroke and atherosclerosis specifically the signaling pathways that govern vascular function, in both normal and diseased states. His laboratory work seeks to translate basic findings in the vascular wall to therapeutic applications in patients with vascular diseases. He has characterized the function of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) with regards to its regulation by G- proteins, lipoproteins, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), and steroid hormones. This has led to the discovery of eNOS upregulation by statin via the Rho/Rho kinase (ROCK) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (P13K) /protein kinase B (Akt) pathway. Dr. Liao coined the term “pleiotropic” effects on statins to help recognize and emphasize the clinical importance of non-cholesterol mechanisms of statins on endothelial function and in stroke protection. In addition, Dr. Liao is interested in the role of Rac1 and Notch1 in angiogenesis and stroke and was the first to delineate a rapid “nongenomic” effect of steroid hormone through cross coupling to the P13K/Akt pathway.

Clinical Interests

Dyslipidemia and peripheral vascular disease


For a complete list of publications click here:


  • BS, 1981, University of California Los Angeles, Physical Chemistry
  • MD, 1985, University of California San Francisco, Medicine
  • Residency, 1988, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Internal Medicine
  • Fellowship, 1991, Massachusetts General Hospital, Cardiology
  • Fellowship, 1991, Harvard Medical School, Medicine